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World - Signs and Wonders 06.11

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By Warren Cole Smith

Kids these days! It is a cliché to say that the current younger generation is different from generations that went before it. I tend to be skeptical of such claims, believing, as the Bible teaches, that there is "nothing new under the sun" and that human nature is essentially the same from age to age. But new data suggests that in some important ways, Millennials (the current young adult generation) are different than Generation Xers, now in their 30s and 40s. An analysis of family-related research released recently by Focus on the Family found that Millennials want the same things as previous generations: to have successful marriages and to be successful parents. But many of their behaviors will not get them to that goal. Among the findings: Millennials are half as likely as their parents to marry by the same age and they are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to have children out of wedlock and live as single parents. Many Millennials have not learned the skills to live independently as adults. They are more likely to live with and depend financially upon their parents or other family members than previous generations, despite the fact that Millennials have enjoyed more educational opportunities than previous generations. Also, according to study author Glenn Stanton, "Surprisingly, the most careful research indicates that the common notion that Millennials are more service-minded and outward-focused is, as one leading scholar puts it, "largely incorrect.'" The bottom line, according to Stanton: "Given that these youngest generations consistently report marriage and successful parenting as important life goals, we must help them understand how essential strong family health and happiness are related to self-sacrifice and service mindedness."

Huge move. Rep. Trent Franks and Sen. Jim DeMint last Tuesday introduced a measure seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow parents to raise children in the way they see fit. The Parental Rights Amendment would impose a "compelling interest" test on government entities before they interfere with parents' rights to direct their children's education or other aspects of their upbringing. "In my three decades of public service, I have consistently focused on protecting the right of parents to make decisions for their children," Franks said. "Put simply, there are really only two options when it comes to who will determine the substance of a child's education: It will either be a bureaucrat who doesn't know the child's name, or a parent who would pour out their last drop of blood for the child." Franks is right, of course, but this amendment stands little chance of passage. The legislation would first need to pass Congress by a two-thirds vote in each chamber and then be ratified by 38 states. That's a very high bar, and it's the reason that only 27 amendments to the Constitution have ever been ratified--and the first 10 are the Bill of Rights. So I don't expect this one to pass any time soon, but I commend the effort. I would also note that the 27th and last amendment passed in 1992. That amendment says that any pay raise voted by Congress to itself can't take effect until the next session of Congress. The first time such an amendment was proposed was in 1788. So, to Franks and DeMint I say, Stick with it. If this amendment takes 200 years go pass, it's best to get the process started now.

Don't call it a bailout. Global stocks, as well as the euro, rose on Monday after a bailout of up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for Spain's banking sector eased some concern about its ability to survive the eurozone debt crisis. Spanish leaders didn't like the characterization of the loans as a "bailout," but it's hard to honestly describe them in any other terms. The country has 25 percent unemployment and a rapidly crumbling infrastructure. Rather than quibble over what to call the loans, many European countries--especially Germany--wish Spain would just say "thank you"--and then clean up its act. The new center-right ruling party, the Partido Popular, or the "Popular Party," may do just that, but it's going to be a heavy lift to bring Spain back from the brink of Third World status.


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