President Obama won the battle over the recent government shutdown and debt ceiling by the "slaughter rule," according to the media and many polls. The media scoreboard would read: Obama: 100, Republicans: 0. However, from my generation's point of view, the scoreboard should read: Obama: 100, young Americans: 0.
Watching the news and hearing Democrats celebrate the past few days has been extremely upsetting, owing to this entire notion of "winning" and "losing." How can a party be celebrating while our country's children and grandchildren are asleep in their beds, unaware of the generational theft taking place? Adults are supposed to be the tooth fairies who sneak into children's rooms and put money under their pillows — not steal their future earnings while they sleep.
My generation has been perpetually squeezed by Washington through high deficits and by politicians continuously putting off tough decisions in the name of political expediency. This last episode has lowered congressional approval to a mere 10 percent. Recent polls show that the vast majority of Americans would like to throw the president and everyone in Congress out of office and start over. One poll showed that cockroaches had a higher approval rating than Congress.
As the politicians and their supporters (who are the parents and grandparents of my generation) continue to kick the can down the road, my generation needs to speak up and declare, "Stop! It's not fair that these cans are piling up in our front yard."
Republicans don't want to raise taxes, and Democrats don't want to cut spending, so in order to pay the nation's bills, the only option left is for Uncle Sam to print money, raise the debt limit and continue to borrow money abroad.
What's another trillion to a generation that is already drowning in debt?
The Democrats who are celebrating this newfound victory should look at their grandchildren and ask themselves, "Did I do everything I could to prevent this avalanche of debt from hitting future generations?" The Tea Party conservatives should not be toasting each other over the great fight they put up. Instead, they should think about President Reagan as they make their toast in the morning and ask themselves whether "80 percent of the loaf is better than nothing" — as their icon used to proclaim. Both parties need to compromise and stop the demagoguery if they are to honor the American tradition of leaving the country better off for the next generation.
The real losers from this ordeal are my generation and future generations who lost big time with this debt-ceiling deal. Why didn't Democrats compromise on the medical device tax and remove the special health insurance subsidies for the political class in Washington? Why did the Republicans pass a continuing resolution without any changes to entitlements and refuse to accept the reality that Obamacare is the law of the land?
In this political climate, where it's all about "winners and losers," the most important scoreboard to look at is the national debt clock. The debt clock shows exactly how much debt the United States is accumulating in real time as we now approach $17 trillion. Every time the clock ticks upward, how can any reasonable politician consider himself a victor? The nation has added more than $6 trillion in new debt during the past five years. With each dollar we borrow, we sacrifice a little bit more of the next generation's liberty.
Democrats and Republicans like to point to elections, polls and public opinion to define victory. I only look at the debt clock. Until it stops ticking upward, we are all losers, especially the youth of this great nation. They are the ones left with multitrillion-dollar deficits that will be mathematically impossible to pay back. As we look to the future, we see only bankruptcy.
Charlie Kirk is founder and executive director of Turning Point USA.