6.7 million young people who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are out of school and unemployed. After WW II, the US graduated a higher proportion of teenagers than any other nation. "As of 2011, it ranked eighteenth out of twenty-four wealthy nations." (Harpers, Dec 2013) This is a tragedy, a waste, and a source of crime and unhappy, unstructured lives. The lost wealth is in the trillions.
What could be done? In 1993, AmeriCorps put youth to work in community service. YouthBuild provided construction jobs in building affordable housing while the young people completed a GED. But these programs are being cut back in the name of austerity!
They should be expanded. Finance them with zero-interest public debt--the Treasury could borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank who now thinks they are stimulating the economy by buying bonds, etc. at the rate of $85 billion per month. No austerity for the rich!