WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 14, 2013 - Young Invincibles and National Priorities Project are warning of the devastating impact that looming automatic budget cuts known as sequestration could have on young adults--and the nation's economy for years to come as a result of diminished earning potential of a generation. With college costs rising and the youth labor market in crisis, the two groups' report on the potential for further reductions to investments in the next generation include some key takeaways:
- The federal government cut $1 billion from job training for disadvantaged youth over the past decade. Currently, underfunded training programs reach fewer than 5 percent of the 6.7 million disconnected youth (16- to 24-year-olds who are neither in school nor working).
- Disconnected youth cost taxpayers $93 billion per year in social services and lost tax revenues, but we spend less than $3 billion per year on education and training for this population.
- The federal government currently spends more annually on the war in Afghanistan than on education - even as the U.S. has fallen from 1st to 12th in college educational attainment globally.
- Without a budget deal, sequestration will cost thousands more youth jobs in 2013. Cuts from sequestration could pull around $24 million from AmeriCorps alone in 2013--a program that benefits communities while providing career skills, but already turns down more than 400,000 applications each year due to lack of funding.
"Our generation is up against enormous challenges: youth unemployment already double the national average, rising college costs, and growing student debt, all of which create barriers to economic opportunity," said Rory O'Sullivan, Director of Policy for Young Invincibles. "Despite this fact, the federal government has consistently slashed funding for employment and training services that prepare young people for the 21st century economy, and keep our national workforce competitive. It's a question of priorities. Further disinvestment would have severe consequences for our future."
Mattea Kramer, Research Director at National Priorities Project, noted, "Budgets are about choices. This report makes clear that we are reducing investment in education and training, despite the fact that those kinds of spending return the investment many times over. Policymakers should weigh this carefully as key decisions await them in the weeks ahead."
Upcoming budget negotiations are a chance to realign spending and tax policies and focus on investing in young people-our nation's future.
National Priorities Project (NPP) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that makes our complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to influence how their tax dollars are spent. NPP believes the U.S. federal budget will reflect the values and priorities of a majority of Americans when all people have the opportunity and ability to participate in shaping our nation's budget.
Young Invincibles (YI) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to amplify the voices of young Americans and expand opportunity for our generation. YI engages in education, policy analysis, and advocacy on the issues that matter most to this demographic, including health care, education, and economic opportunity. We work to ensure that the perspectives of young people are heard wherever decisions about our collective future are being made.
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