Generations have been scarred by war and disease in the past. Lives have been destroyed by tremendous disasters-- hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues. Often times these crises come with little warning and are not understood until it is too late to stop them. The crisis facing the current youth of this nation, though, is entirely foreseeable-- and entirely avoidable. We actually know that it is going to happen, why it is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how bad it is going to be. We have all the tools and knowledge at our disposal to avert this doomed future. Yet, despite this tremendous foresight, we do nothing. We lack the will to meet this challenge and slay this beast before it devours a generation of people.
The issue I speak of is our massive debt. The scope of this danger is generally misunderstood by the public, and often spoken of in vague terms by our politicians. It is not very romantic or seemingly heroic to want to tackle it, but at times our leaders pretend to. It has become common of late to entertain arguments over the defense budget, foreign aid, funding the National Endowment for the Humanities, whether or not Smithsonian museums should start charging for admission, and shrinking the federal bureaucracy. Democrats and Republicans argue over these issues as if they will have any impact on the coming crisis. Noble as it may be to tackle the government's discretionary funding, it will do nothing. The government can shut down every branch of the Armed Forces and pull the salaries of every bureaucrat in Washington and this nation's fiscal future will still be doomed
. If we are to avert this disaster, then our leaders must become statesmen willing to go after the programs that are usually sacrosanct in the minds of politicians-- entitlements. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will force this nation to its knees and bring about the economic ruin of the greatest economic force the world has ever known. Imagine the chaos we have seen in Greece amplified a hundred-fold. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if something is not done, then by the year 2050 the tax rate will be 47% for the middle tax bracket and 66% on the highest earners; in 2082, it will be 88% on the highest earners.
Congress must turn to the entitlement programs within the next four or five years if we are to avert this crisis. We can see it; we can do something about it. Unfortunately, the people that these programs are most important to are also the ones who politicians are most beholden to, because they tend to be the ones who vote. Young people need to start speaking up more about this if Congress is to really be held accountable on this issue. This is why programs like the Heritage Foundation's Slay the Beast
are useful and should be spread and replicated. And, for those of you who (like me) sort of get a glazed look in your eyes when economists bring out graphs and start talking about numbers, videos like this
are of huge help (as are this one
and this one