(LIN) — Unemployment – It's a not so unfamiliar song that's been in heavy rotation as long as 20-somethings have been in the job market.
Now that the "fiscal cliff" looms in the background, unemployment may continue to be a broken record for Generation Y in the future.
Put simply, the so-called fiscal cliff will occur when tax cuts put in place in the Bush administration expire, causing taxes to go up for nearly every American citizen.
Congressional Budget Office officials stated earlier this month that the economic implications of dropping off the cliff would be devastating: The economy could shrink by 0.5 percent in 2013, and the unemployment rate could soar to 9.1 percent, up from today's 7.9 percent rate.
Not only would it be harder for graduates to find a job in an already depressed economy, but it makes those just starting out their career more vulnerable, as typically the last to get hired is the first to get fired.
We are already the least-employed generation, and the so-called "fiscal cliff" would only make that worst.
Sadly, it's a chicken and the egg conundrum: You need an education to get a job, but the more people entering the job market with an education, the less of a need for it as the playing field is leveled.
Looking ahead, there's no way to know how bad it's going to get, or if the country will indeed plunge off the fiscal cliff in the first place.
It's also not fair to say it would only hurt one segment of the population. But, it is fair to say that Generation Y will take a significant blow to an already-bruised chin.
In some ways, we're used to it. We've been in this rut a while. If you start your career in a recession, your lifetime earnings will be lower because you're already in the hole from the beginning.
So get used to that unemployment song.
Our future is in the hands of a lame-duck Congress. If they can't figure out a plan by the end of the year, it could become the annoying "Song That Doesn't End."
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to young, influential Americans through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix.
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