Opinion Brief

College grads: Is the American dream dead?

High unemployment rates among young adults has some questioning whether the U.S. is still the land of opportunity

With the economy still weak on the job-creation front, recent college graduates have found their hopes of launching a career quickly slipping away, reports The New York Times. Like the generation that came of age during the Great Depression, "Millennials" — 18- to 29-year-olds — increasingly must opt for jobs they do not want, if they can get a job at all. The unemployed are often stuck living in their parents' homes, tasked with odd jobs to earn money, with no greater relief in sight. Has the current recession crushed the American dream?

These brats are spoiled: The problem isn't that the American dream is dead, says Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine. It's that, "sometimes, when you're an adult, you have to do things you don't want to do" — a lesson this generation of entitled "twentysomethings" simply doesn't understand. Hopefully, they'll learn it before "the cycle of human life grinds to a halt in front of some dude's Wii."
"Overconfidence, entitlement twentysomethings threatened by great recession"

Their parents aren't doing them any favors: The young man the Times profiled turned down a $40,000 a year job because it didn't fit his career plan exactly, says Bob Adelmann in The New American. With 37 percent of all 18- to 29-year-olds unemployed, the future doesn't "bode well for the expectation" that the perfect career "is right around the corner." Parents need to teach their children adult responsibility and not allow them "to live at home waiting for better opportunities to jump up and attack them."
"The Millennial generation, jobs and reality"

It's time to dig deep: Compared to the "brutal" jobs past generations had to take to survive, says Daniel Indiviglio in The Atlantic, things really aren't that bad. Certainly, it will take Millennials "longer to gain their footing in the labor market." But that "hardly means they're hopeless." Remember, the American dream "isn't to live a perfect life." It's to "have the opportunity to succeed if you work hard." This generation of young adults may just have to "work a little harder to attain it."
"What is the American dream, anyway?"

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