To an American generation born during one of our nation’s greatest economic booms, raised throughout some of our longest wars, and attempting to obtain higher education during one of the toughest recessions, it’s no wonder we, the Millennials, are having a little trouble finding our place in this country. To the older folks (i.e., our parents), yeah sure, we’re the greatest nation on the planet, land of opportunity, home of the brave, etc…But to those of us who’ve only been gracing the earth the past 25 years or so, we haven’t been entirely convinced. Or maybe we have it too good at Mom and Dad’s to make a stink about our current situations. Or maybe there’s a new Walking Dead episode on tonight. For whatever the reason, the youngsters of today just aren’t paying attention to national headlines. And, unfortunately, it would appear our leaders in Washington would prefer it to stay that way.
This whole fiscal cliff fiasco and bi-monthly debt ceiling debacles makes one glaring point all too apparent: the youth of America are getting an outrageously dreary future here. With the way things are going, the debt our country continues to build will eventually incur interest rates of over $1 trillion per year, which we’ll be forced to pay on top of the actual yearly budget to fund the government. In short, that means either we continue to borrow to pay that amount each year, or Yours Truly will have to swallow taxes double the rates citizens are paying right now. If you think you’re sick of the partisan dance and tax debates now, just give it another twenty years or so – we’ll be calling today’s politics ‘the good ol’ days’! Point is, this can-kicking competition in DC isn’t doing anyone a lick of good. And the worst part is, while senior citizens, veterans, unions, corporations, pharmaceuticals, gun makers, environmentalists, the military, and politicians all have special interest groups and lobbyists to defend their self-serving policies, the Millennials can’t find an ally on any side to carry a torch for us. So it’s no mystery we’re the ones getting hosed as our current education opportunities and future benefits continue to get hacked away. Mash this reality with our skyrocketing student debt and unparalleled unemployment rates and we’ve got a serious problem looming over the horizon, guys.
David Brooks puts it best when he states for The New York Times that the Millennial generation is being “sentenced to a living standard much lower than their parents because of boomer greed. I guess it’s hard when you are 25 to imagine the tax bill and the benefit cuts that will hit when you are 40, but someday interest rates will return to their normal levels and it will all come crashing down.” Boomer greed? You don’t say… However, for a generation raised by MTV and video games, we’re far too distracted by cat videos on YouTube, Taylor Swift’s chameleon-like love life, and our approaching spring break plans (Cancun, anyone?!) to tune in to the life altering policy decisions unfolding right now in our nation’s capital. So the question then becomes, how do we get young people to even care?
There is one group in Washington that appears to be tackling that very question. The Can Kicks Back is a Millennial driven response to the child-like behavior we’ve been witnessing by our elected officials in recent years. Paired with the Fix the Debt campaign, TCKB is attempting to put pressure on Congress to find a feasible solution that doesn’t strip us of our American Dream. With any luck (and a few more videos of senators dancing Gangnam style), we can gain some momentum among our youthful demographic and get more support from policy makers. All that we ask is that you help us spread the word and join the cause. By visiting our site and adding your name to our list of supporters, you can help slow or even reverse the damage being done to our futures. But as with most things in Washington, our battle won’t be an easy one. Without celebrity endorsements or reality star shout outs, it’s hard to say how much attention a topic of this nature will get from America’s youth. Having meaningful discussions about the realities of all of our futures with your closest friends can and will make an impact, though. True, it may not be as entertaining as talking about those texts from last night, but investing the time now with every Millennial around you not only makes you a concerned citizen, it makes you a mover and a shaker unsatisfied with the status quo. Twenty years from now, you can rest assured that you were a part of the solution. You’ll know that you did everything in your power to ensure a bright future for yourself and your future family. And you’ll have secured a piece of the American Dream for us, too. So go ahead and grab that pitch fork and flaming torch and meet us in the streets. You’ll be glad you did.