For the second year, a group of Worcester State students raising awareness about fiscal policy and the national debt has placed in the top 20 of programs nationwide. They will be invited to Washington, D.C. (virtually) to meet with legislators and peers to strengthen a network of young people concerned about the direction of national fiscal concerns.
The team, led by Sophia Palmacci ’20, Amiya Phillips ’22, Charles Bray ’21, Marc-Kendy Paul ’21, and Zach Hazen ’22, raised awareness on campus by hosting events, such as a “Deficit Disco,” and speaking to classes. Increased awareness resulted in pledges collected from WSU students. Student loan debt forgiveness was one issue that drew wide interest.
While the COVID-19 crisis has again brought fiscal and monetary policy directly into the news, there are ways in which increasing national debt could cause an increase in the cost of borrowing for everyone, making mortgages and private business loans more expensive for individuals. This may make it harder to Americans to buy and home and find good paying jobs.
“The pledges were acknowledgements from students agreeing that they think the United States national debt is something we need to shift our attention to,” Palmacci says. “The campaign that the Worcester State team ran placed us in the Top 20 for pledges.”
Last year, that achievement allowed Palmacci to represent the university at the 2019 Up to Us Conference, held June 9-12 in Washington, DC. This year, Marc-Kendy Paul will represent Worcester State.
“The conference was incredible,” Palmacci says. “[It] was jam-packed with amazing speakers and students alike.”
The trip included touring the Politico offices, attending the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit, networking with other conference attendees, and meeting with elected officials on Capitol Hill. At the fiscal summit, students heard speakers such as Nancy Pelosi and Mick Mulvaney talk about fiscal policy and the national debt.
According to calculations based on data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the current trajectory of the federal debt will reduce a four-person family’s income by an average of $2,000 in 2027, rising to $8,000 in 2037, and $16,000 in 2047. That’s money that won’t be spent in the economy, or invested for vital priorities like education and retirement.
By Mark Wagner, Ph.D.