WASHINGTON—In a bold new measure intended to address unemployment among young professionals, lawmakers from across the political spectrum agreed on legislation Tuesday to subsidize the cryogenic freezing of recent college graduates until the job market recovers.
The bill, expected to swiftly pass in both houses, would facilitate the subzero preservation of any graduate of a two- or four-year educational institution. Sponsors of the initiative said that with the national unemployment rate at just under 10 percent, it only made sense for young job-seekers to temporarily enter a state of supercooled stasis.
"Finding employment is extremely difficult for today's college graduate," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) said. "Our current economy offers few options for the millions of young men and women desperate to join the workforce."
"Were we to freeze these graduates at the height of vigor and ambition, however, there's a chance we could revive them during a more prosperous time," Hutchinson continued. "When the economy finally bounces back—10, 20, even 30 years from now—we'll have an entire generation thawed out and ready to contribute."
The Frozen For Their Future Act reportedly calls for the installation of thousands of cryogenic tanks at college commencement ceremonies around the country. Upon receiving their diplomas, newly minted graduates will immediately make their way to preservation stations where their hearts will be artificially stopped using electroshock or a potassium-salt solution. Once a graduate's blood is drained and replenished with an anti-crystallizing fluid, they will be submerged in liquid nitrogen, a process that will, in effect, put them into suspended animation until key sectors of the American economy such as real estate and information technology have rebounded.
According to Walter Reardon of the Cryonics Partnership Inc., it will be essential for the freezing procedure to be conducted as quickly as possible.
"Graduates will never be more primed to enter the workplace than at the exuberant moment they toss their caps in the air," said Reardon, who claimed that cryogenics was the only hope for an estimated two-thirds of the nation's students. "Wait even two days, and a graduate's brain will begin to show the effects of fretting about the dismal job market. Wait six months, and you might have a permanently cynical underachiever resigned to his position at a mall sunglasses kiosk."
"Frankly, that person might not even be worth bringing back," Reardon added.
Under the proposed guidelines of the legislation, frozen graduates would remain in storage at a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius (minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit) until the unemployment rate fell to a more manageable 4.5 percent. All graduates would also be required to sign a waiver stating that they understood the risks involved, and that there was no guarantee the economy of the future would ever grow sufficiently to warrant their revival.
While acknowledging this danger, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who cosponsored the bill with Sen. Hutchison, said smaller subsets of graduates could be reanimated as needed if special circumstances created a demand for their skills.
"Let's say there's some sort of environmental crisis," Schumer said. "Well, we could selectively thaw students who majored in ecology or climatology and provide them with jobs. The same logic would apply if, say, 300 years from now a real-world application for people with philosophy degrees somehow arose."
Soon-to-be college graduates were divided about the pending legislation. While some expressed reluctance to induce their own clinical death, other students seemed content to postpone their job hunting for a while.
"Everyone I know is either unemployed or barely getting by," University of Illinois senior Kim Levesque said. "If they want to put me on ice until there are more jobs out there, that's totally fine with me. Not to mention the fact that I won't have to think about my student loans for a while."
When reached for comment, a spokesman for loan provider Sallie Mae said that educational loans taken out by graduates in cryogenic storage would continue to accrue interest indefinitely at 6.5 percent.