Violations Of Youths’ Civil Rights Continue

The federal state and local debts (and liabilities) our politicians have and are continuing to accumulate are an enormous burden estimated to total over $300,000 per citizen. Most of these debts will have to be paid by our younger citizens many of whom will also have personal debts for education, housing and other items. Politicians’ have used debt funds to garner votes from the elders of these young. These elders were scared, mislead and seduced by career politicians into believing that the deficits leading to these debts were necessary. Parents and grandparents were not aware they were devastating their young’s future. This financial raping of our youth (34% of whom are under the age of 25) is the U.S.’s biggest civil rights issue since women’s right to vote. It is time for the public, particularly young parents and younger voting citizens, to express their outrage and demand the truth from our politicians.

For over two centuries we have struggled to meet the Constitution’s human rights principle that all men are created equal. We have made great strides for equality of the sexes, races and religion; however, in recent decades, we have created a new human rights issue: violation of the financial rights of our existing younger citizens. We have saddled these and yet unborn citizens, who are unable to defend themselves, with enormous national, state, and local government debts totaling over 100 trillion dollars and theses numbers are forecast to continue growing.

Who is going to pay these debts? Older citizens, the grandparents of these young citizens, may be able to pay some small amount of their portion of this debt. Middle-aged citizens, the parents of these young citizens, may be able to work longer, lower their standard of living, and pay some of their share, but not all of their portion. Our present young citizens, and those not yet born, will inherit the task of paying these debts that their elders have “willed” to them. This inherited debt burden is a gross violation of our young citizens civil rights.

There is a lot of discussion about what is included and the size of these debts. The numbers often discussed for national, state, and local government debts have relatively small estimate variations. Number estimates for 2010 are $13.5 trillion for the federal debt, $1.1 trillion for all states’ debt, and $1.7 trillion for all local debt. These debts total a $16.3 trillion and are expected to increase by another $2 trillion in 2011 .
A much larger type of debt is seldom discussed. It is called unfunded liabilities or entitlements. In essence, these are debts our national, state, and local governments have made as promises to pay monies today and in the future to its citizens. These liabilities include commitments like governmental employee retirement benefits, Social Security, Medicare, and many others. The number estimates for these debts vary widely depending upon what is included and other assumptions. Let’s look at optimistically low and pessimistically high estimates for these debts. Also, note all these numbers are projected to increase for next few years. The low-high estimates for federal liabilities range from $40.0 trillion to over $112.7 trillion , and for states and local governments liabilities range from $1.0 trillion to over $3.1 trillion.

Adding up the total for both all federal state and local debts and liabilities indicates our governments’ debts range from $57.3 trillion to over $132.1 trillion. Using the average as being slightly optimistic this is $94.7 trillion. Our total debts amount to over $305,000 for every one of our nations’ 310 million citizens.

These numbers may shock both young and old citizens, but our career politicians have known them for years. These debts have been rising since the 1970’s and very rapidly in recent years. Politicians have exploited “we the people” and particularly our young in order to satisfy their need for power and being re-elected. It is time to stop exploiting the rights of our young and hold those responsible accountable. Twenty-five year old or younger citizens constitute 34 percent of our total population . They will owe much more, perhaps twice the amount or $610,000 because they will need to pay some of their elder’s debt. Do our young citizens’ dreams include paying these debts or how these debts will impact their future? Isn’t it time to be honest with them?

Certainly no parents or grandparents planned to trample on the rights of their children and grandchildren. So, how did this happen? How did we get into this mess? Politicians will give you many reasons such as costs for ongoing middle-east wars, tax cuts, entitlements, and businesses or the wealthy are not paying their fair share, among other excuses. Many will point their blame fingers, divide us with wedge issues, distort the facts, and do virtually anything else that will scare, mislead, and/or seduce us into buying whatever they are selling and shedding any personal or party blame. These political claims are distorted or half-truths bordering on lies. For example, the ten-year $1,200 billion costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are less than the estimated $1,500 billion one-year deficit for 2011. Had the Bush tax cut for the “wealthy” been repealed this ten-year tax contribution of $700 billion or about $70 billion per year would be less than five percent of the 2011 deficit. “Obama Care” is yet another costly entitlement. The already high business taxes and regulations are driving U.S. businesses to purchase offshore commodities and labor in order to survive.

If blame is to be placed anywhere it must be on our career politicians who have served themselves without serious consideration of the impacts on all citizens, the nation’s long-term future, and adherence to the Constitution. The fiscal problems we face today have been brewing for years, but fixing them were low on politicians’ priority lists. Politician’s personal need to be re-elected and their political party’s need for power are always politicians’ top priorities. Timely solutions would have been in all citizens and the nation’s best interest. But politicians gain power by waiting until a problem becomes a crisis.

Crises are great opportunities for politicians to use tactics that scare, mislead, and seduce we citizens with the goal of dividing and recruiting us into joining their political party wars. Wars attract press coverage that showcases politicians and party positions. Politicians have been the big winners in this process. Some adults who have been recipients of politicians’ borrowed money largess feel like winners since they have been paid off for their political party war support. Modest losers are the minority of the adults who did not win the war and have to pay more taxes.

By far the biggest losers are our young citizens few of whom can vote. Those that could vote do not because they are not aware of the huge burden being placed upon their shoulders. Violation of the civil rights of over one-third of our population is the greatest civil rights injustice our nation has encountered since adult women got the right to vote in the nineteenth century. One argument used in the immigration discussion about education is: “We are punishing the children for the sins of their fathers and mothers.” Yet “We are punishing all of our children every time we increase our debt liabilities.”

Citizens most affected by these facts should Google information to confirm the presented facts, draw your own conclusions, share this information with young friends, and discuss this information with your elders. A good place to start is to Google the biggest of our debts ”unfunded mandates federal government.” If you are satisfied with the status quo, let it go. Otherwise voice your outrage as others have done when their civil right have been violated. Only you can exert the pressure to protect your civil rights. Throughout the Middle East we have seen the impact that younger citizens can have on a government using peaceful means. Let’s arm ourselves with factual information, stop the political gamesmanship, and focus on both the facts and solutions.

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Dr. Cleland’s Ph.D. is from Purdue University where he specialized in complex systems theory. His technical training and experiences includes analyses of many types of systems, involvement with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, and management of a broad set of set of professionals, services, and trades people. He has managed scientists, engineers, policemen, firefighters, environment, health, safety and emergency planning experts, building trades and maintenance crafts personnel, and others.

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April 2011
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