MY VIEW: Jim Kolbe

One of the most important truths to remember is that today's budget will not only define the decisions of today, but also to some extent determine the decisions of tomorrow. Because future members of Congress do not have a seat at the table, it is important to keep in mind the how the burden of higher debt will affect -- and potentially constrain -- future generations.

In an op-ed in the Arizona Capitol Times, former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and The Can Kicks Back member Devin Del Palacio write about the need for a comprehensive deficit reduction deal that would put debt on a downward path as a share of the economy. In particular, they highlight the negative consequences a rising debt path would have on younger constituents, who will eventually pick up the tab, and the importance of addressing this problem for the next generation:

If we continue down this path, America will be unable to act on promises made in the past or to invest in our future, and those in the millennial generation will be stuck with more debt, higher taxes, fewer jobs and a lower standard of living. Lawmakers need to muster political courage and begin to rebuild our fiscal house.

The first step is to understand the actual size and future impact of our fiscal imbalance and how policy changes distribute the benefits and burdens not only on one generation but among all generations. Congress can do this by passing a proposal put forth by The Can Kicks Back to instate generational accounting analysis, which would show the effect of policy changes to members of different age groups.

Many of the proposals that come out of Washington do not affect middle-aged Americans since reforms are phased in. Although such proposals are politically more favorable to an influential voting bloc, lawmakers cannot ignore the burden facing the next generation. Indeed, they must not only consider this constituency’s concerns, but also invite its leaders to testify before relevant committees. Young people deserve to have their voices heard on this critical issue, as they truly have the most to lose.

Republicans and Democrats alike share the responsibility of addressing our fiscal problems now to ensure future generations of Americans do not inherit them.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.

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