By Joey Gale
Millennials, we have a major problem that our entire generation will need to take care of. The national debt is hovering around $18 trillion today. Woah.
For clarity sake, the national debt of the United States is the amount owed by the federal government of the United States. According to a Washington Post Article, each single American citizen would own about $65,433 of U.S. debt. That’s a lot of money.
We Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population. We have been shaped by technology, we invest in human capital more than any other generation, and we don’t expect to retire with Social Security. It’s sort of an odd joke that seems to be the punch line of every introduction when meeting with politicians. It’s oddly humorous, partially sickening and incredibly thought-provoking.
When attending Senator Ernst’s swearing in reception, we had the opportunity to meet and take a photo with Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina. Shortly after shaking the Senator’s hand, he fired off a joke about how Social Security won’t exist when we retire, and his apology for that.
What?! Why is a Senator of the United States making a joke about this? Yes, it was partially funny in the social context of the reception, but really, it seems sort of sick to joke about.
Our generation is going to pay taxes for the next 40+ years, with a large portion of that directly going to Social Security. It seems like a crime to pay all this money and not receive the full benefits that all of the Baby Boomers will reap over the next decades.
According to the Concord Coalition, a budgeting think tank we met with on Wednesday, by 2033 all Social Security funds will be exhausted… BUT, never fear, the worst case scenario still entitles you to at least 75% of Social Security benefits. Social Security takes up a very large portion of the debt, around $800 billion. Reform at this point is absolutely necessary if Millennials want to see what they should out of it.
However, Wednesday evening at the Washington Center, Social Security reform was described as the “third rail” as in no one should touch it, and those who do get shocked — to death.
Our country’s leaders need to take action now so our generation has something we can rely on. Millennials can and should speak up.