Not on our backs.
That's the message a group of teenagers touring the state wants to send about the nation's debt, which they say is being unfairly foisted on their generation.
Members of the Kansas Federation of Teenage Republicans left Wichita today for a six-day trip with stops planned in Liberal, Garden City, Hays, Topeka, Kansas City and Pittsburg.
They kicked off their "It's Breaking Our Backs" tour at a short news conference near the Kansas Department of Labor's unemployment insurance office in Wichita.
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The teenagers, holding red signs emblazoned with the 16-figure national debt, tried to meet right outside the doors of the state building. But a security officer came out and asked them to move across the street.
Wichita City Council member Michael O'Donnell gave them some advice: Hold the signs high.
"Don't look disheveled," he instructed.
Chase Blasi, interim state chairman of the group, said the current administration in Washington, D.C., is passing the "hot potato" of debt from one generation to another.
Blasi said the teens have two other concerns: rising college tuition and high unemployment.
Young people today are expected to "get into debt up to our eyeballs just to get a piece of paper" — a diploma — that may or may not yield a job, he said.
Jace Mills, Cowley County chairman of the group, said young people were initially inspired by the change President Obama spoke of when running for the nation's highest office. Those same teens, he said, are now fed up with what he termed "wasteful spending."
Four teenagers from the group are going on the tour, but Mills said there are "thousands of teenagers who think like we do."
The Sedgwick County chairman and vice chairwoman of the teenage Republican group — Dalton Glasscock and Morgan Anderson, respectively — also are going on the trip.