Congress, says Sen. John McCain, is "spending money like a drunken sailor," and you can't help but wish the Arizona Republican were exaggerating.
If anything, it falls short of describing an astonishing profligacy that must be stopped and reversed. How? Here is one way: young voters.
The chief reason Congress is spending the country into deep, dark peril is politics. The hope is that if you throw lots of money out there, votes will bounce back. Thus it was that Congress passed a prescription-drug bill that could cost trillions of dollars over the decades to come. Most of the elderly in this country appear to want this gift, even though most are perfectly capable of taking care of their own drug needs. But Congress gives the elderly what they want because the elderly are disciplined, regular voters, and those who will be crushed by the costs — young adults — are not.
So here's the deal, young adults. If you don't start voting in large numbers and watching out after the interests of you and your children, your future will take place in a low-growth, job-deprived, super-taxed economy in which even those of you who earn very little will be transferring substantial portions of your income to America's wealthiest age group. Because the new drug entitlement goes to all Medicare recipients, some beneficiaries will be millionaires, even billionaires.
Replacing this extravagance with a sensible program would not mean disregarding those in need, whose problems could be addressed at a fraction of the cost.
Perhaps one reason the young have a poor record of showing up at the polls is that they don't think the actions of government matter much to them.
Wrong. Very wrong. Or maybe they don't think they can make much difference. Again, wrong. Very wrong.
If young adults alert to what's best for them and the country were to vote in percentages proportionate to the elderly, they could do a huge favor for everyone. They could make a dangerously reckless Congress sober up.