Congress is crushing young Americans with future debt. Here's how they can fight back.
Faced with an untenable debt burden, America’s youth must go beyond voting and start serving in Congress. But first they’ll have to lower the age requirement.
America faces a mammoth debt crisis. Imagine if the Berlin Wall were reconstructed with stacks of $100 dollar bills. Using the US national debt, we could build two walls each 67 miles long, 12 feet tall, and eight inches thick.Skip to next paragraph
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This $13.4 trillion debt wall symbolizes the amassing barrier standing between my generation and the future of the American dream.
A deeper problem
This growing crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem in Congress: members stealing from the future to stay present and reward the past.
The tendency to burden America’s young people with unsustainable debt is understandable: At the start of the 111th Congress last year, the average age of members in the House was 58; in the Senate, it was 64. That’s the oldest Congress in our nation’s history – at a time when it’s never been more important to safeguard the interests of the next generation.
Clearly, the halls of Congress could use some youthful voices. Yet the Constitution bars those under 25 from running.
It’s time to change that. Not only to solve the debt problem, but to bring youthful accountability on a whole host of issues.
I’m 20. Most people my age (even those who don’t drink) abhor the drinking age. Since the law’s inception in 1984, the classic rebuttal has been this: If you’re old enough to die in war, you should be old enough to have a beer.
The same concept applies to serving in Congress.
If you can be sent to war, you ought to be able to participate in the decision making process to declare war. Sure, citizens over 18 can vote, but we need a real seat at the table.
Youth: an underrepresented minority
The equal rights movements throughout history sparked debates about underrepresented minorities.
Americans take pride in seeing more diversity in our representative bodies, but few realize that the youth constitute the most underrepresented major demographic in the country.
The national discourse is devoid of young perspectives. Turned off by the divisiveness of politics, folks my age lack any incentive to stay informed. Even after the election of President Obama, who inspired millions of youthful voters, my generation feels like they can’t change Washington.
We can get rid of this youth malaise and liven up politics once we allow people between the ages of 18 and 24 to run for the House.
Congress could use a youthful freshening.