THE BLOG

Just Ask Us!

05/04/2011 12:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Much of the debate surrounding the budget and the debt ceiling has been centered on catering to the needs of the next generation. Paul Ryan's website even recently boasted about how his budget would "lift the crushing burden of debt from the backs of the next generation", and, undoubtedly, the needs of the next generation have been a top talking point at Ryan's town hall meetings. Well, Mr. Ryan and fellow Republicans, you're talking to the next generation, so I'll explain, on behalf of my peers, what we really want.

First of all, we want this recession to be over by the time we're in charge. I don't think this is too much to ask for considering that unemployment is finally dropping and businesses are starting to hire again, but I know it will never happen if we cut spending on critical government programs that are built to aid the poor.

Ryan wants to increase the government's deficit by billions of dollars through cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, but according to the Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the most effective way to lower unemployment has proven to be providing aid to the unemployed. If you ask anyone I know whose mom or dad has been laid off, they'll tell you that they want unemployment lowered. Sadly for them (and for the CBO), greater than 2/3 of the cuts in Paul Ryan's house-approved budget would be from programs built to serve the poor. I'll let you decide whether cutting these programs and lowering taxes on the rich is what the next generation wants.

Secondly, we don't want you to stop spending money on research for the future. Paying higher taxes won't be our biggest concern when the world is heating up, and we are running out of oil. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of money trying to pay for tax cuts to the wealthy, we would like you to keep taxes at pre-Bush rates and spend the additional money on researching alternative energy. As world-class economist Jeffrey Sachs points out: if we don't, China will. So, to all the Republicans focused on beating China, remember that all the tax cuts in the world won't accomplish your goal.

Lastly, can you just stop using us as an excuse? Sorry, Mr. Ryan, but, in spite of your crazy workout routine, you'll be long past your prime when we hit the deficits you warn us about. Trust us, as the next generation, to come up with a smarter and more effective way to fix the deficit. Or, at the very least, listen to Barack Obama, who was elected, in large part, because the "next generation" worked tirelessly campaigning for him. After all, from the way you have been booed in your town hall meetings, Mr. Ryan, I don't think we could do much worse.