This week, Restore Accountability featured content that focused on the issues that will impact the graduating class of 2017. To cap off Graduation Week, we are taking a trip to the future to share the consequences of one generation’s failure to act’s impact on the next generation. Here is a letter from the Graduating Class of 2037 to the current Congress.
Dear 2017 Lawmakers,
This May, the Class of 2037 will graduate from college, a feat many of us did not think would happen after the debt crisis. Although we were just kids, we remember families moving into smaller homes, parents being laid off, and unaffordable education that made our lives much different than the ones you currently enjoy today.
When the debt crisis occurred, everything Americans owned was devalued significantly, almost overnight. Life savings, college funds, and retirement plans all lost life-altering value. Even our prized entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, were immediately and drastically cut without providing any opportunity for our parents to adjust their retirement planning.
Things are getting better now though. Foreign countries have finally stopped overseeing our economic policies and it looks like the next generation will have similar prosperity as Americans did just a few decades ago. This brings us to the pinnacle of our letter.
Why didn’t your generation of lawmakers do anything? From what we learned in school, there was enough time to defuse the debt bomb. But Congress did nothing and the American people didn’t hold elected officials in Washington accountable for the nation’s finances until it was too late.
In one of our classes, we debated solutions that could have been made, such as reforming entitlement programs, eliminating special favors in the tax code, cutting blatant government waste, and simply spending less than the government took in. Budgeting is such a necessity now, it is incomprehensible to us as to why your generation couldn’t find a solution to one of the most crucial and obvious issues in our country’s history.
There were plenty of outspoken lawmakers that called for a balanced budget and common sense reforms, but it sounds like, at least how it’s told in the history books, that these people were shooed away, as the United States could never succumb to such an internal catastrophe.
We realize hindsight is 20/20, but there was plenty of foresight from independent government agencies warning Congress that our country was on an unsustainable fiscal path. Our generation has seen the extensive reports and warning signs, yet nothing was done. Why couldn’t you put away your political differences and do what was best for the country?
Looking on the brightside, the debt crisis has made our current lawmakers more cautious of government spending. We balance our budget every year, and only spend money we have. It truly is amazing how efficient our government has become. Unfortunately, it took the greatest financial disaster in history to encourage lawmakers to make the right decisions.
Citizens and elected officials alike learned painfully the United States is not immune to a debt-driven crisis. Ignorance, coupled with unaccountability, ultimately sentenced our generation to fiscal hardship and scarce opportunity. So this is our charge to you. Make the tough decisions now, because they are much easier than the ones that will be forced upon our generation later.
The Graduating Class of 2037