The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Short-Term Decisions Will Hurt Our Children In The Long Run

On March 4th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

We can’t imagine hurting a child. The thought is repulsive and disgraceful. To think that one would inflict pain on one of God’s most special works is an abhorrent thought. We quickly dispense of such a deplorable thought to that black hole in our mind where we put things we don’t want to think about. We would all agree that such a despicable act should be punished in an equally inexplicable manner.

What if, subconsciously, we are hurting our kids’ chances for a great standard of living in the future by our actions today? Is it possible that we are unwittingly putting future generations into a precarious position of having to deal with the ills of America’s management (or lack thereof) of our collective financial well-being?

This isn’t a political statement. Most everybody on both sides of the aisle in Congress agree that the mother ship’s current trek is far from sustainable. As they say on the waterways, we are well outside the navigational beacons, i.e. the buoys. The argument lies in how to fix it – not whether or not something should be done, that’s a given.

Generational theft, if you will, is running rampant in the Social Security system. According to actuaries, young people now entering the workforce will lose 4.2% of their total lifetime wages by participating in Social Security. Using some present value calculations, today’s third graders will get only 75 cents back for every dollar paid in to Social Security – just one more reason to hate the third grade. Imagine the trauma of telling a freckle-faced, toothless Power Ranger Wannabe that for every four quarters that is taken from his piggy bank only three will be given back. Even third graders know that’s a bad deal.

I know we care, but the news gets even worse. While politicians know that there are long-term problems in our current fiscal approach, they make all their decisions for the short-term. Sadly, actions speak louder than words and, as a result, elected officials continue to allow the immediate to trump the important.

Too many low-to-moderate income children who are already stuck in tough situations, such as struggling school districts, inadequate health care, fresh food deserts and a lack of mainstream financial services, will never get a chance to break out of the poverty cycle.

While none of us wants to admit to hurting future generations, the truth is that our continued failure to answer some of the fiscal issues confronting this great country of ours may be doing just that. Failure to be forthright could be doing grievous harm to the country’s long-term growth prospects. Sadly, the greatest casualties would be young Americans. They’ll be responsible for cleaning up the mess left after the party.

The arithmetic is not good. The growing debt burden of today threatens to crush America’s youth in their later years. Sadly, when today’s third graders have third graders of their own, things will be ugly. For the sake of our youth, let’s fix it now.

True enough, none of us would intentionally hurt children. That being the case, it’s time for a change. After all, third graders should have a shot at “they lived happily ever after.”

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