Millennials tackle their generation's worries
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to this studio audience edition of "Hannity." Tonight, you get to meet the millennials. Now, over the course of the next hour, some familiar faces from Generation Y are going to be here to tackle a wide range of topics, from politics to pop culture to some of the most divisive social issues that we face as a country, no subject tonight off limits.
You know, being a parent myself, I want this program to be more than just identifying the challenges that face this generation because it's so important we also tonight identify solutions.
And with that said, we begin tonight. We take a look at the millennials by the numbers. Now, many young Americans in this age range attempted to enter the workforce at the height of the recession, and sadly, after nearly six years under President Obama, well, unemployment remains way too high among 18 to 29-year-olds. According to the Department of Labor, the total jobless rate for millennials is 10.9 percent. Now, that's well above last month's national average of 7.3 percent.
And moving on, in 2012, a record number of millennials -- well, guess what? They're still living at home with Mom and Dad, 21.6 million total, a much higher number than the 18.5 million back in 2007.
Also, in terms of median income, we've also uncovered a very disturbing trend. Now sadly, it has systematically declined over the past five years, starting in 2007 at $33,000, dropping all the way to just over 30 grand in 2012.
But let not your heart be troubled because there's some good news to share with you tonight, at least from my perspective. According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, the group represented by the young people behind me right now -- they prefer Republicans at this moment over President Obama on almost every issue.
Now, the GOP has a 10-point advantage over the president when it comes to handling the economy, a 5-point advantage on health care, and millennials trust the Republicans in Congress more than the White House regarding the budget, as well as the controversial subject of immigration reform.
And on that very hopeful note -- well, I think it's time to welcome in our studio audience. All right, how many of you are worried about your future? Raise your hands. Anybody not worried about their future? You didn't raise your hand. Did you forget?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
HANNITY: Are you worried about -- you know, "sir" -- here I am among young people, and you're already identifying me as the old guy in the room. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am worried.
HANNITY: You are -- I think you all have a right to be.
Now, let me just go to some trends because if you look at voting trends -- I just gave you some numbers where young people feel now about the economy and they prefer Republicans. That's not (ph) the case. Let's go back. We'll take a look at 2008, and you see that -- well, millennials voted for Barack Obama over John McCain. And we look at some of the other issues. In 2012, they voted for 60, 37 -- why are you laughing?
EBONI WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I'm not laughing. I'm familiar with these numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean, I...
HANNITY: What changed, though.
EBONI WILLIAMS: Well, one thing that's changed is that he's actually in office. You have to understand that those polls are looking at projections, and they're looking at possibilities. But now he is in office, and I think it's no surprise, I don't think anyone here would disagree with the fact that the president has proven himself to be a better campaigner than he has been able to govern. But I also would say...
HANNITY: ... as a Democrat. That's pretty -- that's a pretty fair assessment.
EBONI WILLIAMS: ... truth, yes, because that's the truth, Sean.
EBONI WILLIAMS: But it's much more challenging to govern, and particularly when you have a Congress that's in complete and total obstruction of everything that you put forward.
MICHELLE FIELDS, NEXTGENERATION.TV: He had the Senate! He had the Senate! He had the House! What was the excuse then?
EBONI WILLIAMS: It's not an excuse, Michelle. That's just a fact.
MICHELLE FIELDS: But that's what you just...
HANNITY: All right...
HANNITY: Wait a minute! But didn't he get a stimulus passed? Didn't he get his economic plan?
HANNITY: ... stimulus. He got his health care bill passed without a single -- right? Here's one thing that I think -- the latest polls that came out showed that on the issue of honesty and trustworthiness, most Americans don't trust their president!
How many of you think the president is honest and trustworthy? How many of you don't? Why?
KIRSTEN HAGLUND, FORMER MISS AMERICA: Because he, like many other politicians, have said one thing and done another. And that is one thing that's indicative of this generation, is that they can't stand people who are inauthentic in positions of power.
You know, they grew up in a culture where 9/11 happened when we were coming into adolescence. And then as we were trying to graduate from college, the financial crisis happened.
So we've had dream after dream kind of crushed. So we're tired of looking at politicians and hear them say one thing and lead us down these roads with these high hopes, and then nothing comes through. So my generation, our generation, millennials -- we just want to see someone get something done and be honest. And I think that's why they're now...
HANNITY: You're a Democrat. Look at this big change-around. People are disappointed. They feel disenfranchised. Look at those numbers. Does everybody here know -- do you know somebody that went to college, did all the right things, and then had to move home in Mommy and Daddy's basement?
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, I think we all do, absolutely.
HANNITY: Has anyone here had to experience that? Be honest. Don't be ashamed. I mean...
EBONI WILLIAMS: I've done that.
HANNITY: You've done that. OK, you've done that.
EBONI WILLIAMS: Out of law school.
HANNITY: Out of law school you had to go back home!
EBONI WILLIAMS: I know. But see, this is the thing. This is where I think a lot of these people sitting on the stage will agree with me, Sean. This myth that if you go to school and go to more school, that equates to the six-figure job and financial stability for the rest of your life. It's just (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: Listen, I left home at 18. Trust me, I was not going back, and they weren't taking me back.
HANNITY: But so this is your party. You believed in, "Yes, we can" and Obama and change, change, change.
HANNITY: What happened? What went wrong?
SUSSMAN: I do think you make a great point that authenticity is one of the most important things for young people. We see so much spin. There's advertising at every turn. And we look to our -- when we look to the people that are governing for us, one of the things that we really care about is, is it just more spin, or are they really going to fight for what they believe in?
HANNITY: When Barack Obama said, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," and now we discovered in July of 2010, he knew better. They debated inside the White House whether or not to tell us the truth. Did he lie?
SUSSMAN: Look, I don't think he lied. I think...
SUSSMAN: I said it before, I think that he misspoke. He should have said that most people can keep their plan. He shouldn't have said it. He should have said that most people...
HANNITY: He should have said...
SUSSMAN: We are living in a moment of total dysfunction.
HANNITY: By the way, this is Juan Williams's son, and he is a conservative! Yes, sir?
RAFFI WILLIAMS, RNC DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: But Obama also said that "Obama care" would drop the cost of health care. It's gone up. Time and time again, he has continually misled the public, and now he's finally seeing the results in the poll numbers. And it's his lack of governing because he has lack of experience in executive power.
He spent his whole career up to this point campaigning! So what do we expect? He's a great campaigner, but when it comes time to actually be responsible and do the work that needs to be done in the White House, he can't do it.
HANNITY: Go ahead.
SUSSMAN: I think the fact that six out of ten young people actually can get affordable health care under $100...
SUSSMAN: That is lower health care.
HANNITY: Nobody's getting -- guy, go ahead.
GUY BENSON, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's come down to -- comes down to cynicism. I think we're a pretty cynical generation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BENSON: And I think what a lot of people in my generation, myself not included, thought they saw in Barack Obama was a non-cynical politician who was going to change things. And then...
HANNITY: He was inspiring. No one's going to dispute that. I mean...
BENSON: And if you look at the polling -- the Quinnipiac poll that you cited, the FOX News poll that just came out, the group that turned hardest on this president over the honest and trustworthy question are young people because that BS detector went off in a way that I think was a very rude awakening and a disappointment to a lot of people.
HANNITY: Yes. Go ahead. You want to weigh in.
CORIE WHALEN, GENERATION OPPORTUNITY SPOKESPERSON: Yes, you know, you mentioned the polling and how young people have turned on Obama. And I work for Generation Opportunity, which is a youth advocacy group. And we promote economic freedom, and we've had a big "opt out of 'Obama care'" campaign. And what we found is if you look at an ABC News poll, when young people were polled in October, young people supported "Obama care" at a rate of 49 percent. Then the exchanges launched. In November, young people supported "Obama care" by a rate of 36 percent and opposed it by 61 percent!
HANNITY: Yes. Now, Stephanie, is that you? Hi.
STEPHANIE BROWN JAMES, FMR. OBAMA CAMPAIGN STAFFER: Hi.
HANNITY: You worked with OFA.
JAMES: Yes, I worked very proudly for the Obama campaign. I think that this is a very interesting conversation because one of the things we're not talking about is the fact that young people especially had to get their democratic rights really blocked in a lot of ways because of the obstruction that Republicans...
HANNITY: Wait a minute! Michelle (ph) made the point earlier...
JAMES: ... the GOP had when it came -- when it came to...
HANNITY: Whoa! Whoa! He had two years of Democratic House and Senate!
JAMES: Well, the thing...
JAMES; They made it harder for young people to vote. And so if you're going to talk about the -- if you're going to talk about the turnout in 2008 and the turnout in 2012, what we didn't have in 2008 were the laws that made it harder...
HANNITY: Let me ask a question...
JAMES -- for us to exercise our rights and vote.
HANNITY: Hang on! Let me -- let me ask this question a different way. And I asked this question to Tavis Smiley, and I won't tell you his answer until -- until another segment. Is black America, which voted for him 90-some-odd-percent...
HANNITY: You got -- OK -- are black Americans now heading into the sixth year of the Obama presidency -- are they better off than before he became president?
JAMES: Absolutely. Absolutely.
HANNITY: The numbers don't show it.
JAMES: But here's the thing...
HANNITY: No! In the black community, the labor participation rate is lower than it has been in 30-some-odd-years! How can you make that case?
JAMES: You want to know why? Because we had years of Republicans who were in office. I think it's amazing how we always start with the troubles of the country starting in 2008, when Barack Obama got...
HANNITY: I thought 2010 was the recovery -- summer of recovery!
JAMES: We had decades of policies being put in place, namely first under Reagan, who made it hard for African-Americans and people of color...
HANNITY: Ronald Reagan left in -- in 1988. I think we're past Reagan. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: Go ahead. You want to say something?
KRISTAN HAWKINS, STUDENTS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA EXEC. DIR.: Cuccinelli won the youth vote in Virginia. And that was shocking to most people. In very liberal northern Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli won the youth vote. And this is a decade where people are saying Republicans have lost youth. That's not the case.
HANNITY: Erin, you're a nurse practitioner?
ERIN TOLBERT, EMERGENCY ROOM NURSE PRACTITIONER: I am a nurse practitioner (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: That's a great profession.
TOLBERT: It is. It is. I work in the health care system on a daily basis, and I've really had a chance to see some of these politics play out in my own job. And I think people are just really realizing that government involvement in health care and other things isn't the answer. Patients on Medicaid, 31 percent of doctors won't see them. It pays 56 percent of what private insurance...
HANNITY: Here's what I worry about for you guys. Here's what I worry about. Our debt is now $17 trillion and going higher. He will -- Obama will double the debt by the time he leaves office. We've doubled the number of people on food stamps since the time he's been president. I'm looking at $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. I'm looking at the labor participation rate lower than it's ever been in decades and decades.
And he's had six years to fix it, five full years in office now to fix it, and it's not fixed. And I'm worried it's going to get worse for all of you.
MICHELLE FIELDS: And we're the ones who are going to fund "Obama care." In order for "Obama care" to work, not only do all of us have to sign up, but we have to be overcharged for it because we are the ones who are going to subsidize the older and sicker people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
FIELDS: And what have we gotten? We have a website that's worse than the DMV, that's worse than the post office, and we're the ones who are paying for it!
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