Millennials Weigh in on Simpson-Bowles

Sep 28, 2012 | Budgets & Projections

Fix the Debt co-founders and Fiscal Commission co-chairs Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles have been busy traveling around the country speaking with Americans about the dangers posed by rising debt and deficits. Yesterday at Wake Forest University, Erskine and Al laid out our fiscal math and the simple message that comes from it -- that future deficit and debt levels are unsustainable. Bowles summed up the problem by saying, "These deficits of over a trillion dollars a year, they are like a cancer. A cancer that’s going to destroy this country from within."

We were especially pleased to hear how young people reacted at the event. Kicking the can down the road will only leave a much larger problem for the next generation, and those in the audience recognized it. Here are a few of their reactions in the Winston-Salem Journal:

India Prather, a senior political science major at Wake Forest, said she was surprised how much health care, Medicare and Medicaid contributed to the national debt. She said listening to Simpson and Bowles will help her decide who to vote for in the presidential election.

"I'll be thinking about which political party and which person is removing the polarization as far as Democrats and Republicans and trying to get down to actually solving the problem," she said.

Steve Kelley of Winston-Salem, who attended the event, said he liked the plan Simpson and Bowles recommended and thinks it was a shame that Congress and Obama didn't fully embrace it.

"It's beyond me why we can't come to grips with this debt," he said.

After speaking at Wake Forest, the duo traveled to The George Washington University to speak today at an all-day event on the budget. In an interview with Aaron Harber, they laid out the problems facing us, and how all areas of the budget could be improved and needed to contribute to the solution. Simpson added that lawmakers who promised they could make the budget sustainable with only minor changes or without touching major categories in the budget was not serious.

It is good to hear young voters care about this issue, as no generation will be affected more by rising debt than this one--the one that will end up having to pay it all off. The Can Kicks Back is a millennial-driven campaign that is urging lawmakers to adopt a debt-reduction deal for the good of their younger constituents. We encourage our readers to check out their blog and follow them on Twitter at @TheCanKicksBack.

When we talked with Republicans and Democrats at the recent conventions, we noticed how many young people were interested in this issue and recognized that it would greatly affect their generation. A few even appeared in our video reactions, which you should check out if you haven't seen them already. With organizations like the Can Kicks Back and others we have met at universities, we think that millennials are an important voice for fiscal responsibility.

We cannot leave this problem to be solved entirely by future generations. We have a prime opportunity to replace the fiscal cliff with a bipartisan deal in the upcoming months. With leadership and compromise, we can give the next generation a secure fiscal future.