This is President Obama's scandal week. Benghazi continues. The IRS is targeting "patriots." The DOJ is spying on reporters from the Associated Press. Marines are holding up President Obama's umbrellas.
That last one doesn't even really register on the scandal scale and yet its taking up not-so-precious media airtime. While the IRS and AP scandals are a definite breach of executive power by this administration, they are actually signifiers of bigger issues with the complexity of campaign finance and the new realities of a very different media and terrorism landscape.
There are bigger issues affecting this country, and specifically millennials, that get swept under the rug every time a new issue props up that is a lot more salacious. Joe Miller from The Century Foundation compiled a list of five of these more troubling problems that are not sustaining enough traction in the media.
1. Unemployment and Flawed Austerity
We are still suffering from exceptionally high unemployment that has yet to normalize after the Great Recession. Millennial unemployment increased to a record 13.1% this year compared to the decreasing national average of 7.8%.
Until now many were touting the use of austerity measures as the only responsible policy to balance the budget until the Excel error heard around the world. Sequestration was based on this idea of austerity but as those cuts get further implemented economic problems are only getting more compounded.
Essentially there is no concrete policy strategy on the table that tackles our slowly growing economy and stalled millennial unemployment. Statistics show that the millennials will suffer the reverberating impact of contracted innovation and growth for the rest of their careers.
2. Obamacare is Coming
The Twitter trend of the day #ObamaCareInThreeWords was started by Republicans to further implicate the IRS but it misses the entire point. The health care laws that will be implemented over the next year are still not yet fully analyzed and understood by Congress or those that are going to be affected.
Republicans have already declared war against Obamacare prompting Democrats to go on the offensive. If both parties end up using the Affordable Care Act as political ammunition, millennials might find that the parts of the Act intended for helping the public might end up being further diluted as negotiating or political ploys.
3. Guantanamo Bay Prisoners
Guatanamo Bay is a glaring human rights disaster by the United States in the post 9/11 world. They're being held without trial, force-fed in violation of the Geneva convention, and still not getting any major political figure to support their plights.
Millennials will be dealing with the repercussions of the treatment of these prisoners as we assume control of foreign policy in the coming years. If we are to maintain any authority as a legitimate world leader then the treatment of these prisoners has to reflect the values that we have previously claimed to uphold in other countries.
4. Gun Control
Gun control will be the no-brainer for our kids.
Gun control remains a controversial issue despite endless studies linking gun violence with irresponsible gun ownership and yet politicians are still pandering to their older (read: more-likely-to-donate) constituents than thinking about the importance of future generations.
Millennials need to take ownership of the gun control debate and focus on the public health implications over apocalyptic fear-mongering in a similar way that marriage equality has overwhelmed bigotry.