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Tackling the Youth Unemployment Problem

Updated on July 9, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Before retiring, Jack worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


In conversations with some here on HubPages, I am frustrated by the common miss conception about conservatives and the conservatism philosophy. They seems to believe that conservatives wants to do nothing and just let things be. The false narrative is that you either support government programs or you are for the status quo. There is a third way and that is apply conservative principles to problem solving. It works in many areas and it should help in the current youth unemployment issue.

- May. 2016


The current high youth unemployment is many years in the making. The solution will take time as well. Some people have suggested various programs to help. The truth is, the problem has many underlying components and just providing a job training program will fail and they have failed as the Cato Institute reported. What are the contributing factors?

1. Poor Education in inner city schools.

2. Government mandated minimum wage limits.

3. Rise of illegal immigrants able and willing to take entry level jobs.

4. Lack of good work ethics.

5. Glorification of Pop Culture and Drugs in the Media.

6. Failed government social programs that discourage work and breakdown families.

7. A growing entitlement mentality that believes people are "entitled" to benefits.

8. Lack of trade schools to train people for real jobs

Conservative Solutions

Here are some proposals that Conservatives believe will help. There are no magic bullets and as I mentioned before, it will take time. Our youth is our future and we need to help them get on the right footing. Help does not always mean more money or higher taxes. It might be a change in public policy or a change in regulation or just a change in "thinking" about problem solving.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I had no problem finding work. What has changed?

Let me address the points one by one in my previous module.

1. Public education in inner cities have been a failure and yet our government officials and teacher's unions and some parents don't seem to care. Why are we insisting of keeping the status quo when some experiments have shown Charter schools have delivered better results with less money? Conservative principle believe competition is a way towards excellence and efficiency. We need to give parent's a choice where to send their kids. This one act will incentivize schools to improve or loose. A better educated student will give them a leg up in getting a job and keeping it and advancing.

2. The minimum wage debate is moot. The problem is not the low wages. It is the fact that the entry level jobs of past has been co opted by a permanent class of low skilled workers. By making a law that mandates $15 per hour minimum wage in some cities will have the opposite desired effect. Either companies will shut down or they will move towards automation which will lead to less jobs available.

3. Illegal immigrants are being exploited and they are taking jobs away from citizens. This is a fact and it hurts poor Americans more than it hurts wealthy Americans. In my neighborhood of a suburb of NYC, I can say first hand that the majority of fast food restaurant workers are immigrants. This was not always the case. When my kids were growing up in their teenage years, they worked in some of these places. It was a great training grounds for being a responsible worker and learning the social skills that benefit them for future careers. The current illegal immigration debate is front and center related to lower wages and higher youth unemployment. It is also present in landscaping jobs where low skills and hard work is the norm. I don't buy into the argument that they are doing the jobs that Americans won't do. How did America survive in past years?

4. Good work ethics are not rocket science. It includes showing up at work on time, being dressed appropriately and being responsive and respectful of customers. Apparently, these basic skills are not taught in our schools.

5. Related to the last item is the current glorification of Pop Culture and the Drug culture by some in the media including music and film and social media. Where are our roll models of past? We have protesters such as Occupy Wall Street being promoted by anarchist. We have people rioting in the street in Seattle on May Day.

6. Failed Government Social Programs such as welfare that pays people to not work. We have families that are torn apart because a "compassionate" government will pay for child services and housing and food subsidies to single mothers only. Why are we surprised at the high teenage out of wedlock births?

7. A growing entitlement mentality that government owes a person free healthcare and free colleges...Nothing in life is free, there is a cost to everything. A free lunch means another is paying for it.

8. The lack of trade school programs. I agree with some who say we should adopt some other countries such as Japan and European countries of training people for a skill. Not everyone is suited to attend college such as Bernie Sanders propose. We need all kinds of workers white and blue collar. There is nothing wrong with having a job that pays well but require working with your hands instead of your brain. Our government can take the lead here to help train people for vocations instead of promoting college education and providing student loans that they can't pay back.


This hub was initiated as a discussion response to help solve a current problem. I try to define the scope of the problem and outlined some conservative solutions. It is not meant to be a definitive answer. There will be local communities that will find unique solutions that fit their special situation. That is perfectly fine and in alignment with conservative principles.

My goal here is to start a dialog between various political factions and debate various proposals based on their merit. I also want to stress that I only care about results. If a program that works, I will support it whether it is a liberal or conservative idea. It should not matter. A good program or policy should stand on its own regardless of who or where it came from. I welcome comments and new ideas.

© 2016 Jack Lee


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