Teen Style: Economic woes could take heavy toll on younger generation
November 2, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Once in a land not so far away, there was a powerful kingdom. They had struggled to get to this level of power, but in the end, this once-destitute people had become a force to reckon with.
Unfortunately, this is not where the story ends. A series of conflicts barraged the plot, threatening to send this newly great nation back to the pit where it came from, a similar situation to the one Cinderella found herself in – experience the high life of the ball only to return to being a servant at midnight. Only, in this case, the antagonists responsible are corrupt CEOs, golden parachutes, bailout and global recession.
U.S. history also is like a fairy tale – the story of a people who fought for their freedom, established a people’s government and grew to one of the world’s foremost superpowers.
Unfortunately, this fanciful story has encountered a roadblock. The nightmares of our reality have created a fairy tale gone awry, of destitute banks, a broken economy and unhappy people. Financial woes seem to be the discussion topic of choice, waiting to fly at the slightest provocation.
But what does the far away land of Wall Street have to do with teenagers in Steamboat Springs? First, it is important to know the basics.
Economy. The very word takes me back to the history, math and financing classes I didn’t pay attention to. This doesn’t seem to be uncommon for teens – the topic of finances comes up and suddenly a void stare and blank expression dominates the faces of everyone in the room.
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This epidemic of boredom isn’t just limited to teens. A vast number of adults suffer the doldrums of finances, as well. For such a consumer-driven country, we certainly don’t pay too much attention to the details. We love money but hate the complicated details of how the money system works. So we don’t pay attention. Oh, America. What a wonderful place – where we can have people suffer the boredom of finances for us, instead of sacrificing our own valuable time.
When the economy is as bad as it is now (following a massive trend of faulty loans and a severe decrease in the value of the American dollar), there are certain telltale signs that it is impacting teens.
If the economy continues the way it’s going, it will take a severe toll on the younger generation – in employment, loans and footing the bill for recovering the economy.
In recent times, it has been especially hard to get a job. Unemployment rates have steadily climbed higher, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which stated that during the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 2.2 million, and the unemployment rate has increased by 1.4 percentage points. The same report stated that the national unemployment rate was sitting at 6.1 percent, and for teenagers, it was 19.1 percent.
Some signs of this have started appearing in Steamboat, because not as many jobs are available, teens are going to be the least likely to receive the dwindling number of jobs still open. These positions will most likely go to people who need the money more, and who have more work experience. The lack of openings will immediately take an effect on teens’ wallets.
It also is harder to get a loan, as banks and possible lenders are being more frugal in considering whom they give loans to. After a series of bad loans, they are looking deeper into whether the borrower is dependable, and whether they will make their payments on time (if at all). This is especially relevant to teens when it comes to college loans, car loans, and (not too far off now) mortgage loans. Teens all over are taking an extra careful look at that price for their dream college, and evaluating whether it is reasonable or not.
Although not responsible for the severe economic crisis, teens are going to be the ones left to clean up the mess. The effects are going to be evident for years. By paying attention to what is going on in this current day version of a storybook gone sour, we will be able to prepare ourselves for the issues we will soon enough have to face.
By arming ourselves with knowledge, we actually will know what is going on when we are suddenly thrust into our failing economic system. With that as our weapon, maybe there still will be hope for that fairy-tale ending.