The authors of the Declaration of Independence wrote that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” are inalienable rights – what we now call “the American Dream.”
Throughout generations, the American Dream has evolved. Homesteaders leaving Eastern cities for life out West sought their own piece of land. World War II veterans of the 1950’s longed to settle down with a home and family. Yet today’s young Americans believe their dream is out of reach.
In a poll conducted by CNN Money, nearly six in 10 people said they “feel the dream – however they define it – is out of reach.” And young adults are feeling the most dismal – 63% say achieving their dream is impossible. Unfortunately, their fears are well-grounded.
The path to financial freedom is blocked by a stagnant job market. In March 2014, the unemployment rate for young adults (age 20- 24) was 10.6% – compared to 6.3% overall. And while a college degree certainly helps, the unemployment rate for recent graduates is currently 8.5% – compared with 5.5% in 2007. 16.8% of recent grads are underemployed in low paying, low-skilled jobs.
Even getting to graduation presents challenges. College is becoming increasingly unaffordable for too many American families. Student loan debt is “ballooning,” and a lack of transparency in higher education means that colleges are not being held accountable for higher tuition rates.
House Republicans understand the pressures of this weak economy and dismal job market – but there are solutions.
The House Republicans’ plan for jobs is multi-faceted, and targets the red tape, unnecessary cost, and inefficient job training programs that are slowing job creation. Bills like H.R. 2274 make it easier to open and expand businesses. Programs like the SKILLS Act connect individuals with applicable job-training programs.
We are also making it easier to attend college. House Republicans have passed bills that will expand and improve higher education opportunities through federal loan reforms (H.R. 1911) and ensure students and parents are well-informed of all their options (H.R. 1949).
Young adults have always been at the forefront of growth and change in the United States. For these Americans especially, the American Dream should not be just “a dream” – it should be an achievable pursuit. House Republicans will not let this dream die, and will continue working for the young Americans who need hope the most.