Story by Beth LeValley
On Monday, The Can Kicks Back, Concord Coalition, the Travelers Institute and Drake University united in an event to inform students of the national debt.
The event included a documentary, titled “Overdraft,” as well as an interactive discussion afterward on how the younger generation can work to lower the national debt.
Rachel Vierling, the communication manager for The Can Kicks Back, said this was their “ninth stop on a five-week van tour” to “educate millennials about debt toward their future.”
“People are probably apathetic about the government, especially since it shut down,” Vierling said. “They may not understand the numbers, but it is a problem, and young people should care and get involved.”
The tour ends Oct. 31, when The Can Kicks Back will hold a rally on Capitol Hill.
“We’re collecting messages to Washington on can labels and constructing a pyramid to display on the Capitol steps.” Students afterwards had the option to write a message on a label to put on a can for the pyramid. This act is to show Washington that young people still have a voice for this cause and big issue in our government today.
The shortened documentary, twenty-three minutes out of the original sixty, addressed issues such as social security, defense debt, debt held by foreign countries and other topics of current debates. Everyone both in and outside the video agreed that there are sacrifices America has to make to fix this problem, but when Americans are asked to make these sacrifices, they refuse. It also addressed the aging population and how to make the best of both the baby boomer population as well as the future generations. The full video, “Overdraft,” was made for public television and is airing across the country.
During the discussion, students read through the terms for cutting a certain program from the federal budget and debated whether to make that sacrifice. Propositions such as freezing the spending level or reducing domestic spending, defense spending, war spending, health care spending and many more were discussed between groups.
One student claimed that these solutions were simplified too much, which led to a different discussion about how in reality these problems are discussed for days rather than half an hour.
By the end of the discussion, some groups had reduced the federal deficit by as much as $4.9 trillion out of the $6.3 trillion 10-year deficit.
“Views were very different [in our discussion], which obviously led to clashing. At the same time, we all had the same goal: to be able to have a life.” said first-year Sammy Macvilay. “The video was very informative and enjoyable.” Macvilay enjoyed the video more because it gave factual information rather than the opinions of different students or the students’ family members.
She stated that it was also the same stuff our young generation has been hearing for years and claims, “the government does what it wants and nothing really phases them.”
Macvilay heard about this event from her Economics class.
“I wanted to see what it was about, since I’m thinking about majoring in Economics.”
Another first-year, David Greenfield, knew about the event because his teacher told him about it.
“I wanted to go because we get extra credit.” He enjoyed the discussion more because it was more hands-on. “I thought it was an interesting topic to enlighten us on America’s situation,” he answered after asking about the overall impact of the event.
This event allowed students to partake in discussions that will directly affect their future.
Vierling repeated, “Our main goal is to raise awareness and reclaim our American Dream.”