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By Amber Loveshe
Millennials are unique in that they are the first generation that has grown up with easily accessible technology. As a result, millennials have a world of knowledge accessible at the touch of a fingertip. Not only has this allowed this generation to foster discussion on large platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, but it has given rise to an increase in political activism and discussion on campus and on line. This can be seen through the growth of many non-profit organizations gaining popularity among millennials such as Students For Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty, and The Network for Enlightened Women. While this spike in political discussion seems promising, vital issues central to most political debates, such as the government’s tax code and fiscal tendencies, are areas in which millennials fall short in their education.
Out of all the organizations millennials are joining, Young Americans for Liberty, the fastest growing pro-liberty youth organization in the country, with over 900 chapters, is leading the charge by educating millennials on something they constantly claim they know nothing about: what’s happening with our tax dollars? On March 13th, 2017, YAL announced their newest activism project, ‘Ax the Tax’, which allows chapters to raise awareness on campus about the nation’s ridiculously lengthy tax code while starting a conversation about wasteful government spending.
Chapters will create life-sized replicas of the tax code — now almost 75,000 pages — on campus and bring a blow up ax provided by YAL to catch the attention of passing students. Once a conversation with a passing student begins, the chapter offers students to test their knowledge about the expansive tax code with an interactive quiz. YAL is even providing tabling supplies that break down common areas of government waste:
For students struggling to afford the hefty costs of college tuition, wasteful government spending cuts into their pockets with a much larger impact. For example, students enrolled in school in the Chicago area will not only be paying income taxes to the federal government this upcoming April, but will also begin paying an extra tax on all soft drink purchases. This newly introduced tax was signed under the guise of promoting public health, though a more promising incentive to accomplish this would simply be removing taxes on a healthy beverage, such as water. When a student at Loyola University Chicago was asked their feelings on the soft drink tax, the student quickly defended it as a heroic act of the government to punish students for purchasing these sugary drinks from their local 7-11. Public responses to policies like these show just how blissfully ignorant the millennial generation can be when discussing taxation and government spending.
By becoming involved in political activism such as the Young Americans for Liberty ‘Ax the Tax’ national activism project, not only will individuals help to educate millennials on an issue they are shockingly ignorant about, but students will walk away with a more critical eye at how the government spends their money.
If we are going to #AxTheTax, we need strong leaders who will help hold our government accountable. Thankfully YAL and others continues to cultivate more leaders every day. Perhaps someone in their organization can be the next Ron Paul setting the record straight that, “Taxation is theft.”