Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President: What Kids Should Ask

The children's cable channel Nickelodeon has invited President Barrack Obama and the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to answer questions from kids on the Linda Ellerbee hosted show called "Kids Pick the President."  What is getting a lot of publicity is that Romney declined to participate.  I have no idea why Romney would not want to do this.  It would appear to be an idea venue to discuss the most significant issue facing kids, namely, the massive debt we are leaving them.

According to a Nickelodeon poll the top issues for kids are 1. Same-sex marriage, 2. Education, 3. Health care, 4. Taxes, 5. Immigration, 6. Iran, 7. Energy, and 8. Jobs.  

The lists looks more like what a typical adult would say are the top issues.  Obviously kids' opinions on politics are often a reflection of their parents' views or what they have heard on media (both social and traditional).  So I am not surprised that The Entitlement Debt Bomb didn't make the list.  But make no mistake it is THE issue that will doom today's children and future children to a reduced standard of living.  The current US government debt is just over $16 trillion and growing which is equal to the total GDP of the US.  The current debt is already lowering our standard of living due to the debt service and the diversion of capital out of the private sector.   

The bigger concern, however, is the total unfunded liabilities.  According to some estimates the total unfunded liabilities are $100 trillion to $220 trillion.  Most of the unfunded liabilities are associated with Social Security and Medicare.  Most young people realize that they will never receive any Social Security.  As pointed out in a previous post, entitlements and interest on the debt will completely consume the federal budget by 2025.  There will be no more money for defense, courts or, well, anything else.  Now certainly most of the "anything else" aren't Constitutionally authorized functions of the federal government anyway but neither are Social Security, Medicare, or any of the entitlement programs.

So THE question to President Obama and Mitt Romney from kids should be, "How are you going to reduce the debt burden your generation is leaving my generation?"

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