Solutions Basics – The Millennial Edition

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If you’ve been paying attention to the debate over the deficit in Washington you’re probably sick of the banter and confused as to what is really going on and what a solution to our deficit should look like.

Over the past year we’ve seen a flood of deficit reduction plans and playground-like squabbles between politicians.  What plan is best?  Which side is right?  What should I be concerned about?  If you’re in the Millennial Generation there a plenty of things you should want to see in a plan.  We can’t tell you which side is right or wrong but here is a list of some things that we believe every Millennial should be looking for in a plan.

  • Creating Growth – Millennials, probably the hardest hit by the recession, are unemployed or underemployed at rate of more than 35%.  We need jobs and those that are underemployed need better jobs.  Many of us who are entering the workforce or have been in it for a few years are losing some of the most formative years of our careers.  Resulting in missed opportunity, lower lifetime wages, less savings and a lower standard of living.  We’re going to be expected to take over the workforce someday and many of us are not getting the experience we need.  A plan has to address this.  It’s going to have to find a way to create growth in an era of reduced spending.  It’s going to be tough but look for plans that are being creative and thinking outside the box.
  • Controlling Long term Costs – We certainly would not argue with the need to reduce spending in the near term, but let’s not be too extreme our real issues are in the long term.  Mainly due to costs from Medicare and down the road Social Security.  Health care costs are skyrocketing and we’ll be spending tens of trillions over the coming decades.  We have to either find ways to control the growth of costs or change how Medicare and Medicaid work.  This is not an option. More and more people will be entering a system that is not equipped to handle them.  If we do nothing these programs will cease to exist.  We just won’t have the money to support them.
  • Back to the Basics – America didn’t just become the number one country in the world by chance.  Working in conjunction with the spirit and work ethic of its people were a set of policies and priorities that helped create growth and prosperity.  Policies like investing in education, infrastructure and research.  In all of these categories America is losing ground to the rest of the world.  An educated population, sound infrastructure and support for R&D are all things companies look for when deciding where to locate.  The US needs to be the best place in the world to locate a business.

o   Our infrastructure has fallen from 7th in quality to 25th over the last 10 years.

o   Our students rank 25th in math and 21st in science test scores.

o   While we reduce our spending on research & development.  Countries like China, India and Brazil are increasing what they spend.

  • Forward thinking – Please, please, please let’s think beyond the next election.  The world in changing so fast and we’re just not keeping up.  Just like our most recent debt-fueled recession was not like the previous ones, the world Millennials live in will not be like their parents.  We are living in a more globalized, competitive world where you are not just competing for business or a job from the guy next door; you’re competing with the guy in another country.  Let’s be creative here.  The same old policies are not going to cut it.  We need new thinking.
  • Reducing Waste & Creating Efficiency – Whether you believe that the government is too large or too small there is no denying its role in your life.  Our government has become a wasteful, inefficient, bureaucratic behemoth.  There is a lot of savings in reducing waste and creating efficiency.  A lot!  We suggest starting with this Government Accountability Office report.
  • Revamping the Tax Code – America’s tax code was not written by average citizens, economist or rational individuals.  It was written by politicians, corporations and lobbyists.  It creates advantages for some and disadvantages for other.  Over the years it has grown to thousands of pages. Its incentive system is out of whack and puts our country and businesses at a disadvantage.   Look for a plan that seeks to broaden the tax base, reduces exemptions and lowers rates overall.  It will not only collect more money but will encourage proper behaviors.
  • Understand the Basics of the Federal Budget – This is probably not at the top of your to do list but it’s an important aspect of making decisions on who and what plan to support.  We’re not asking you to become a budget expert just know where the government spends your money.  We’ve broken it down for you here.

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