My view: What young people want to hear at the debates

By Jake Parent

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 9:59 a.m. MDT

The Millennial generation has thus far heard little from either presidential candidate that would lead us to believe our future is a top priority. Of course, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney still have a chance to change our minds during the upcoming debates. They can do so by providing young people an answer to the most pressing challenge we face — the overwhelming national debt.

At over $16 trillion, the debt is a dark cloud hanging over our generation's hopes and dreams. If we don't immediately change course, our generation will face the prospect of an economy where businesses are too uncertain of their own future to hire us and homes will have interest rates so high we will never be able to afford them.

We've heard both candidates talk about the great concern they have for their children and grandchildren, but neither of them have laid out actual policies that would do anything to substantively reduce the burden young people will face down the road.

The two candidates should take a bold stance at the debate, rejecting partisan bickering in favor of a collaborative approach that leaves all options open. Obama should tell Democrats that they must be open to reforming entitlements and Romney should instruct Republicans that it's time to put revenue increases on the table as well. Attempts to blame the other side are nothing except a refusal to lead; more kicking the can down the road.

Both of the men running for president are strong, smart leaders, and we believe they both want to live up to the sacred American duty of protecting the future. But we can't wait until after the election. The markets are already starting to react to our impending fiscal cliff and the longer we put off this tough conversation, the more painful it is going to be for us all, especially for those of us who plan on being here for a while.

Jake Parent is a co-founder of "The Can Kicks Back ," a non-partisan, Millennial-driven campaign to solve America's fiscal crisis.

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