During the 2008 presidential election, thousands of college students campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama and showed their support at the polls in record numbers. Obama won more than 66 percent of the youth vote — the largest disparity between youth voters and other age groups since exit polling began in 1972.
In 2008, Obama was touted as the savior for the withering American economy. Unemployment stood at 6.8 percent and optimism in the American economy had dwindled. “Hope” and “change” were the words that captured the minds of young voters.
Yet as the 2012 presidential election approaches, unemployment hovers at 8 percent. The U.S. gross domestic product has grown only 7.7 percent over the last four years, and trust in the government continues to fall. It is time for the American youth voting population to elect a president whose platform pays attention to these problems and how they affect young voters by electing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Among Romney’s pledges to reinvigorate the American economy and create job growth is a reduction of the federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, which will encourage companies to remain in the United States, ultimately creating more jobs by reducing outsourcing.
This reduction in corporate taxes will also allow companies to create more initiatives for college students and graduates through internship programs, coverage of graduate school tuition and training programs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of all Americans are employed by companies with fewer than 500 employees. It is important to recognize that focusing on stimulating job growth in big corporations is clearly not what the country needs. Romney plans to concentrate the focus where it should be: the local level.
Through returning control of retraining programs to states, programs can be better tailored to the job needs of individual states and communities. These specified retraining programs don’t only help the currently unemployed, though — they will also help recent college graduates find jobs.
But for long-term insurance to put the economy and country back on track, a greater emphasis must be placed on improving the education system in the United States. Romney believes that education reform should occur at all levels.
While he was governor of Massachusetts, public school students scored the best in reading and math in the nation. He is also in favor of providing students with greater access to charter schools, which will prevent high-achieving students from having to attend underperforming schools.
For students still attending underperforming public schools, though, awarding achievement scholarships by school rather than on a state or national level provides them the equal opportunities they deserve. While governor, Romney proposed the John and Abigail Adams scholarship, which provides Massachusetts public school students who score in the top 25th percentile of their school free tuition to any public college.
With a better-educated population, Americans will be more competitive in the global job market and their skills will more accurately reflect those in current demand.
American youth have the opportunity to once again greatly influence the 2012 election. They should do so, however, with an understanding that the economic situation has not substantially improved over the last four years and college affordability continues to wither.
We, as students and already or soon-to-be members of the work force, cannot afford four more years of stagnant economic growth. It is time for the American youth to make a lasting impact on the American economy and education system by electing Romney.
David Lowenstein is a junior majoring in international relations global business. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.