On Wednesday, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, The Can Kicks Back and USC EdMonth hosted “Generational Equity: The Impact of the Federal Budget on Young Americans” to discuss the effect of the debt on the millenial generation.
The Can Kicks Back is non-partisan campaign that aims to educate, organize and mobilize young Americans in order to promote a sustainable federal budget that is fair to all generations. The program featured guests Geoffrey Canada, President of the Harlem Children’s Zone and Stanley Druckenmiller, former chairman of Duquesne Capital Management and was moderated by David Belasco, co-director and adjunct professor at Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Nick Triano and Ryan Schoenike, two of the co-founders of The Can Kicks Back also attended the event.
“The reason why we’re stopping here at USC is that we really need to educate [the students] because they’re really not informed about the issue, and why they need to be active in the first place,” Schoenike said.
Druckenmiller is an American hedge fund manager and chairs the board of Harlem’s Children’s Zone. He was also the most charitable man in America in 2009, donating $705 million to various foundations.
Geoffrey Canada is the president and CEO of Harlem’s Children Zone, a nonprofit organization that runs programs that are aimed at breaking the cycle of generational poverty for impoverished children and families in central Harlem. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates from various prestigious universities, including a Doctor of Laws from Princeton and a Doctor of Humane Letters from University of Pennsylvania.
The Can Kicks Back serves as the millennial outreach partner of Fix the Debt, a nonpartisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path. Founded in 2012 by five people. The Can Kicks Back has since grown to more than 100 chapters in 38 states with over 20,000 supporters.
“We’re very excited to do an event [at USC] with both [Druckenmiller and Canada] because they are very passionate about the issue and they can explain the consequences very well,” Schoenike said.
Canada expressed his belief that student education on the debt is important, because he was raising kids through the Harlem Children’s Zone to be productive members of society and couldn’t let them out into a society that was functionally broken because of debt.
Druckenmiller spoke more of his personal background, and of how he went from dropping out of graduate school to making millions of dollars a year, as well as his love for philanthropy.
“I have a talent for compounding money,” Druckenmiller said jokingly. “But the best part of it is seeing it at work.”
Druckenmiller led a presentation about the issues with the national debt, and how spending, especially among entitlements, is predicted to increase in the next few years. Special attention was paid to how spending for the elderly has increased drastically in the past 50 years and is predicted to continue increasing, while spending for children and youth had dropped in the same periods.
Both Druckenmiller and Canada expressed their belief that reforms in both spending and education as well as a mentality shift about entitlements were needed for America to pull itself out of debt. A short Q&A session followed the presentation.
The program maintained a relatively lighthearted feel, with both Druckenmiller and Canada often using humor in their speeches. Many students in the MBA program at the Marshall School of Business attended, as well as professors and teachers from the surrounding area including LMU and UCLA. Karen Symms Gallagher, dean of the USC Rossier School of Education and John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District were also present.
Students were especially impressed by the presenters’ knowledge and experience.
“We got to be exposed to some of the larger contextual problems in our society, such as education and government spending,” said Russell Yue, a freshman majoring in accounting. “I also found it really interesting how people are really devoting their lives to change young people’s lives and foster a better community for the future.”
Tiffanie Chung, a freshman majoring in accounting, agreed that the speakers were fascinating.
“We’re actually really lucky to have [Druckenmiller and Canada] here, and to hear them talk about their experiences and the world is interesting,” she said.
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