There’s no clearer example of just how wrong the president’s blueprint is than his decision to increase subsidies for electric vehicles like the $41,000 Chevy Volt while ending funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which gives low-income children in the nation’s capital a chance to escape underperforming schools. The White House intends to increase taxpayer-funded subsidies for those who purchase new-technology vehicles to $10,000 per buyer, up from $7,500. Keep in mind that the average income of a Volt buyer is $175,000 per year. That means that middle-class taxpayers are helping the rich buy pricy, politically correct cars.
With his other hand, President Obama is taking from the poor. The DCOSP provides $8,000 vouchers to 1,600 low-income children in the District of Columbia, empowering them to attend a school that they choose. The program has been a stunning success — though it has drawn criticism from the president’s teachers union allies. If the president gets his way, those children will pay the price.
They won’t be the only ones in their generation, though, who will suffer under the president’s budget. From a big picture perspective, the president’s budget rises from $3.8 trillion to $5.8 trillion in 2022. Putting that into context, that means outlays above 22 percent of gross domestic product — more than twice the New Deal’s share of the economy in its peak years. In constant dollars, outlays are more than three times the peak of World War II. With all that spending, someone will have to pay for it. Whose names will be on the bill? Those under 30 — America’s debt-paying generation. Their entire lives will be dominated by paying down today’s mountains of debt. And some of them are waking up to that fact.
“It will be my generation, rather than the retiring baby boomers, that will be paying off the national debt through higher income taxes,” says Amanda Winkler, 24, a Master’s Student at American University. Shaun Rabenius, 26, is a part-time construction worker and student. He says, “I have never followed politics much, except for when I vote. But in looking at the last decade, the presidencies, and the debt they have accumulated, I am scared out of my mind.”
They’re right to be worried. With a Senate that hasn’t passed a budget in well over 1,000 days and a president who seems intent on spending more, not less, without addressing the country’s underlying budgetary crisis, future generations will soon find that the winners today will make them losers tomorrow.