Answering these questions and probably even discussing this idea will be a challenge. To be large enough to solve the problems of looming college debt and structural unemployment, a National Service Corps could cost billions of dollars a year. In the current political environment, arguing for any new or expanded program, especially one as large and important as this one, might be viewed as a risk few politicians are in the mood to take.
We must not allow what amounts to political cowardice to stop us. We cannot accept the United States as a waning world power, simply because we are too myopic to invest in our own future. We cannot accept generations of young people drowning in a sea of debt and underemployment. We cannot accept politicians who distract us with silly—but cool—gimmicks, however well intentioned. It's time to act.
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Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.