The Can Kicks Back, a campaign to reduce the national debt targeted toward young people, set up a tent on Copley lawn and hosted a panel to discuss the debt last Tuesday, Oct. 29. TCKB is a non-partisan “millennial partner” of Fix the Debt, a lobby group that fronts as a grassroots movement devoted to reducing the country’s $17 trillion debt. Co-sponsors of the event—GU College Republicans, Democrats, and GUSA—did not make it clear that Fix the Debt serves as a front group for Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson who has pledged $1 billion to promote budget cuts.
Fix the Debt is also funded by companies whose pro-sequestration agenda mirrors Peterson’s. According to the Public Accountability Initiative, at least 13 steering committee members of Fix the Debt have financial ties to firms that lobby to preserve corporate tax breaks and block taxes increases. By paying a negative tax rate and actually contributing to the federal deficit, many of the firms headed by CEOs that sit on Fix the Debt’s CEO Fiscal Leadership Council benefit from the nation’s status quo.
Publicly petitioning for broad cuts in welfare programs for America’s most vulnerable people, while simultaneously working to evade reasonable regulation and taxation, reveals the council members’ hypocrisy and outright callousness toward America’s poor.
Given the lack of transparency in the structure and goals of Fix the Debt and, by proxy, TCKB, it is of special importance that Georgetown student leadership take a closer and more critical look at the external groups they promote in the future. Had GUCR, GUCD, and GUSA done some research and looked past the glossy, misappropriated rhetoric and symbolism of the group they invited to the Hilltop, they would have found that Fix the Debt’s agenda is undoubtedly anti-student and anti-poor, despite its claims to “promote generational equity.”
The reduced social spending and tax cuts for the wealthy voiced by Fix the Debt and its associated groups are inconsistent with the realities faced by those who depend on welfare programs: the country’s working poor, who are disproportionately women, people of color, and young people. Instead of focusing on promoting policies harmful to America’s most disadvantaged citizens, Hoyas concerned with “generational equity” should take it upon themselves to fight against inequality to ensure that future generations don’t have to resort to the safety net just to get by.