A group of liberty-minded young Americans known as Tea Party Youth unveiled a new campaign that, among other goals, is working to stop the federal government from foisting more and more debt onto the backs of future generations. Leaders from the organization even called for a constitutional amendment to stop the schemes, blasting the imposition of the ballooning multi-trillion-dollar burden on America’s youth as being tantamount to “taxation without representation.”
Fighting against what the young Americans call “ageism” — apparently referring to government discrimination based on age — the campaign by the youth-oriented activists is being called “AGEnda 8.” While broadly focused on a number of issues impacting youth, federal borrowing and spending policies are among the chief concerns.
According to the AGEnda 8 platform, the non-partisan campaign is founded on several key demands. First of all, Washington, D.C. budget allocations should not “unjustly redistribute wealth from the young to the old,” the group said.
“The federal budget should be limited, the deficit replaced by a surplus, and the surplus used to eliminate the national debt, in order to stop unfairly burdening future generations with debt from prior generations’ spending,” the platform states. “Clauses or amendments should be included or attached, respectively, to every House and Senate bill in order to prevent taxation without representation."
Indeed, the issue of “taxation without representation” is so important to the young Tea Party activists that they believe a constitutional amendment is needed. In essence, it should be used “to prevent the unjust taxation without representation on young people unable to vote on the debt they involuntarily inherit,” the young Tea Partiers’ campaign argues. Politicians in Washington, however, do not appear concerned.
As The New American reported this week, the Obama administration is demanding that Congress raise the debt ceiling once again — adding an even more crushing burden, some $17 trillion and counting, onto the backs of future generations. Before becoming president, however, even Obama recognized the inherent injustice in such machinations. “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren,” he said in 2006. “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
Tea Party Youth leaders also told The New American that they were joining forces on the effort to rein in the disastrous anti-young policies with certain leaders and members of the non-ideological National Youth Rights Association. In comments to The New American, Jeff Buterbaugh, a board member for the NYRA who opposes the ballooning debt burden being foisted on America’s youth, lambasted current policies.
“Our legislators have proven time and time again their unwillingness to protect the future financial interests of younger generations,” Buterbaugh explained. “The government’s current attitude towards spending and debt is a perpetual game of passing the buck in which young people always lose.” Indeed, young Americans and even those not yet born are already facing a crushing debt burden imposed on them by politicians whom they never voted for. And for now, there appears to be no end in sight.
Daniel Oliver, an advisor to the young Tea Partiers who drafted the AGEnda 8 campaign platform, told The New American that other political movements should also “create their own unique youth rights agendas in solidarity with NYRA.” The fact that the young Tea Party activists have “done this before progressives and Democrats absolutely shatters prejudiced portrayals of the Tea Party movement,” Oliver said.
“It's time for young people all across the political spectrum to think of themselves as a unique community of independent individuals, not owned or controlled by partisan or ideological agendas, but united by youth, for youth, with a dream and a destiny to live free and start young,” continued Oliver, a longtime liberty-minded activist who also founded Tea Party Students. “It's time for our generation to lead.”
The National Youth Rights Association, with chapters across the country and over 10,000 members, describes its mission as fighting for the liberties and interests of young people. Its top concerns are primarily the drinking age, the voting age, and curfew rules. Tea Party Youth, meanwhile, which says that the NYRA agenda is compatible with its own focus on “constitutionally limited government,” is largely dedicated to the broader Tea Party’s goals and future, presenting itself as the movement’s “next generation.”
The two organizations may seem to have little in common. Tea Party Youth is often classified as libertarian or conservative. The NYRA, meanwhile, includes members and leaders from across the political spectrum concerned with issues impacting youth, including plenty of self-styled progressives. But when it comes to protecting the rights of young Americans, who have no say in the government policies that affect them or over the perpetually expanding levels of debt imposed by Washington, there appears to be some common ground between the two.
Both organizations are also working to oppose unconstitutional federal machinations used to prod state governments into setting the legal drinking age at 21. The federal mandates and funding schemes purporting to require that states establish a drinking age of 21 “should be repealed,” the AGEnda 8 platform says, adding that policymakers should not set age limits higher than 18.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at
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