Students could teach Congress

Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last week, students at Lakeland High School did something in an hour and a half that Congress has spent years trying to achieve.

In groups of three, the students managed to cut the nation’s $1.27 trillion deficit and balance America’s budget.

It was an impressive task, but it was more interesting to hear the students mull over what departments to cut back and whether or not to raise taxes.

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As an unbiased observer, I sat in a desk and listened to the students as they evaluated their options.

One of the most surprising things about the students’ budget assignment was to see how aggressive 18-year-olds could be in their cuts.

If it were up to most of the students, America would cut all of NASA’s funding, severely downsize Housing and Urban Development, and slash through Medicaid costs.

One student said NASA shouldn’t get funding, because we need to worry about our planet and its well-being before we worry about space.

Several teens wanted to get rid of Housing and Urban Development because they believe too many people take advantage of Section 8 housing — they had a similiar concern about Medicaid.

Obviously, the students had a slightly narrow perception about most of the federal departments and what they handled, but it was still excellent to see how determined they were to meet a goal.

Despite all the challenges that balancing a trillion-dollar budget brings, the students never gave up.

They weren’t afraid of making tough decisions, which is more than what many congressmen can say.

Furthermore, I was surprised to find out the students made a lot of decisions because of social and moral issues.

For example, one group decided to raise the tax for greenhouse gas emissions because they wanted to persuade companies to think green if they weren’t already.

Also, another group decided to raise the alcohol tax in hopes it would dissuade citizens from drinking and perhaps, even lessen the amount of drunken driving incidents.

Maybe these students wouldn’t make for the perfect Congress, but they were motivated and in their hearts wanted to complete their task in order to better the country. I think Congress could learn a thing or two from them.