No, he's not kidding. "Hear me out," writes Matt Miller in The
Washington Post, before launching into an op-ed likely to strike terror into
the hearts of parents everywhere.
"The distinctive feature of American public life today," declares Miller, "is a shocking disregard for the future." If we want to change that, we need to change politicians' incentives. Simply put: we need to give them a motive to pander to kids, and nothing motivates politicos better than votes. Miller imagines children "like those on my daughter's middle school debate team ... shaming the adults" over the national debt, dilapidated infrastructure, global warming, college debt, unqualified teachers, and more.
"Still," he writes in a self-aware moment,
I know what you're thinking. This is a joke, right? Miller can't seriously be proposing we give fifth-graders an equal say with mature, responsible adults. Let that objection linger in view of the questions above and decide for yourself if the grown-ups really occupy the high ground here.In his final paragraphs, Miller seems to admit that we might only need a movement to lower the voting age to "provide the news hook" to refocus the country--but then he's back to wanting child plaintiffs suing states over their debt as future taxpayers. His conclusion:
It would be nice if the kids didn't have to take up this burden, but we are where we are. To those who say this is all unseemly if not insane, I have four words: Got a better idea?