According to all of the stereotypes out there today, as a member of America’s youngest generation, I shouldn’t have been watching “Meet the Press” on Sunday when former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan criticized America’s youth, calling my generation “inferior” and claiming that American students don’t “make us look too good” as a future player in the global economic system. Unfortunately for Greenspan, I was watching every second of that segment, as I do every Sunday morning.
The classic American dream is that we will improve upon the country that was left to us by the generation before. For all I know, Greenspan likely shares the vision of leaving behind a better America. However, he, like most members of his generation, continues to kick the stone of blame down the road on nearly every mistake his generation committed.
He fails to mention that his economic policies — which cratered the national economy during the late 80s and resulted in the popping of the dot-com, real estate and credit bubbles — are part of the reason that my generation’s future isn’t brighter.
Granted, compared to the rest of the world, my generation’s math and science scores aren’t where they need to be. I will also admit that students must take responsibility for their own academic advancement. However, students aren’t likely to respond to insults coming from instructors and/or mentors. Students will always have a responsibility to learn, but Greenspan’s generation has a responsibility to coach. In my eyes, both generations have failed to meet their responsibilities.
And as important as test scores are, the math and science scores of Greenspan’s generation didn’t storm the beach at Normandy, nor did those scores lead us to victory in the Cold War. Similarly, my generation’s math and science scores didn’t win the firefight in Fallujah, nor are those scores going to win the Global War on Terror. American determination and resolve brought about those victories and will also result in an American victory over terrorism.
My generation is going to have to pay the bill for the blank checks written during the second half of the 20th century by policymakers like Alan Greenspan. I am fully aware that I am likely to pay into Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and then not receive any benefits later in life.
Greenspan knows that his policies are going to hurt America’s future markets, so he is jockeying to deflect criticism for his policies by blaming me for perceived future failures. Greenspan is predicting America’s decline rather than searching for a solution. He should be trying to help clean up the mess he made rather than taking the broom and dustpan out of the hands of my generation.
Every American hopes to leave behind a better country, but every generation of Americans sees itself as America’s “greatest generation” with accomplishments that will never be surpassed by future generations.
Trust my group of Americans, Greenspan; we won’t let you down. You may think that we weren’t watching your tirade on “Meet the Press,” but we were. Now it’s your turn, sir, to sit back and watch my generation strengthen the American dream and American exceptionalism. Rest assured, I know for a fact that our American dream won’t support calling fellow Americans “inferior.”
Max Lujan is from Round Rock, Texas. He is 21 years old and is currently in his Firstie year at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect the opinions of West Point, the U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense.