You're young and didn't vote. Whom do you think will look out for your interests if it's not you?
In 2014, 55 percent of seniors voted and only 16 percent of you and your friends. Older folks are going to make sure their Medicare and Social Security are intact. Do you think they care about what the world looks like 30 years from now? Do YOU care?
Two big reasons you should:
First, the science about climate change — and that it is caused by humans — is overwhelming. An output of burning fossil fuels is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a well-known greenhouse gas since over one 150 years ago! You will hear lots of climate deniers quote results that show there is no correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature. Be careful of how data sets can be manipulated to show what you want. The temperature increase in oceans drives worse hurricanes. Higher temperatures cause more heat in drier areas, making it even drier. So wild fires are getting worse. There are forecasts predicting agricultural disasters. The resulting famines will make for lots of desperate people. Do you think those seniors or the fossil fuel executives care what happens 20 years out? Currently the Republicans are climate deniers. They are ignorant of science or pretend to be for political expedience. The Democrats understand science and are less likely to be in the pockets of the oil companies. Young people have to understand the issues and vote.
Second, the deficit was exacerbated as a result of the tax cut in 2017. It was "sold" as a cut for the middle class. The biggest savings are going to billionaires. The Republicans also gave a big cut to corporations claiming there will be a "trickle-down" benefit. Instead, 84 percent of the savings went to stock buybacks/dividends. This is great if you own stock.
Young people have trouble keeping a balance in a checking account. Because of these tax cuts for the rich, $1 trillion is added to the deficit. This year we will have to pay $300 billion just in interest on this debt. That's your taxes for the rest of your lives (a 70-year-old is not going to worry about this). Each one of you owes $66,000 to the people who own our national debt. Someday those folks will want their money back. What else? If you take an Economics 101 class, you will learn that interest rates increase. That means mortgage rates go up. Buying a house? Higher interest rates can strengthen the dollar making imports cheaper. Why would anyone make anything in the U.S. if it's cheaper from China? Thus fewer jobs. The Republicans used to be known as fiscally responsible. The bottom line is that transfer of money now to wealthy people is coming out of your pockets for decades to come.
Do you care about your future? Learn about the issues, get involved, get your friends involved and get out there and vote. 2020 is not far away.
Patrick Sullivan is a Portland resident who visited Congressman Kurt Schrader's office in Oregon City last week.
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