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America's Growing Problem
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Essay by:Elizabeth Meigs
Emporia State University
We definitely have a growing problem in our country with facing up to our challenges, especially with the way we view Social Security, Medicare, the cost of education and much more. Our national government is spending more than it has collected it taxes and we just had a tax cut for the wealthy. Those people would definitely not be hurt by a tax increase because they could still afford the cost of living as well as a tax increase. I am sure if everyone fully understood what is happening by increasing our debt they would gladly pay higher taxes to help get us out of this mess. We are also going to need to figure out a way to extend our Social Security and Medicare. The generations before us have just been putting the burden on to our younger generations, so we are going to have to be the ones to stop it and to help the older Americans see what they are doing.
The first thing we need to do is understand the sacrifices we must make. For example, we should raise the age for Social Security and Medicare to at least 68 if not 70; we need to do this sooner rather than later. Eventually, a tax increase will also be necessary, especially on the wealthier Americans. I would not mind paying higher taxes if it meant that these programs would still be around when I get old enough to need them.
We would also greatly benefit by helping to pay for higher education for our children. If our children go on to college it would mean that they can get better jobs and be able to pay taxes and contribute more to our economy. In addition, if they can get better jobs, they will make more money over their lifetime, then they actually will be able to afford healthcare and enjoy living longer and healthier until age 68 or 70. Then they can retire and their Social Security and Medicare will kick in. With all our health advancements, people are living longer and staying healthier. Therefore, we are able to work more years because we are staying healthier.
Our generation sees the need for our government to increase the spending on higher education. If we can help young people to stay in school to be better educated, and prepared for careers about which they are truly passionate, they would have more of a reason to stay in that field and not to retire quite so early in life. Therefore, they will be contributing a greater amount to our society and its social programs over a lifetime compared with someone who joined the labor force right out of high school, working at a job they may not love or even hate.
Energy independence is associated with this as well and by continuing our children’s education, they could very well lead to finding solutions as well as creating many jobs our country needs. In addition, energy independence would let us quit spending so much of our money on foreign oil, which has implications for many activities and groups around the world.
However, our grandparents and older Americans do not seem to see how that would help our economy and our country over the long run. As the baby boomers retire, they are going to be contributing less to our economy. I do not foresee another baby boom anytime in our near future. Therefore, we need people to be able to get better jobs so that they can contribute more to our economy. If we have a tax increase, it is important for taxpayers to be able to afford the tax increase as well as the cost of living and be able to live a good life. We have a federal debt of over 10 trillion dollars; we cannot continue down the path of continuing to accumulate more debt. Increasingly, we are borrowing from other countries, which will make our lives harder and harder.
If we continue to help younger Americans get further in their education, we look forward to effective long-term solutions to some of these problems and we will also have more educated people in the future to create better government policies. Hopefully, we will be able to stay out of this kind of mess in the future. Neither the politicians nor the government we have seem to know how to fix the problems we face. The generations before us have just been putting the burden on future generations, so we are going to have to be the ones to stop it and to help the older Americans see what they are doing. Why do we have to wait? Perhaps someone will look at the ideas generated in this contest and seriously consider implementing ones to improve America’s future.
»A new report finds the main problem in getting the public to deal with our fiscal problems isn't opposition to tax increases or spending cuts -- it's their lack of trust in the government to spend their money wisely.