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#1 Oct. 17, 2012 11:01:51

discipline
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

It’s difficult to write this article without a little personal whining, so I’ll try and get it all out of the way at the very beginning. I spent about five months looking for a job. Unable to pay for college and not really quite sure what I was doing there in the first place, I once dropped out of school to work two jobs and take night classes online at my local community college. I lived in what could graciously be called a “slum”, with roaches coming out of the faucets and everything, drank cheap beer and finally worked my way back into school right as the stock market was crashing in 2007. If I’d had the 4 year experience, as I’d been taught was normal, I would have graduated in 2007 and been shit out of luck. As it was, the crisis hit my company and I got laid off right as soon as it was time to go back to school full time. Fast forward to graduating a couple of years later and I’m working abroad, saving money to go back to get my master’s degree. A bachelor’s was no longer enough, I was told. As my years started to tick by, I was lured back to school by the promise of higher salaries and more competitive employer standards. Now I found myself existing in a weird no-man’s land of 27 year old interns who had two master’s degrees from Columbia and couldn’t get anything better than a fifth unpaid internship. Long story short, I’ve recently found work in a temp administrative position, getting paid a bit over minimum wage and with the hope that it looks good on my resume. This is after five months, 57 job applications, a master's degree, previous work experience, and a whole lot of skills. I'm currently living on couches and saving for a rent deposit.

While looking for work, people came out of the woodwork and started to explain why I couldn’t find a job. The main arguments were that I went to school for the wrong thing. I spoke with my cranky ex on the phone and he told me that there are plenty of jobs in health information systems, so it’s really the unemployed’s own fault for not learning how to use Excel in college. When I was in school, the hot ticket degrees changed often. Yet there are not enough jobs in health information systems to fill the hole of youth unemployment in today’s world. Not enough nursing jobs, not enough IT jobs. There is very little discussion of youth unemployment on a macro scale. Weighed down with debt, the average graduate is only 50% likely to hold gainful employment. Legions are graduating with arts degrees and psychology degrees with no intention to go into these industries. The mantra we heard growing up was: You Must Go To College. We did. Now what?

The youth unemployment debate generally ignores the rapidly changing nature of the US economy. Youth unemployment is the highest in recorded history. Whereas decades ago, someone could hold a job at a factory and support a family of three with a high school degree, now the job market is becoming more drawn between white-collar and service work. I know at least a dozen people who applied to Americorp programs and were turned away because of a glut of applicants. Building bridges is not an option in a broken federal system and floundering, finance-based economy. The best and brightest from Ivy league schools go to work on Wall Street. The rest are lucky to score mid-level management jobs gaming search engines. Many more end up working a shift at Starbucks for the health care. When gainful employment comes knocking, a thoroughly disciplined young worker low-balls their salary offer, is willing to work long hours, and will do just about anything to keep from losing their job. Demanding anything from the employer is seen as shocking and irrational in a world where only a handful of your friends even have jobs.

The Rise of the Intern

Internships are a natural market-based result of the youth unemployment problem. They were once mainly for those who were still in school, but a number of them are now more accurately considered job-seekers in their own right. As graduates become more and more desperate for work, any work, they are more likely to work for no pay. Whereas going to college was once necessary to assure future success, now working in any capacity is just as necessary. Told that internships are a great “foot in the door”, they are just as likely to be sources of highly-skilled, cheap and easily-replaceable labor. Permanent positions are transformed into two or more internship positions. Interns are led on with the promise of wages only to be dismissed without cause a day before their contract is to be signed.

Even then, the privilege necessary to gain access to one of these unpaid internships in a major city is immense. No one can live in New York City working a 40-hour per week unpaid internship without help from their family or ridiculous debt. As the internships in policy and media positions (widely unpaid) are generally located in places with high costs of living, this shuts out a whole class of people from accessing these career paths. Additionally, unpaid interns do not have the protection of labor laws against racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Low-paid interns similarly do not have access to certain kinds of employment protections. Interns provide a highly-flexible labor force of desperate grads who are not promised anything - and they are slitting throats to see who will get into even these positions. Some organizations have even dropped the pretense of “internships” - figuring it might promise too much - and are now increasingly offering “volunteer” positions with set office hours and lengthy interview processes. For sure, Beltway interns are not like Foxconn interns - those teens who work for no pay assembling your iPhones in China - but it gets damn close in some situations.

The burden: anywhere but on the state!

The major presidential candidates are quick to agree that the government does not create jobs. Increasingly, the government does not take care of the unemployed, either. Luckily for the cohesion of our society, this graduating class of losers and art majors are able to lean on their struggling parents for financial assistance while the state makes laws to let people in their mid-twenties stay on their parents’ health insurance plans. In the United States, there is no job-seeker’s allowance, and no state-run agency to place skilled workers. The government has fewer and fewer jobs to offer as austerity begins to hit. The number of 25-34 year olds living with their parents has shot up to 30%. New families are forming later and later in life, affecting population growth among a class that never had much of a problem bearing children at 25. Of course, these trends have an effect on the state down the line, and in the present tense as well, but the direct impact of disappearing opportunities for young people seems to be skillfully deflected away from the state. As we round back to the blame game, the responsibility is on the students for not picking a good major in college, for not taking endless unpaid internships, on their parents for raising expectations, etc. The youth of today is lazy and aimless, content to stay at home and play video games instead of look for work.

Perhaps some of these perceptions are true. But the ultimate responsibility is on the state, which encourages this culture of privilege and wealth at the same time denying it to a vast majority of citizens. There is little long-term strategy when it comes to American economic growth - tax breaks, tax loopholes and small businesses are talked about on the campaign trail in the same paragraphs as free-trade agreements, evil teacher unions, and rising crime. We forget that this crisis in unemployment is mainly due to an economy that has shipped manufacturing jobs abroad or has found it worthwhile to exploit migrants. The state, with a shrinking tax base, is unable to maintain employment or standards of living with federal programs. As capitalism is allowed to run rampant, so too the contradictions deepen. An increasing number of service jobs are now automated - we get our movies from Red Box or Netflix and check ourselves out at the grocery store. I used to feel okay being turned down for jobs that would go to a 40 year old mother of three, but the situation is hardly changing, and I doubt that she much appreciates working a $15 an hour job at her age and situation in life. The time of the 5-year plan has gone; now numbers are projected to the next earnings report or presidential election. Problems arise and only short-term fixes are proposed. No one is seriously considering the impact of a generation of young people who are unable to live independently until the age of 35.



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#2 Oct. 17, 2012 11:18:57

GoldenLionTamarin
Goldgelbes Löwenäffchen
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA




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#3 Oct. 17, 2012 11:28:45

elemennop
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

i honestly don't know of anyone taking internships outside of finance people, but they're all well paid for it. the rest of my people all just work shit jobs or not at all. are internship out of college a thing outside of NYC and maybe LA/SF?




RIP

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#4 Oct. 17, 2012 11:33:34

discipline
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

elemennop posted:

i honestly don't know of anyone taking internships outside of finance people, but they're all well paid for it. the rest of my people all just work shit jobs or not at all. are internship out of college a thing outside of NYC and maybe LA/SF?



yes. I know of many companies in florida, nc, DC, washington, etc that take unpaid interns.



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#5 Oct. 17, 2012 11:35:18

AmericanNazbro
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

elemennop posted:

i honestly don't know of anyone taking internships outside of finance people, but they're all well paid for it. the rest of my people all just work shit jobs or not at all. are internship out of college a thing outside of NYC and maybe LA/SF?



it's pretty common

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#6 Oct. 17, 2012 11:35:27

elemennop
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

yeah, i forgot about DC, but what percentage of the labour market are we talking about here?




RIP

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#7 Oct. 17, 2012 11:38:50

elemennop
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

i have people back in serbia that have unpaid "jobs", where the only reason they're still working is because they want to keep accumulating work years for retirement and so they still qualify for some social benefits. you literally have to bribe people to get a job these days, i'm talking about like envelope of money to a political party bribe, and then you're lucky if you actually get paid.




RIP

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#8 Oct. 17, 2012 11:38:55

discipline
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

elemennop posted:

yeah, i forgot about DC, but what percentage of the labour market are we talking about here?



among certain industries, it's huge. if you're interested, Intern Nation by Ross Perlin is pretty good



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#10 Oct. 17, 2012 11:42:15

elemennop
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

discipline posted:

elemennop posted:

yeah, i forgot about DC, but what percentage of the labour market are we talking about here?

among certain industries, it's huge. if you're interested, Intern Nation by Ross Perlin is pretty good



i'm interested, but not interested enough to do research on my own...




RIP

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#11 Oct. 17, 2012 11:45:06

discipline
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Goethestein posted:

i like it when i call people to offer them jobs and they say "yeeah im just looking for an internship though???"



would you care to explain why they say this? or do you just think that your company hires legions of stupid idiots or something



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#13 Oct. 17, 2012 12:38:02

Wickerman
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

a bloo bloo i can't get a job with my two master's degrees. if those degrees were actually useful, you could just rob a bank with them. two high school girls in Ohio managed it, you can't pull that off? get real.

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#14 Oct. 17, 2012 12:48:01

libelous_slander
failime
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

ohio, home of astronauts, presidents, and bank robbers. the heart of it all.




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#15 Oct. 17, 2012 12:50:09

peepaw
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

you should get a bank-robbing job with this one trick a weird mom discovered




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#16 Oct. 17, 2012 12:51:12

xipe
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

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#18 Oct. 17, 2012 12:55:14

Wickerman
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Goethestein posted:

degrees are pretty useless unless you're going into teaching or STEM

ftfy

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#19 Oct. 17, 2012 13:05:15

thirdplace
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

what a stunning fucking coincidence that people are strongly encouraged to take on large amounts of undischargable debt regardless of the utility of the product





living in the future! feeling wonderful!

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#20 Oct. 17, 2012 13:05:40

thirdplace
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

thirdplace posted:

what a stunning fucking coincidence that people are strongly encouraged to take on large amounts of undischargable debt regardless of the utility of the product

- a dumbfuck attending law school





living in the future! feeling wonderful!

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#21 Oct. 17, 2012 14:10:36

aerdil
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

stuff like this feels me with so much anxiety and ennui hahahaha fuck. never leaving school.




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#22 Oct. 17, 2012 14:14:24

tpaine
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

GoldenLionTamarin posted:




seems like a good article, i'll finish when i get back from aaaaaa




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#23 Oct. 17, 2012 15:11:20

cleanhands
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

obv chemsack isnt some idiot liberal but the broad sweep of intern solidarity and the idea of the precariat etc always seems like 'capitalism sucks bc it hasnt worked out for me personally' rather than being based on structural observations

but what do i know, my dad got me my career and i enjoy it, cheers

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#25 Oct. 17, 2012 16:05:16

swampman
Dont Mess With Sucess
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Khamsek, we should focus our efforts and write up a writeup on the rental market in nyc, which for those of you who dont know about it in irl, is insane, for instance if you ever go to nyc housing court, even if you're in the right, your name gets added to a blacklist and most landlords wont even consider renting to you because its not worth it to have a tenant who has proved willing to go to court over apartment issues. or how about many landlords requiring a guarantor who makes 40x the annual rent hahahahaha haha



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#26 Oct. 17, 2012 16:19:46

wasted
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

cleanhands posted:

obv chemsack isnt some idiot liberal but the broad sweep of intern solidarity and the idea of the precariat etc always seems like 'capitalism sucks bc it hasnt worked out for me personally' rather than being based on structural observations

but what do i know, my dad got me my career and i enjoy it, cheers


most jobs in the west are superfluous in the global system and employers are catching on to this neat little trick discovered by a stay at home mom




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#27 Oct. 17, 2012 17:14:04

Ironicwarcriminal
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

I do feel for you, that must have sucked, but I can’t help feel there’s some sort of laudable democratization at work here when the educated classes are given a sharp reality check about their value to post-industrial society

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#28 Oct. 17, 2012 17:22:29

Ironicwarcriminal
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

This mantra I always hear about being told you have to go to college doesn’t seem like much of a defence of anything. There’s a lot of mantras we’re told growing up: Buy pogs to be cool, me a massive dickhead to women, war is glorious.

You don’t have to believe them.

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#29 Oct. 17, 2012 19:00:19

Meursault
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

swampman posted:

Khamsek, we should focus our efforts and write up a writeup on the rental market in nyc, which for those of you who dont know about it in irl, is insane, for instance if you ever go to nyc housing court, even if you're in the right, your name gets added to a blacklist and most landlords wont even consider renting to you because its not worth it to have a tenant who has proved willing to go to court over apartment issues. or how about many landlords requiring a guarantor who makes 40x the annual rent hahahahaha haha


lol jesus christ




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#30 Oct. 17, 2012 19:17:45

Ironicwarcriminal
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

swampman posted:

Khamsek, we should focus our efforts and write up a writeup on the rental market in nyc, which for those of you who dont know about it in irl, is insane, for instance if you ever go to nyc housing court, even if you're in the right, your name gets added to a blacklist and most landlords wont even consider renting to you because its not worth it to have a tenant who has proved willing to go to court over apartment issues. or how about many landlords requiring a guarantor who makes 40x the annual rent hahahahaha haha



can we please give it a rest with the dog-whistle anti-Semitism? it's not funny or clever

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#31 Oct. 17, 2012 19:28:44

stegosaurus
slc
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Just live in the middle of nowhere where rent and life generally is cheap.

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#32 Oct. 17, 2012 19:47:06

Lykourgos
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

or just buy a place and not pay any rent geez

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#33 Oct. 17, 2012 19:51:16

getfiscal
Uphold Animé
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

In a 2007 episode of the Charlie Rose show, Rose was interviewing the actor and comedian Steve Martin about his memoir Born Standing Up. They talked about the realities of Martin's rise. In the last five minutes of the interview, Rose asks Martin his advice for aspiring performers.

"Nobody ever takes note of -my advice-, because it's not the answer they wanted to hear," Martin said. "What they want to hear is ‘Here's how you get an agent, here's how you write a script,' . . . but I always say, ‘Be so good they can't ignore you.' "





Edited by getfiscal (Oct. 17, 2012 19:54:37)

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#34 Oct. 17, 2012 20:06:52

swampman
Dont Mess With Sucess
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Ironicwarcriminal posted:

can we please give it a rest with the dog-whistle anti-Semitism? it's not funny or clever

Its a more complicated thing than that because two large hasidic sects around these parts are fierce anti-zionists, of course theres also issues with them exporting their poor upstate and rabbis fighting to keep parental consent out of ritually sucking baby dick



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#35 Oct. 17, 2012 20:25:22

Ironicwarcriminal
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

swampman posted:

Ironicwarcriminal posted:
can we please give it a rest with the dog-whistle anti-Semitism? it's not funny or clever
Its a more complicated thing than that because two large hasidic sects around these parts are fierce anti-zionists, of course theres also issues with them exporting their poor upstate and rabbis fighting to keep parental consent out of ritually sucking baby dick



I forgot about those upstate communes, there's one of them i think i read that is apparently the poorest town in the united states haha

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#37 Oct. 17, 2012 21:00:31

NounsareVerbs
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

Yes I advise all my students not to go to college and then attempt to compete with those who did and are now desperate for any paying job doing anything.

That's surely a wise decision.




the infantalised, rote nature of nerd humour, meme culture, and nerd consumerism is something i think about a lot.

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#38 Oct. 17, 2012 21:03:41

Lykourgos
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

I tell people to go to college because they need to piss four years up against the wall to get a piece of paper that will let them get another piece of paper that will let them get other pieces of paper so that they can be allowed to do a job that by all rights has nothing to do with any of those bloody pieces of paper


because I just can't bear to think that somewhere a dean is going hungry and an institution of ~higher learning~ isn't packed to the gills with common americans taking hundreds of thousands of make believe dollars of loans to pay make believe bills

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#39 Oct. 17, 2012 21:03:53

Keven
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

When your talkinga bout Jews its called Dime racism b/c only certain ppl notice a dropped dime (jews)




You can follow keven on twitter @Churd_Champ , if you want to.

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#40 Oct. 17, 2012 21:06:10

gyrofry
Kurdt
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A Nation of Lazy Bums and Unpaid Interns: Youth Unemployment in 21st Century USA

perhaps it is a matter that calls for a nuanced analysis of competing factors and the concrete individual situation rather than a clear case where one option is uniformly preferable to The Other. could it be that the truuuuuuuthhhhhh...isssss innnnnnnn... tehh*seizes up*




"the chris hitchrns of CIA funded internet maoism"




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