Feb
23

Why young people are happy

By Katie Kieffer
Image credit: "sunlight smile" by espresso marco on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “sunlight smile” by espresso marco on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that young people (ages 18 – 28) are happier now than they have been in over 30 years. Why is this? Aren’t we in the middle of a financial meltdown in America? Aren’t the costs of living going up? Aren’t young people losing their jobs? If you are down on America or down on your life, I’ll help you change your mindset to match that of today’s youth. I promise you, you’ll be happier for it. I believe young people today are happier for two reasons: First, most Millennials want to live more like grownups and less like their parents who sometimes act like babies. And, second, they understand and are excited by the opportunities America has to rebound out of recession and back to greatness. Let me explain:

Young people find happiness in maturity

Young people today seem happy to act like old souls. It’s suddenly cool to be retrospective and old-fashioned. If Lady Gaga, 2010‘s top-earning pop star, says she’s “old-fashioned” in her personal life, you know it’s cool to be old-fashioned. It doesn’t matter if Gaga really acts old-fashioned when she’s at home or not. The fact is, she markets herself that way because she knows “old” is the new black. The hottest new fashion pundit is a 14-year-old named Tavi Gevinson, whose fashion sense snubs the main-stream ” adult formula” for attractiveness: Super sexy clothes + Smashed-on makeup = Hot. In contrast, Gevinson’s sense of “cool” involves wearing lots of layers and occasionally dying her hair grey. Yep, that’s right, grandma-grey. Maybe she’s not sexy, but she’s definitely cool. So cool, in fact, that she attends events like the Chanel couture show in Paris and receives 35,000 hits a day on her blog.
Tavi Gevinson. Image credit: "photoshoot!" by stweedy on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Tavi Gevinson. Image credit: “photoshoot!” by stweedy on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Oh yeah, and who was the top-selling artist of 2010? It wasn’t S&M artist, RiRi. It was Taylor Swift. Young Americans just can’t download enough music from the girl whose vintage sense of romance comes through in her songs and her daily life, where she has confessed she likes boys who accept her penchant for making crafts with glitter. Meanwhile “grown-up,” middle-aged Americans are skipping work and getting fake doctor’s sick notes in Wisconsin so that they can walk in protest despite the fact that the average public sector salary and benefits package is already far greater than that of the private sector. I’d call them “cry babies,” but that might hurt their tender feelings.

Young people see real solutions

Second, I believe today’s young people are happy because they see the way out. They are flexible, creative, ethical and innovative enough to understand what needs to be done to end this recession:  Things like economic reform, austerity and ending our costly and bloody attempts at policing the world, as I discussed here.
Image credit: "sunrise in the city" by Tattooed JJ on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “sunrise in the city” by Tattooed JJ on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Pew reports that, in the past few years, more Americans consider themselves “independents” than in the past seventy years. Furthermore, most young people (40 percent) consider themselves “moderate.” Just 29 percent call themselves “liberal” while 28 percent consider themselves “conservative.” Young people have begun to move away from the Democratic party and are increasingly giving the President less-than-favorable approval ratings. They generally question whether the U.S. should continue to push her military might around the Middle East. To me, this indicates that most young people are more issues-focused and less likely to jump on a partisan bandwagon and proudly wear a big fat “D” or “R” on their chests like their parents may have. Yes, many Millenials consider themselves “socially liberal,” but that doesn’t mean that they all think the government should tell them how to live their personal lives. In fact, in 2010, Pew did another study showing that a majority of Americans, regardless of whether they considered themselves to be “Republican,” “Democrat” or “Independent,” view and understand the terms “states rights,” “family values,” “civil liberties,” “civil rights” and “capitalism” in a positive way. Since Millennials favor ideas like states rights and individual freedom, I think that they prefer to make personal choices rather than bow to sweeping federal mandates when it comes to social issues. My assessment is that Millenials believe it’s best to give citizens the opportunity to choose the type of social structure they want in their own states.
Image credit: "Freedom text" by jcolman on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Freedom text” by jcolman on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Recent Pew studies show that, since 2007, young people are more likely than their parents to say that America should put economic stability before environmental concerns: “Surprisingly, declines since 2007 in support for economic sacrifices to protect the environment have been particularly large among young people and political independents.” Perhaps the hyperventilating about a hypothetical global warming crisis comes from Al Gore’s generation, and the paranoia just getting pushed on Millenials. How “inconveniently true” for young people who now live in a country that won’t drill for it’s own oil, but is more than happy to buy it from the Saudis. Certainly most young people, including me, care about the conserving the earth, but no one can blame our generation for “Climategate.” I think young people are “re-defining” the term liberal. To them “liberal” really means “free.” Without realizing it, I think many young people are moving closer to the original or “classical” definition of liberal from the nineteenth century which emphasized free markets and individual liberties. Well, after all this “grown-up” talk, I think I’ll pull on my warm knee highs and a granny sweater like Tavi Gevinson and enjoy a hot cup of tea to celebrate happiness and freedom.
Image credit: "Tea Glass" by Astro Guy on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Tea Glass” by Astro Guy on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Feb
16

CPAC 2011 energizes America

By Katie Kieffer
Katie Kieffer speaks at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Katie Kieffer speaks at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. I had a chance to share my ideas on how students and young professionals can win conservative victories, both on-campus and in business. I met with many inspiring young people who are smart, engaged and passionate about getting involved and leading America into economic recovery. It was exciting and refreshing to meet so many young leaders. This year, CPAC broke a record for attendance with over 11,000 attendees. Here are some students I met from Georgia Tech:
Katie Kieffer with students from Georgia Tech at CPAC 2011. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Katie Kieffer with students from Georgia Tech at CPAC 2011. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Here are some students I met from Wake Forest University and Texas A&M University:
Katie Kieffer with students from Wake Forest and Texas A&M at CPAC 2011. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Katie Kieffer with students from Wake Forest and Texas A&M at CPAC 2011. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

I met up with talk radio host Paul Westcott of the White House Brief. I was a guest on his live show on CPAC’s Radio Row. Prior to CPAC, Westcott interviewed me for his show on iheartradio.
Paul Westcott of the "White House Brief" and Katie Kieffer at CPAC 2011. Image credit: Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

Paul Westcott of the “White House Brief” and Katie Kieffer at CPAC 2011. Image credit: Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

I also spent time in the Blogger’s Lounge at CPAC, which was sponsored by FreedomWorks. I met Ashley Sewell of TX TrendyChick and both Teri Christoph and Kristen Hawley of Smart Girl Politics. I’ve found that conservative bloggers who take their writing seriously tend to be friendly, smart, funny and tech-savvy. What’s not to love?
CPAC 2011 Bloggers Lounge: Kristen Hawley, Katie Kieffer, Ashley Sewell and Teri Christoph. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

CPAC 2011 Bloggers Lounge: Kristen Hawley, Katie Kieffer, Ashley Sewell and Teri Christoph. Image copyright Katie Kieffer. All rights reserved.

My overall takeaway from CPAC 2011 is that it was a unique and powerful forum for conservatives of diverse viewpoints to come together and discuss their ideas for a better America.

Feb
08

Snatch U.S. from Davy’s Grip

By Katie Kieffer
Image credit: "Pirate Country" by LizSpikol on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Pirate Country” by LizSpikol on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The U.S. economy and national security are in “Davy’s Grip.”  In pirate-speak, that means the U.S. is in “fatal danger.” Somali pirates and Middle East tensions have the potential to drag the U.S. into complete depression and unrest. We can lift the U.S. out of her current precarious state, but we need to act fast. If you are concerned about the U.S. economy, energy independence, national security and international relations, then you will want to understand Davy’s Grip.

Why is the U.S. in Davy’s Grip?

There are several reasons why the U.S. is in a dangerous place, and they stem from America’s energy policies and Middle East tensions:
  • The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most vital pipelines because it allows ships to avoid a 6,000 mile detour around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. 2.4 million barrels of oil pass through this canal every day. The Suez Canal is controlled by Egypt. Somali pirates have terrorized the Suez Canal for years. But, now that Egypt is experiencing unrest, ships traveling through the Suez Canal lack sufficient military escorts from pirate attacks.
    A ferry crosses the Suez Canal. Image credit: "Welcome to Egypt" by tim.md on Flickr via Creative Commons.

    A ferry crosses the Suez Canal. Image credit: “Welcome to Egypt” by tim.md on Flickr via Creative Commons.

  • Pirate attacks have steadily increased in number worldwide, with Somali pirates accounting for about 94 percent of all attacks.
  • 2011 is predicted to be the worst year yet for Somali pirate attacks, The Economist reports. Over the past five years, pirate ransoms have increased “36-fold,” reports Bloomberg.
  • The U.S. imports oil from human rights violators like Saudi Arabia instead of drilling for oil on its own soil. The U.S. imports about two thirds of its oil supply and Saudi Arabia is the second highest supplier, after Canada.
  • Notice how close Egypt is to Saudi Arabia on the map below. Oil shipments from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. and Europe need to pass through the Suez Canal/Sumed Pipeline and the Strait of Hormuz in order to bypass the Cape of Good Hope. Both the Canal and the Strait have been fraught with pirate attacks, which will only increase if Middle Eastern tensions rise.
  • Global oil prices could skyrocket above $110 a barrel and oil supplies that the U.S. relies on could rapidly disappear if the unrest in Egypt spreads like a virus to Saudi Arabia. Americans are already buried deep under the burdens of high unemployment, rising food prices, foreclosures, deflated investments and a crushing national debt-load. They will be unable to tolerate gas prices over $4 a gallon for long.
  • As I blogged here, the EPA wants the authority to bypass Congress and regulate U.S. oil companies out of business.
  • Incompetent U.S. politicians have been “busy” banning smoking in New York’s parks and beaches and trying to change the college football championship system instead of solving national security threats.
Political map of Egypt. Image credit: "MapsofWorld" online.

Political map of Egypt. Image credit: “MapsofWorld” online.

How to weaken Davy’s Grip

  • As I blogged here, the U.S. needs to start minding her own business and stop trying to police the world. We jeopardize our human and monetary resources while angering the militant regimes that we rely on for oil.
  • We need to drill for oil on our own soil in a safe and independent manner, as I’ve argued here, here and here.
  • The Obama Administration should start issuing drilling permits to American oil companies. It does not help to merely lift the moratorium without issuing permits. The Los Angeles Times reports:
    • “The Interior Department lifted the moratorium in mid-October, but because drilling permits have been issued at a far slower pace than before the disaster, the administration has faced criticism from the oil industry, Gulf Coast politicians and residents that a de facto moratorium persisted.”
    “If there are no fresh initiatives to deal with pirates, then you can expect 2011 to have many more hijacks and much greater violence against crews,” Captain Pottengal Mukundan, London-based director of the Piracy Reporting Centre, told Bloomberg. It’s time to think outside the box. We can’t allow Somali Pirates to stop American progress. Argh, argh!
Image credit: "Somali pirates" by christian.schuit on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Somali pirates” by christian.schuit on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Feb
01

Let’s play Job Trap!

By Katie Kieffer
Image credit: "Where the real business takes place" by SVTHERLAND on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Where the real business takes place” by SVTHERLAND on Flickr via Creative Commons.

It’s game night everyone! You won’t win a fake prize like a pile of plastic tokens or a stack of paper money. In this game, you win the real deal: Jobs. So, bring your friends and get ready to go from mopey paupers to upbeat workers. I invented the game “Job Trap” when I realized that Mouse Trap was a waste of time and that I’d have more fun accomplishing something in life than fighting my friends for cheese-shaped tokens. I thought about the biggest economic problem in the U.S. today, the high unemployment rate, and decided to create a game to fix this problem. Here’s how you play:

Object of the game

Win as many jobs as possible. If you win more jobs than you need, you become an employer. As an employer, you have the ability to hire people to work for you. If you’ve always wanted a good job and a professional staff, then here’s your chance to win both.

Game pieces

The only thing you need in this game is your mind. Bring your creativity, your ingenuity and your common sense.

Rules of the game

To win the game, you need to “untrap” the most jobs. At the beginning of the game, each player is challenged with the same two traps. Each player has one hour to figure out how to release the most jobs from these traps.
Image credit: "businessmen" by huntz on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “businessmen” by huntz on Flickr via Creative Commons.

At the end of the hour, a panel of judges including myself will review each player’s solutions and determine approximately how many jobs their unique solutions have the potential to create. The player whose solutions are deemed by the judges to create the most jobs wins.

The two job traps

  • College. The cost of college tuition is rising significantly faster than inflation and wages are not keeping up with inflation, reports The Wall Street Journal. The average salary for college graduates dipped 1.7 percent from 2009 to 2010, reports The New York Times.
    • Win by creating well-paying jobs for college graduates that outpace the costs of inflation and college tuition. Hint: Look into repairing the economic damage caused by Clinton-era loose home-ownership policies.
  • Over 1.2 million patent applications stall at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. American inventors and entrepreneurs have patents awaiting approval that could create jobs, but our government bureaucracy is stalling the process. Engineers in China are reading the U.S. patent applications that are available online and then copying American ingenuity and selling it around the world, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
    • Win by creating jobs through innovation and entrepreneurship. Hint: Look into speeding up the patent approval process and shielding U.S. patent applications from the eyes of foreign copycats.
Good luck and play to win the game!
Image credit: "Vimmi With The Dunk" by SVTHERLAND on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Image credit: “Vimmi With The Dunk” by SVTHERLAND on Flickr via Creative Commons.