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David Cahn Headshot

Young People in the 2012 Elections

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Jack and David are members of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.

If you're under 18 in America, you might be asking yourself: Why should I care about the 2012 elections? Although as a high school student myself I've heard a lot of cynicism from fellow students about the 2012 elections, young people will actually be the demographic most heavily affected by the outcome of the November elections. In the face of foreign relations crises posed by deteriorating situations in Iran and Syria, as well as high unemployment among college graduates, the effects of this election -- both at home and abroad -- will forever impact the lives of young adults across the country. This election will determine OUR future.

First and foremost, our rising national debt will directly impact young Americans, who will one day be forced to bear the burden of our reliance on foreign nations such as China. For four straight years, President Obama has run trillion-dollar deficits. Today, the federal debt held by the public has reached $11.3 trillion. Total federal debt has exceeded $16 trillion, and only increasing. It's up to the next president to reduce this debt now, before it increases exponentially.

President Obama's "trickle-down government" has cost the country greatly. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have already cost $833 billion. Add that to the additional $700 billion in stimulus spending, and Obama's stimulus spending alone has cost $1.5 trillion. Although President Obama has claimed he will help reduce unemployment, the current administration's unemployment policy is abysmal as well. When the administration took office in January of 2009, unemployment was at 7.8 percent and today it is still exactly 7.8 percent, according to data from the US Department of Labor. Obama and Biden have failed reducing our national debt.

Romney and Ryan, alternatively, both have solid records balancing budgets. We've all heard that about Romney's experience at Bain Capital and with the Olympics, balancing budgets and producing profits. In fact, according to a Forbes estimate, by leaving the private sector to serve the American people, "Romney left $1.77 billion on the table." That's a very high opportunity to cost to run for office and help the American people.

Paul Ryan is even more qualified to reduce nation debt -- he is respected on both sides of the aisle as a brilliant man. Obama's own deficit commission co-chair, Erskine Bowles, said of Paul Ryan, "I always thought I was okay at arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan -- it is sensible, straightforward, honest serious budget... And it cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion." Paul Ryan is a deficit-hawk, and he's a man I'd trust to clean up our debt crisis.

Unlike the Obama administration, which has failed to adequately reform social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Ryan has plans to reform all three. If there is one honest man left in Washington who can save us from the deficit, it's Paul Ryan. Ryan's plans to reduce government spending and end an era of fiscal insanity are the most appealing reasons why young people should be supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket.

In terms of foreign policy, Iran's proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the biggest threat to young people today who will inherit a world threatened by an armed and potentially irrational Iran. While Obama and Biden have advocated the same old minimal "economic sanctions" which have failed to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons in the past, the Romney-Ryan team have advocated taking a stronger stance against Iran. In the vice-presidential debate, Ryan emphasized the need to cripple Iran, and if necessary, back military action.

The Iranian government has repeatedly admitted its hatred for Israel and the West. With their increasing nuclear capabilities, the US response to the Iranian effect will directly impact our lives. I don't support a president and vice-president who have failed to stop Iran for four years and in numerous situations undermined Prime Minister Netanyahu. I would not entrust my life to men who have failed to take significant action in Iran, or anywhere around the globe.

The Obama administration has been traditionally weak on foreign policy. In addition to advocating military budget cuts, the Obama administration's first foreign policy action in office was to remove missile defense from Europe. In the recent Arab Spring, Obama forestalled talking action in Libya for quite a while. In Syria, thousands have already died because of the president's inaction. As young people, we're looking for a president and vice-president who are going to protect US interests and expand US power -- and for that we need a bold team who isn't scared to act.

This election is important to young people for another reason: It's shaped our view of the democratic process. During the debate, we saw the vice-president of the United State laugh and deride his opponent, even when talking about a nuclear armed Iran. For many young people who saw the Biden-Ryan debate as their first or second vice-presidential debate, Biden's rudeness, unprofessional interrupting, and constant display of disrespect towards Ryan will play a crucial role in shaping their image of the democratic process. As young people, we're looking for a professional administration to deal wisely with our internal policy and diplomacy; Paul Ryan's professionalism, honesty and integrity meets our needs.

My message to young people across this country is that this election will directly impact your lives in so many ways -- get involved with election and participate in the democratic process.