By Benjamin E. Sasse
In recent years, the terms “millennial” and “baby boomer” put an extra emphasis on characteristics that have little to do with age. While millennials might be associated with safe spaces and emojis, there is also a new narrative surrounding young people in the workplace. As Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse argues in his new book, The Vanishing American Adult, there is an existential crisis in the American workforce that has left young American adults unequipped for life after high school:
Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.
Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant—are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.
Sasse’s book was released to widespread acclaim, but many readers suggest that his critique is too broad to span an entire generation. Either way, The Vanishing American Adult is an interesting introduction to a conversation that could last for decades.