Column: Young people have plenty to loseST. CLOUD — Much is at stake Nov. 6. Each and every American will feel the impact of the decisions made in the voting booth. However, people ages 18 to 30 stand out in particular.
By: Adam Ulbricht, St. Cloud State University, Worthington Daily Globe
ST. CLOUD — Much is at stake Nov. 6. Each and every American will feel the impact of the decisions made in the voting booth. However, people ages 18 to 30 stand out in particular.
Young people have everything to lose. Decisions made now have consequences that reach far into the future. The generation in power now has little to no incentive to come up with policy that will benefit future generations.
We need not look any further than to our federally elected leaders, who have not agreed to and passed a budget in years while our government runs on continuing resolutions. A real budget allows for our country to be placed on a known course; a continuing resolution is a temporary fix.
It is common to find short-term solutions to our long-term problems these days. After all, we are facing major issues. However, if we think of the severity of problems we face today, imagine what we will be facing in 20 or 30 years.
As of today, our national debt stands at more than $16 trillion. That is money we do not have the means of paying for. If I were a betting man, I would say that $16 trillion will get much larger before anything is done about it.
It is obvious that today’s politicians are content with kicking the bucket farther down the road. Tough decisions may alienate certain voting blocks. Young people need to get their heads in the game and start realizing that it is our future at stake.
Nothing will get better until the people making the decisions know we are serious. Voter participation is a key step to this process. Historically speaking, our demographic has largely been absent from the voting booth. In the 2008 election, record numbers of young people cast their votes. It is unlikely we will see that type of participation this time.
It is hard to believe that young people are not even the smallest bit worried about the future. When last calculated, the youth unemployment rate stood at 17.1 percent. That number is alarming and a real cause for concern for the future.
I understand today’s job market. Some young people take part-time jobs just to earn a buck while others sit and wait, hoping to land something in their field of study. Many young people have elected to move back in with their parents while they wait.
People need to realize that although the government cannot necessarily create jobs, it can foster a climate that allows jobs to be created by the private sector. Young people have a difficult time landing a job when so many other people with years of experience are also unemployed.
The real kicker is that while waiting for a job student debt needs to be paid off. Student debt in this country has overtaken the amount of credit-card debt Americans owe. This is a ticking time bomb.
We always believe that the future holds better days. We want to believe that everything will be OK even if we continue the very destructive habits that got us into this mess. I would like to believe that good days are still ahead, but it is hard to see that vision when the captains of our ship are taking us into a sea of icebergs.
The bottom line for my fellow young people is that we need to get serious about our future. Turn off shows like “Jersey Shore” and start tuning into what is really happening in this country. No other demographic has as much to lose as we do.
Adam Ulbricht, who grew up in Lakefield, is a graduate student of mass communication at St. Cloud State University. He has a monthly column published in the St. Cloud Times.