As an American young person, I am going to raise my hand and say: I am outraged. I am outraged first of all by the spending decisions (if they can really be called “decisions”) made in Congress this week, but I’m not stupid enough to believe the problem begins and ends there. Our government has been racking up out-of-control debt for decades, and we’re just now arrived at the point where irresponsible decisions hit that spot on the meter labeled “Boinnnngg.” I am outraged at the weak-kneed attempts of our leaders to “manage” this “situation” by making it worse now (raising the debt ceiling–but only temporarily, of course) with the promise of improving it in two years. Don’t worry–those spending cuts we’re too cowardly to make now?–we’ll totally be able to make ’em in 2013.
Does anyone actually believe that? This situation won’t get any easier to rectify in 2013 (when we have even more money to pay off, and we’re faced with the same spending cuts that no politician with any sense of self-preservation wants to ask for, be he blue, red, or magenta). How much farther down the road do they think we can kick this can, anyway? Well, I guess we’ll find out.
Either way, those of us in the “under 40” crowd are going to be the ones who feel it. I mean really, really feel it. Here’s an example: take a look at your pay stub. See that money you’re pouring every two weeks into Social Security? Guess how much of that you’re going to see when you hit retirement and need it. Quite simply, there’s no painless way out of this situation. Sooner or later we’re going to have pull our heads out of the sand and take a good look at the cold, hard facts. I don’t know about my fellow young Americans, but I’d rather do this now, while we’ve still got a chance to get this country back on track.
While I believe in respect for my elders and hold the “wisdom of gray hairs” in great esteem, I generally expect those elders to have a certain interest in and even solicitude for my future. Not so in Congress. Our 50- , 60- , and 70-year-old leaders seem to be interested only in maintaining their respective voting blocs–especially by protecting entitlement spending. If that means staving off pain now by shoving it just a little bit farther down the road, so be it. We current 20- and 30-somethings can deal with it when they’re gone, and the problems are exponentially larger, and America as we know it is…