Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time For A New Pact

The time has come for America to once again start to reinvest in its young people. Not in the small increments we have seen the last few years, but a whole scale project to once again make them a priority.

Why is it important to make this investment? It is important because as a nation our fortunes have risen with the amount of investment we have made in our young. In previous generations our investments in our young have created the middle-class society, it fueled our technology surge, and it drove our housing markets. By providing affordable college to young people who otherwise would have been unable to attend through the GI Bill and the grant programs we expanded our economy and our societal well-being. Money invested in our young has proven in the past to be money well spent and has repaid itself a hundred-fold.

Today so much of our public investments have been redirected through Medicare and Social Security to the elderly due to their growing costs and populations. Well these programs are important and I would never advocate them being dropped, but we need to make just as large an investment in our future as we are doing for our past. We as a nation have been paralyzed by the Iraq war with all of its enormous cost in money and humanity, but we must not lose sight of our future and those charged to lead it. We must provide more avenues to our young people than “Be all you can be”. We as a society must develop other forms of service for our young people and in return they would receive an investment from this country. We have dabbled with various forms of this, but have not made a full-fledged effort to invest in those young people at the time when they need it most. We must begin to create opportunities for all of our young that want to participate in our society. We are becoming a nation again of the haves and the have nots. Our greatest economic growth occurred when we opened up opportunities for everyone, not just the wealthy. It is time for us to take our focus off destroying the world and place it back on improving the world. We have gained more converts to our system through programs like the Peace Corps than we ever have through violence.

Many of today’s foreign leaders learned about America not from propaganda, but from average American young people who took their values, “our values” abroad and taught the world who we are through service. These programs not only benefit our nation and the nations abroad, but they will also benefit the young people. They will teach them the value of self sacrifice, ingenuity, and perseverance. Ask anyone who has volunteered and they will tell you how it teaches one as much about themselves as about those they are helping. We should create programs that if they provide service to our nation, then we will provide an education, an affordable home, or some sort of job skill. The rewards of the program can be worked out, but the incentive should be there to provide an opportunity for all.

Today, when we are asking some of our young people to make the ultimate sacrifice shouldn’t we also be willing to make a sacrifice for them?

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