Today marks the 103rd birthday of President Ronald Reagan -- a champion of young people who truly believed in enacting initiatives that created a bright future for them.
One of the signature pieces of legislation during Reagan’s tenure as president was the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which cut personal income taxes by 25 percent for every American, the largest tax cut in American history.
Once these tax cuts were implemented, youth unemployment plummeted, from 18.8 percent at the beginning of his presidency to 10.7 percent by the end. Reagan believed in economic freedom and the idea that every individual should have the opportunity to prosper if they worked hard.
Compare that to today, with youth unemployment sitting at a high of 16.3 percent with no hope of improvement. Millennials are now realizing employment opportunities after graduating college are slim. Currently six million young people are idle, which means they are neither attending school nor working. Others are living at home, working part-time jobs and barely able to afford their monthly student loan payments. How will this generation be able to prepare for retirement or save to buy a house, or achieve their “American Dream?”
Young people deserve better than the current president and his detrimental economic policies. Young people were some of Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters, but now the reality of their support is burdensome. The promises of free health care and employment after college never came to fruition. The reality is that Reagan’s signature piece of legislation helped young people and led to a long period of economic growth, whereas Obama’s signature legislation, Obamacare, is killing jobs and creating economic hardship for many Americans, especially Millennials.
Obama’s presidency has been one of vast expansion of government programs, contributing a staggering $6.7 trillion to our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt. Young people are the ones who are most affected by the rising national debt and reckless Washington spending since their individual share of the national debt is $54,369.
Reagan believed that Big Government programs were harmful to society, saying, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” If only Obama believed these very wise words to be true, maybe an entitlement nation dependent upon government could have been avoided.
There is hope, however. The latest poll from Young America’s Foundation finds that 48 percent of young Americans believe the government is too big, which shows that they reject the intrusiveness of government in their daily lives. Our recent polls show that the message of limited government, free markets, and pro-freedom solutions resonate with young people — they have seen the harmful effects of overreaching government and are fed up.
Reagan recognized that Washington’s power needed to be limited and controlled, which is vastly different than the viewpoint of the current officeholder, as Obama constantly puts more power in the hands of federal bureaucrats. His policies have created little-to-no opportunity for America’s youth, and just might have Reagan rolling in his grave.
Reagan talked of it being “Morning in America,” with a growing economy and a renewed faith in ourselves and our great nation. Obama has brought a time of mourning to America with economic stagnation and widespread pessimism about the future, with many believing our best days are behind us. On this anniversary of Reagan’s birth, let us renew our commitment to his legacy by advancing the principles of economic freedom, individual liberty and opportunity, so we can exchange our current mourning for a brighter and freer morning.Ashley Pratte is the public relations officer for Young America's Foundation. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.