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A detailed study of job status earlier this year by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University found that more than 53% of college graduates under 25 last year were underemployed — working in jobs unequal to their college or post-graduate attainment. The depressive effects of having no job or a junk job for a long time have been well documented. As an economic proposition, it means also that many in this generation are falling way off the curve for lifetime earnings, savings and debt pay-downs. Call it Generation Jobbed.

Western Europe is about a decade ahead of the U.S. in showing the path downward once a low economic growth rate gets locked in, as may be happening here. Where we could be headed politically was suggested by a small but telling story this week from France, where chronically high youth unemployment sits at about 22%.

Recently, three 30-something Frenchmen — an entrepreneur, a TV journalist and a rap singer — began a campaign called "Barrez-Vous," which means "beat it." Emigration is the only answer, they said, because France is in the grip of a "sclerotic gerontocracy that is collapsing a little more every day."

"Sclerotic gerontocracy"? Who might that be? If you're 30, it's the brain-dead class in possession of your politics. The French "Beat It" movement is onto something. Whether in Europe or the U.S., the air is filled with cries to solve various debt calamities. Look closely, though, and you'll notice that virtually any political "solution" on offer to the euro crisis or U.S. debt will essentially force people age zero to 35 — jobs or no jobs — to spend their lifetimes paying off the rolled-over debt that bails out the politicians and guarantees benefit flows to the older half of the population, which will escape to worry-free graves before the crisis returns.

Where will young Americans beat it to? If Canada remains in conservative hands it will have a much more vibrant economy than our own. But it's too small to absorb many fleeing Americans and our own moribundity will slow it down. Indonesia? Mongolia?

The coming generations will spit on our graves.

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