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Made possible with generous support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
This report would not have been possible without support from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Academy of Social Insurance, the assistance of
Roosevelt Campus Network staff, and the many talented young people who helped analyze Think 2040 data and provide Millennial policy solutions, including:

C)))B P﹐)C﹐)S S)T)

Grayson Cooper, Valerie Chang C)N)N)S
Lead Policy Strategist for Education Mike Stegman
Kirsten Hill, Senior Fellow Andrew Rich Hilary Doe
Jeff Raines Shanti Nayak Kurston Cook
Felicia Afuan Lynn Parramore Reese Neader
Ryan Anderson Morley Winograd Zachary Kolodin
David Weinberger, Mike Hais Tarsi Dunlop
Lead Policy Strategist for Energy and the Environment Pamela Larson
Lydia Bowers, Senior Fellow Virginia Reno
Riley Wyman, Senior Fellow Elizabeth Lamme C)N)F)T
Michael Tracht, Senior Fellow Deric Joyner Amy Baral
Weston Laabs Ben Veghte Cecille Bernstein
Cory Connolly Catalina Ruiz-Healy Asher Hecht
Kelly Steffen Rappaport Family Foundation Aaron Goldstein
Josh Croff Lucy Mayo Rory Silver
Theresa Gasinki John Irons Meg McGillivray
Rocky Cole, Lawrence Mishel Andrew Burne"
Lead Policy Strategist for Defense and Diplomacy Simon Rosenberg Adam Jutha
Caleb Gayle, Senior Fellow Lois Fu Amy Li"leton
Jacob Helberg Bryna Helfer Audrey Henkels
Charlie Piggo" Rebecca Thompson Valiant Lowitz,
Rachel Teco" Michael Moschella Vicki Peng,
Justin Metz Eric Kingson Zach Glasser
Anita Sonawane, Nancy Altman Joshua Judd
Lead Policy Strategist for Economic Development Alex Lawson Erika Solanki,
Katie Tu, Senior Fellow Roger Hickey Amreen Rahman
Chris Esposo, Senior Fellow Karlo Marcelo Athena Myers
Zachary Agush Angela Peoples
Christopher MacDonald Eduardo Garcia The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors
Joe Shure Anne Roosevelt and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the
Rohan Mathew Joe Barrow Roosevelt Institute, its officers, or its directors.
Sara John, Alison Overseth
Lead Policy Strategist for Healthcare Marian Breeze Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
David Silver Sarah Fitz-Randolph Brown
The Roosevelt Institute is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization.
Jake Grumbach Ted Fertig
This volume is available free of charge in print and online.
Erik Singh, Lead Policy Strategist for Equal Justice Ma"ie Hu"on
Joelle Gamble David Merchant
Bhavin Patel, Senior Fellow Neil Proto
Milad Alucozai Manpriya Samra


Hilary Doe and Zachary Kolodin


Made possible with generous support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
3 I﹕.W.W’.U.A..W.W’.D.A.I

4 M

6 .A.V...M.A

8 E

11 E...E

14 T.A.E

18 H.C

21 S.J..D.P

25 D..D

28 N.S

30 C

31 E..C
Millennials are the largest generation in American history, and will constitute 33 percent of the eligible electorate by 2016.1 As we take our first steps into the
“real world” — graduating college, forming our political beliefs, launching our careers, even beginning families — the United States is mired in a deep economic
crisis, forcing all of us to reflect on the future that we will inherit. Amid this culture of political gridlock, young people across the country have joined together
to design a Blueprint for the Millennial America — a vision for the country that reflects our shared priorities and our unique experiences. And we’re taking
action today to start achieving it. We are defining what it means for our nation to flourish and creating the country we want to inherit.

Past generations have made incredible progress — women’s rights, a superpower economy, the Civil Rights movement, and extraordinary advances in tech-
nology. But they have also le( Millennials, young people born between 1980 and 2000, with looming federal debt, historically high wealth disparity, alarming
environmental concerns, unstable foreign relations, years of endless war, suburban sprawl, and underperforming healthcare and education systems. In many
major measures — our commitment to human rights, educational achievement, average income, and life expectancy among others — America is falling behind.2
The challenges facing our generation are arguably greater than those faced by any other in America’s history. Maybe this is why so much has been said
about us on our behalf — debates about whether we are “Generation Me” or “Generation We,” civic-minded or self-involved, functionally illiterate or hyper-
informed, engaged or apathetic, reactionary or progressive. In March 2010, we started a movement — Think 2040 — to express, with our own voices, our
American dream.

Thousands of Millennials nationwide have already contributed to this generational vision. It’s clear that despite being privileged in some ways, we are not a
typical “boom” generation. We feel the current recession. It hurts. We remember the a)acks on September 11th. We feel the effects of skyrocketing college
tuition, with average student debt having reached $24,000 for the Class of 2009.3 We are more underinsured than any other age group, face unemployment
rates above 25 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and are still searching for the return on our educational investments. We are struggling,
but we are optimistic. We are diverse and socially empathetic. We are demanding sweeping change, and acting locally. We are changing the system from the
inside, employing ourselves, thinking long-term, and imagining a more equal, accessible, empowered, and community-minded 2040 America. Meet the
Millennial America.
Photo by Sean Emerson Gordon-Marvin
Claiming to speak on behalf of an entire generation? It’s bold, frankly, and nearly impossible. But to really get a sense of our generation’s values and priorities, we
wanted people to interact with each other in their “natural state,” as they thought about their country’s future. A simple survey would be too discrete and distant.
It wouldn’t allow for creativity, reflect deliberation between competing priorities, or reveal the intricacies in Millennials’ opinions. Knowing this, we dreamed up
the Think 2040 forum — an opportunity for young people to be idealistic, ambitious, and innovative in envisioning America’s future. Then we ranked our values
and priorities and brainstormed how we, as a generation, can achieve our shared vision.


Male 45%
Female 55%
T﹕ 2,123

Hundreds gathered in rooms from Georgia to Illinois to Massachuse)s to tell

us what they wanted America to look like in 2040. We know we didn’t talk to
every Millennial. But the Millennials we spoke to were thoughtful, diverse, and
commi)ed to reshaping America.

Why didn’t we use a traditional survey method? Mainly because we have found that Millennials respond more honestly and are more interested in participating
when they are given agency to speak for themselves rather than given a predetermined list of options. We also wanted Think 2040 to empower young people to
begin taking action on the issues dearest to them, instead of only extracting information from them and analyzing their preferences. Besides, the Roosevelt Insti-
tute Campus Network was founded on the belief that America can benefit tremendously from young people’s unique, innovative, and sometimes groundbreaking
ideas — ideas that couldn’t easily be absorbed through a traditional survey.

So, we designed Think 2040 forums. Each forum began by underscoring the importance of Millennial leadership in tackling the challenges we face: growing
national debt, environmental crisis, and economic instability, among others. We then asked groups to exchange visions for the future, discuss their values, and
agree upon their top priorities for 2040. With their shared vision in mind, we confronted them with the reality of today’s America — through our Think 2040 cur-
riculum — and asked them to begin charting a path forward from where we are to the future we want.

Millennials responded with more gusto than we could have imagined. Roosevelt members took the challenge back to their campuses and designed progressive,
new solutions to address the challenges facing their communities and move us closer to our vision for America.

i. Demographic information available for in-person participants only.


E..F..! .What should the world look like in 2040?

D.V..!..What ma>ers most? What values inform your ideas?

B.P..!..How will we turn vision and values into reality?

D.D..!..Dig into the details - how will the policy play out in the community?

A.P..!..What’s next? How will you advocate for your idea?

The Specifics
During each forum, we brought young people together in groups to discuss elements of their 2040 vision in 15-20 minute blocks (see Figure 3). Then, we exposed
participants to a snapshot of the state of America today. We encouraged them to struggle with the reality of 2010, confront the tradeoffs between their priorities,
consider the barriers to achieving their vision, and ultimately chart the next steps towards achieving their goals. The Think 2040 curriculum used multimedia
to visually represent the state of 2010 America. The curriculum included information on our growing wage /productivity gap, declining union membership, the
recent housing and wealth bubble, rates of high school and college graduation, declining student grant aid, increased health care costs as a portion of federal
spending, lagging health care quality relative to other developed countries, American misconceptions about foreign aid, demographic changes, income inequality,
information on how Americans retire, a snapshot of Social Security assets and beneficiaries, our growing public debt, and a look at America’s energy portfolio.ii

ii. For more information on the Think 2040 curriculum, visit or contact to request a copy.

The Millennial America — uncovered through the visioning phase of Roosevelt’s Think 2040 project (“Phase 1”) — reflects the experiences of the Millennial gen-
eration, the values we hold most dear, and the priorities that emanate from those values. As a result, the Blueprint for the Millennial America is ambitious, pro-
gressive, and wide in scope. We recognize that in order to answer the toughest questions (How can we work within America’s budget constraints? How will we
reconcile the tradeoffs inherent in pursuing our vision?), we must delve deeper and begin working toward our goals — something we will do in the action phase of
Think 2040 (“Phase 2”). However, this Blueprint is a critical first step — portraying the future as Millennials would have it. It paints a picture that uniquely repre-
sents the world Millennials aspire to create: more accessible, more equitable, more community-driven, more entrepreneurial, more inclusive, and be)er prepared
to tackle the long-term challenges our country faces.

When we asked Millennials in our Think 2040 forums which events had most transformed their political perspective and shaped their priorities, we saw a snap-
shot of the Millennial experience. Some of the most frequent answers included the a)acks of September 11, 2001 (16 percent), and above all else, the Great Reces-
sion (41 percent). We are not a boom generation. Our passage into adulthood has been marked by natural disasters, times of economic hardship, and the longest
war fought in U.S. history. And our perspective has been fundamentally shaped by the Internet, which has made us hyper-informed and constantly connected
the events around the world. In fact, the rise of Facebook was the second most common response to the question of which events most shaped the Millennial
generation (28 percent).

The Internet Age has informed the way that we like to be engaged — we prefer forums where we can insert our
own comments, share ideas, and see results. Millennials are inclined to activism, prepared to create the change
they want to see in the world. We experiment with new mediums to create change in the most effective way
possible — leaning heavily on both the growing online community of activists and the age-old neighborhood com-
munication channels to amplify our voices

People don’t typically walk into a room of 60 ready to share their core values. But we felt that digging deeply
to outline the values that underlie Millennial priorities for America would go a long way toward helping us un-
derstand the common threads uniting this diverse generation. We asked participants to begin by brainstorming
priorities for the Millennial America — and then thinking about which values animated that vision.

Out of over 800 Think 2040 participants in our breakout groups, three core values of the Millennial generation
emerged: a deeply held concern for equity, respect for the individual and society, and a belief in community
empowerment and self-determination. Naturally, participants mentioned other important values, which are il-
lustrated throughout the Blueprint for the Millennial America. As policymakers, community organizers, and other
leaders seek to cra( solutions to the problems facing their communities and their country, these should be used
as a benchmark. A concern for equity, respect, and belief in community self-determination will not lead America
to a liberal or conservative outcome. Rather, these values can ensure that no ma)er what ideological perspective
we adopt, we can stay true to the ways in which the Millennial generation seeks to shape their world.

We have developed an ambitious 22-point agenda that encapsulates our vision for C$M$V﹕
America’s future. Millennials want to build an America that continues to be a model B﹒..E
for the world in terms of innovation, productivity, and strength. But that isn’t all: this 8﹒..C.E.
generation wants America to be a moral leader as well. That means building a system &.S-D
that produces more goods while ensuring more equitable outcomes, fights global
warming while still delivering returns to energy companies, and provides a trampo-
line back to stability for its displaced workers while embodying fiscal sustainability. &.S.

The Millennial vision starts with reforming the foundations of our economy and de-
mocracy: the American education system. America must commit serious resources
not only to improving K-12 education in the aggregate, but also to closing the socioeco-
nomic achievement gap. For successful students, the states and federal government
must adequately ensure college access and affordability, even among lower-income
students. The Blueprint proceeds to discuss how we must restructure our economy
to deal with the reality of global warming. The Millennials we spoke to called for the
U.S. to coordinate a global response to climate change that accounts for the most
vulnerable people in both America and the rest of the world. Dealing with the chal-
lenge of climate change represents a remarkable opportunity for Americans to live
more conscientiously: from eating healthy, local food to ge>ing a job building green
infrastructure, the changes necessary to accommodate this unprecedented shi@ can
also make us healthier and more prosperous.

From there, the Blueprint moves to an overview of restructuring the systems that govern our economic life: our healthcare system, our social safety net, and our banking
system. We recommend saving money on our federal healthcare programs by emphasizing a culture of wellness and prevention. Furthermore, by building a social safety net
for the 21st century, we can ensure that displaced workers become taxpaying breadwinners again more quickly, thereby alleviating chronic burdens on the welfare system.
Although Millennials recognize the difficulty of finding a path to fiscal sustainability, we believe that America can get its budget back on track while still working to actively
build the kind of dynamic, well-educated workforce that the 21st century demands.

Finally, the Blueprint calls for improvements in our democracy and our diplomacy. From reducing the influence of money in American politics to developing thriving interna-
tional institutions that can meet global challenges like climate change and genocide, the United States can make bold strides toward preserving its military strength while also
reassuming its place as a moral beacon in the world.

The Millennial Blueprint represents a remarkable collection of priorities shared by the largest-ever generation of Americans. Millennials already vote at higher rates than ear-
lier generations did at a comparable age. The potent combination of this generation’s size and our political involvement ensures that the ideas outlined here will occupy the
center of American political culture for decades to come. The Blueprint also provides powerful insight into the principles Millennials will use as they grow into policy-making
roles. We know that America faces difficult tradeoffs in the coming years, and that compromise is inevitable. The Blueprint offers guidance into how Millennials might deal
with these decisions, while focusing mainly on describing the outcomes we seek. We will delve more deeply into how to turn this Blueprint into reality in the next phase of
our work.

America’s education challenges are not abstract ideas to Millennials. Poor preparation for college, mounting student debt, and rampant underperformance are
our problems — we’ve experienced them firsthand. Millennials see educational a>ainment as the key to opportunity and abundance. We know that an achieve-
ment gap exists between poorer non-white students and more affluent, white Americans. We recognize that in comparison to suburban schools, America’s urban
and rural schools lag behind. We know that the current American system produces unequal opportunities, and we are commi>ed to changing that. In doing so,
however, Millennials do not want American schools to lose their creativity and civic function in order to meet state and national standards. Rather, Millennials
lean strongly toward an innovative mix of federal incentives and local power, creativity, and ingenuity to revitalize American education.

In the Millennial America, first-rate education is the norm, not the exception.

Millennials in Think 2040 forums identified the need to close the socioeconomic achievement gap as their highest prior-
ity in education; 41% percent of Think 2040 breakout groups cited it as their highest priority in education. Leveling the
playing field begins at the earliest stages of American education. Studies have shown that a great kindergarten education
— complete with motivated teachers and a well-researched, rigorous curriculum — can go a long way toward reducing the
socioeconomic disparities in student outcomes. Some studies estimate the monetary return to society for investing in a
quality kindergarten education as high as 16 to 1.4 By providing federally funded and state-regulated pre-kindergarten and
kindergarten education to all American children, we can begin to close the gap and move towards our 2040 vision. More
importantly, early childhood education advances achievement through the rest of a child’s development.

As Millennials enter college, we see firsthand how the American education system has failed to adequately prepare many
students for higher education and participation in a skill-based economy. While we might not know that American students
are ranked 19th in math among developed countries, we’ve almost certainly met talented young people who failed out of
college due to poor preparation — even a(er a history of excellence in high school.5 Millennials want an American K-12 sys-
tem that raises not only high school graduation rates and college enrollment, but college graduation rates — and not just in
districts with high-performing high schools. Millennials want American education to be the best in the world, and envision
a 2040 where the education system serves all students well (41% percent of Think 2040 breakout groups cited it as their
highest priority in education).

America’s education challenges are not abstract ideas to Millennials.

We’ve seen them first-hand.
Millennials believe that any student who aspires to a)end college should have access to the resources to do so; ~17% of
breakout groups volunteered higher education access as a priority. To make this a reality, we must invest in critical resources
for students, including career planning and assistance with financial aid. Qualified students of lower socioeconomic status
o(en choose not to a)end college because they haven’t taken standardized tests, are averse to borrowing money, or feel
intimidated by the sticker price of tuition and the process of applying for financial aid. Even those that do a)end o(en se)le
for a program that is less selective than those they were qualified for, partially because they didn’t apply to multiple schools
whose levels of selectivity were appropriate to their ability. High-achieving students a)ending lower-standing colleges re-
ceive fewer later-life benefits from their schools, and have lower four-year and overall graduation rates.6

To increase college a)endance and improve college/student fit among students of lower socioeconomic status, policymak-
ers must encourage college access programs. One example, the Strive for College Collaborative (,
employs volunteer college students to advise high school juniors and seniors through the college application process.



Reduce disparities among students K-B8.E.O

entering kindergarten; focus on ar-
eas such as vocabulary, basic literacy,
and numeracy. Improve the national high school
graduation rate.
Reduce achievement gaps among the
Raise the percentage of students C.A.
highest performing students.
graduating high school who are &.A
Provide funding to equalize and prepared for a four-year college.
improve available resources & oppor- Raise the percentage of low-income
tunities. Raise the percentage of National students who can successfully qualify
Board Certified Teachers who had for and enroll in two- and four-year
Increase kindergarten enrollment significant college work in the sub- institutions.
nationally, and reduce disparities ject they instruct.
between districts. Raise the number of match schools
Improve post-graduation income and to which low-income status students
Reduce distribution variance of job placement rates for vocational apply.
effective teachers across school program graduates, including those
districts. with only a high school diploma. Lower average student debt burden.

In 2008, Mickey Landry, the Head of School for Lafaye>e Academy — a public Recovery School District (RSD) charter school — told a
conference of Roosevelt members and Tulane students that he was disappointed in the amount of university student involvement at his
school. He felt that university students could serve as great role models for his students. Recognizing the much-needed individualized at-
tention and literacy support that university students could provide, Kirsten Hill, a 2010 alumna of Roosevelt’s Tulane chapter, approached
Mr. Landry a@er his panel and proposed starting a volunteer, university-partnered reading program at his school. “I’m not sure if he really
took me seriously at first, but based on my experience volunteering at another school in New Orleans, I knew the incredible difference
university students could make…and I was determined to bring this opportunity to his school and students,” Kirsten said.

Over the next semester, Kirsten researched university-partnered reading programs with the Tulane chapter and wrote a proposal for Mr. Landry. Her program was ap-
proved that spring, and with Lafaye>e Academy’s volunteer coordinator Lynn Loewy, Kirsten set up the volunteer materials and space for Lafaye>e Academy’s reading
room. In August 2008 the program premiered with 50 university volunteers, serving approximately 150 students. With the help of Ashoka-U and a team of dedicated Tulane
students, the program has developed into an ongoing initiative: Students Improving Literacy Abound (SILA), a community partnership between Tulane students and strug-
gling local elementary schools that places university students with public school students as personal tutors and mentors. The program invokes universities’ duties to the
communities around them, gives university students a stake in the local public education system, and fosters shared ownership over the community’s success.

Since its founding, the size of the Lafaye>e Academy Reading Room has nearly doubled. For her efforts, Kirsten was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative University
(CGIU) and was invited to a>end CGIU’s annual conference in 2008 and 2009. Through a Roosevelt National Education Initiative, Kirsten and other young people are work-
ing to found additional university-public school partnerships and implement similar programs in other public schools across the country. “The power that we, as students,
have to drastically improve our local education systems…is truly incredible. I hope to see many more universities participate in SILA, taking ownership of their communities
and improving … the school experience for public school students,” Kirsten said.

1. “Funding for College Counseling in the U.S.”
by Grayson Cooper, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Funding for college counseling in the U.S. fails to meet the demand for counseling services. The average student-to-counselor ratio is well above the 100:1 ratio
suggested by the National Association of College Admission Counselors , and reaches as high as 1000:1 in high-poverty schools. As every student should have
the opportunity to a)end a four-year university, college counselors are essential in advising students on their options. Students who are overqualified to a)end
the college or university where they enroll — a phenomenon known as “undermatch” — have lower four-year and overall graduation rates. Many students who
“undermatch” did so because they failed to apply for more than one match school. Investing in college counseling and expanding college access programs will
help move us towards our goals for the Millennial America.

2. “Advanced Placement Reform”

by Felicia Afuan, Ryan Anderson, and Jeff Raines, American University
Although students o(en look to Advanced Placement courses as the most rigorous their school has to offer, AP classes frequently fail to adequately prepare
students for a college-level coursework. AP reform would entail increasing AP courses’ rigor and similarity to a college course. This effort would help prepare
students for the expectations of college, rather than simply providing them with the knowledge that will exempt them from a university course. Additionally,
adding elevated scoring categories would also encourage more selective institutions to accept AP exam scores for either credit or placement. Measuring the
effectiveness of AP reform would be established by determining the percentage of students with a given AP grade that eventually earn college credit, and by
looking at these students’ grades in the subsequent college course.

Millennials approach America’s environmental problems with the same set of values that informs their broader vision for America. They feel that environmental
challenges fundamentally alter the texture of their communities, and see these challenges as deeply personal. Millennials in our Think 2040 conversations dis-
cussed their deep respect for our natural environment. In our conversations, it was clear that Millennials support policies that respect the environment, while
also respecting the needs of America’s communities. We should consider the costs of our actions on communities nationwide — from the coal towns of West
Virginia to our blustery coastlines, ripe for wind-energy development.

S.M. S.A..F.F. S..S. A.D.M..
C.C.﹐.. .E.A G.J.S R.E.S.

Millennials rarely saw successful A be>er food system is central to im- Appalled by the record income in- Developing renewable sources of en-
mitigation of climate change as their proving public health, reducing our equality in America10 and the de- ergy was a top priority for many Think
primary objective (~7% mentioned it carbon footprint, and revitalizing lo- moralizing decline of America’s in- 2040 working groups; about 31 per-
without prompting), but when asked cal economies in Millennial America; dustrial sector,11 Millennials imagine a cent volunteered it as a top priority.
about the underlying reasons for ~14 percent identify it as a top pri- labor market in which the most hotly In fact, Millennials in our Think 2040
their priorities, mitigating climate ority. Given Millennials’ core values sought-a@er jobs are in the green sec- forums prioritized the development
change emerged from 24 percent of of equity and community empower- tor; ~24 percent cited creating green and usage of renewable sources of
breakout groups. In addition to pre- ment, their concern for food-system jobs as their top priority among envi- energy above all other environmental
venting or reversing climate change, imbalances and food security is not ronmental solutions. Millennials see the devel-
Millennials also recognize the impor- surprising. They want a future where opment of strong, domestic, renew-
tance of adapting to the potentially all people, regardless of ethnicity, The rise of new forms of manufactur- able energy as essential for the long-
disastrous consequences of climate race, or socioeconomic status, have ing and production represents a new term health of our environment and
change. They agree that all levels of access to healthy, affordable, locally- hope for the Millennial Generation. our economy, and believe that renew-
government must act immediately grown food. In the US today, many This group imagines a middle-class able energy is crucial to maintaining
to implement sustainability policies. inner cities and low-income rural ar- resurgence that will take America national and global security, preserv-
Emissions-reduction frameworks can eas are characterized as “food des- through the 21st century, decreasing ing biodiversity, and promoting long-
decrease greenhouse gas emissions erts” — areas without grocery stores unemployment, promoting long-term term job growth.
and prevent the most devastating and healthy alternatives to fast food. sustainable development, and ensur-
vi. For the purposes of this report, a “green job” is
consequences; coastal cities should Grocery stores follow demand, so ing equitable access to green jobs defined as any job whose mission it is to lower
invest to mitigate the effects of ris- if they can’t be sure an area has the across geographic, racial, ethnic, and an individual’s or a community’s ecological foot-
print, either directly or indirectly.
ing sea levels and severe weather. purchasing power to support their socioeconomic lines. An investment
Through this dual approach, Millen- business, they won’t set up shop. In in the green jobs sector today will
nial America will be prepared for the 2040, the average food item traveled yield a stronger and more sustainable
threats that climate change presents, 1,494 miles to our plates.12 We want America in 2040.
and prepared to stop or reverse its to prioritize local production and
effects moving forward. ensure that everyone has access to v. For Ernst and Young’s Renewable Energy Country
A)ractiveness Indices, please see h)p://www.
healthy food.
iii. For IPCC indicators on infrastructure vulnerabil- able_energy_country_a)ractiveness_indices_
iv. For definition of “at-risk” cities, please see h!p://
ity, please see h!p:// Issue_25/$FILE/Renewable_Energy_Issue_25.pdf

1. “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: The Campground Solution”
by Weston Laabs, Michigan State University13
In response to growing demand from consumers for low-environmental-impact vehicles, automobile manufac-
turers are introducing cars that run primarily — or solely — on ba)ery power. However, before ba)ery-powered
cars can take off, major improvements in the availability of charging stations and/or ba)eries have to be made.
Weston Laabs, a student at Michigan State University, proposed a solution to this problem in Roosevelt’s 2010
10 Ideas for Energy and the Environment. In his memo, Weston proposes using existing campground sites as
charging and ba)ery-swap points — increasing access to the ba)ery power necessary for electric cars to func-
tion outside of high-density areas and short-distance applications. It’s a practical solution, using pre-existing
spaces, with a high profit potential to the electricity providers. If charging stations become more available,
the market and industry to support electric cars will grow, bringing jobs with it.

P.M﹕ R.E
C.C M
A..F﹐ Increasing percentage of
L.F Reduce infrastructural sus- renewable energy source
ceptibility to imminently production and consump-
rising sea levels and inor- tion, as a proportion of GDP. C.G.J

Increase the ratio of lo-

cally grown food consumed dinately severe weather
to industrially grown food conditions, as measured by Improving position of Increasing percentage of
consumed. IPCC indicators for infra- the United States on an labor force employed in a
structure vulnerability to international ranking of green jobs.
Reduce the number of climate variation. renewable-energy indus-
people who live in food tries. Increasing percentage of
deserts. Reduce percentage of cit- graduating high school and
ies identified as being “at Increasing percentage of college students who iden-
Increase the percentage of risk,” particularly coastal the domestic energy port- tify a “green job” as among
people with access to clean cities, which show no sign folio created by renewable their top career choices.
public drinking water. of impending catastrophe energy. Achieving competitive sala-
by 2040. ries in green job sector.
Improve scientific projec- Increasing the percentage
tions of the severity and Induce a steady and sig- of energy that is able to be Increasing the percentage
effects of climate change, nificant annual decline in stored at any given time. of young adults graduating
such as predictions for carbon parts per million in Increasing energy exports, with advanced degrees in
severe flooding. the atmosphere. as a percentage of GDP. science and engineering.


“I feel like so o@en we think that the concerns of people and a concern for the environment are in conflict. It
doesn’t have to be that way,” says Cory Connelly, a recent alumnus of Michigan State University. Like Millenni-
als nationwide, Cory and the other members of Michigan State’s Roosevelt chapter are commi>ed to environ-
mental sustainability. Cory recognizes that the maintenance of natural beauty through the mitigation of climate
change and an emphasis on green jobs might also be an effective tool to combat the economic woes that his
post-industrial state is facing. He has reason to believe this is true—he and the other members of his Roosevelt
chapter at Michigan State University are making it happen.

“I’m pre>y sure that the post-industrial buildings in the Midwest can make it the Silicon Valley of green manufacturing if we decide that’s what we’d like it
to be, ” he says. Recognizing this, he didn’t wait for government or labor to take action. He wrote recommendations for state investments in renewable-
energy usage and increased energy efficiency — beginning with school sites. He tirelessly called and visited Michigan’s State Capitol, touting the ideas and
values he believed could make a difference, and eventually inspired proposals for state legislation that created a revolving loan fund to support renew-
able energy on Michigan school sites. Cory’s work even a>racted national a>ention. His recommendations for renewable-energy policy, wri>en alongside
a group of his peers’ work, were recognized by the White House’s Center for Environmental Quality. The White House invited Cory and his co-authors
to an in-person meeting with White House advisors to discuss America’s energy future. Cory was only 21.

Josh Croff, Kelly Steffen, and Theresa Gasinki are carrying on the Michigan State Roosevelt chapter’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Last
year, Josh and Kelly successfully made the case for Zipcars on campus — implemented by the University — and Theresa designed a bike share program
to cater to the Michigan State campus and surrounding community. It is now being implemented in East Lansing.

2. “Green Buffer Zones”

P$T﹕$ by Lydia Bowers, Mt. Holyoke College
Z$$F$A Because of climate change, oceans are ge)ing warmer and sea levels are rising. As the planet warms,
storm severity will increase, endangering lives and threatening coastal real estate. Currently, federal
Municipalities can use zoning tools to
disaster relief gives funds to the victims of real-estate damage so that they can rebuild in the same loca-
promote grocery store development in
tion. Instead, the United States should adopt policies that offer those at the highest levels of risk the
targeted areas, and to lower the barri-
opportunity to relocate to safer areas through federal disaster-relief funds, as well as government loan
ers to urban farming. Promoting locally
programs and incentives. This decreases the disproportionate effects of climate change on lower-income
grown produce ensures fresh food
individuals by allowing those who previously lacked the resources to relocate to do so. Additionally, any
availability, decreases food’s carbon
vacated land could be used to create “green” buffer zones along the coastline, which protect inland real
footprint, and keeps profits local. estate from extreme storms. Cities can also reclaim abandoned industrial sites or regenerate damaged
wetlands to create buffer zones — and jobs — on their coasts.

The Millennial Generation has experienced the greatest economic turbulence the nation has endured since the 1930s. Young people in our Think 2040 conver-
sations want to ensure that the United States can weather its next economic storm with more resilience than it did the Great Recession. Underlying all other
economic priorities for the Millennial America is an emphasis on encouraging innovation and lowering the barriers to entrepreneurship. The Millennial Genera-
tion’s desire to build an American economy that supports and rewards creativity, ingenuity, and personal determination to succeed drives support for economic
priorities from banking reform to the strengthening of the social safety net. With this in mind, the Millennial Blueprint calls for the responsible reduction of our
federal debt, structural reforms to banking and the social safety net, and an emphasis on economic growth engines such as infrastructure projects. The United
States has a steep road ahead in the next 30 years to ensure that our economy remains strong. Young people are poised to lead us with new ideas and the sweat
required to build our nation’s infrastructure for a flourishing, green, 21st century economy.

The Great Recession has personally and profoundly affected Millennials, altering their perception of risk and inspiring them to learn about the American finan-
cial sector that has been partially responsible for the instability in our economy since 2008. The size of current financial institutions poses a major economic
and political risk. While the size of these banks probably didn’t contribute directly to the financial crisis, their political clout causes instability. The size of the
big banks and the lobbying power they wield has created an extremely close connection between them and the federal government. As such, big banks have
the capacity to influence Congress to pass legislation that is favorable to banks but not in the best interest of the common citizen or the economy as a whole.
The Millennial Blueprint calls for a dramatic restructuring of American banking, such that by 2040, it will be)er serve the purposes of economic stability, pro-
vide credit to fuel the economy, and serve consumers. Specific policies we recommend include limitations on bank size, regulation of the “shadow banking”
industry,vii rating agencies, and the derivatives market, executive-pay reform, and bankruptcy reform that addresses moral hazard.

Although Millennials in our Think 2040 conversations were deeply concerned by the rising tide of federal debt, they are not overwhelmed by these fears.
Millennials themselves understand that debt is a feature of modern life — this is a generation graduating college with more student debt than any other in
history. Indeed, what is a greater issue than an imminent debt crisis is a cost-of-living crisis. Since the 1970s, debt-fueled consumption has driven up quality
of life in America while real median incomes have barely risen (and, in fact, fell during the George W. Bush administration). Neither individual households nor
the federal government can afford to pay for the prototypical American lifestyle any longer. Millennials want to enact sustainable fiscal policy without harming
American households; 31% of breakout groups cited reducing federal debt as their top economic priority.

Health care costs have rapidly outpaced inflation for years, leading to escalating burdens on the federal government due to the rising costs of Medicare and
Medicaid. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the burden on the government increased to include health-insurance subsidies
for lower-income Americans. In fact, the MacArthur Foundation’s Choosing Our Nation’s Fiscal Future report projects that health care-related spending by
the government will grow 207 percent by 2050, in comparison to -7 percent growth on all other non-interest related spending (inflation-adjusted).15 All this is
to say that rising debt levels are unlikely to abate without significant reform. However, we cannot just project the costs of care for the poor and elderly back
onto individual households. Ballooning healthcare costs would break the back of the American middle and working-class even more than ballooning mortgage
payments did during the housing crash. Millennials have no illusions about this: “entitlement reform” alone won’t solve this problem. In our Think 2040 conver-
sations, Millennials argued for a three-pronged solution to reducing the debt burden: reduce health care costs to families, businesses and the government by
continued on page 16
vii. The shadow banking system includes investment products developed by hedge funds and investment banks that are generally opaque and are not highly regulated, including collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)
and structured investment vehicles (SIVs).
Millennials are proud of what America stands for, and despite the current recession, we have benefited enormously
from the remarkable productivity of the American economy. However, many Millennials realize that American’s
infrastructure lags behind 21st century demands — the cost of repairs to essential infrastructure is staggering ($2.2
trillion as of this writing) and that number fails to account for the demands of new 21st century industries (almost
31% of breakout groups mentioned strengthening America’s infrastructure as a priority, without prompting).14 An
ambitious program to build the infrastructure needed to power a 21st century green, information-based economy
can put Americans back to work in 2010, position the U.S. to be a leader in new industries by 2025, and provide the
basis for broader prosperity in 2040. Investments in infrastructure represent an asset to the United States that
should be considered as seriously as our national debt. Without continued focus on maintaining the strength of
these assets, the U.S. could find itself with an “infrastructure deficit” that crushes economic growth.

Although Millennials deeply appreciate the social safety net’s role in helping Americans retire and put food on the
table (38 percent of Think 2040 breakout groups cited strengthening the safety net as their paramount economic
priority), they nevertheless feel disconnected from it. Although the Think 2040 breakout groups prioritized the
safety net when asked about it specifically, very few raised it without any prompting. A@er all, its core programs
were designed prior to 1970. Millennials are coming of age in a very different world from that of FDR and LBJ, the
principal architects of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. However, Millennials are commi>ed to strengthen-
ing existing programs and, as Aaron Cohen from American University put it, building not just a net but a “social safe-
ty trampoline.” America needs a flexible social-insurance program that gets stronger in times of crisis, in contrast to
our current system. In the Great Recession of 2008-2010, spending for welfare programs dried up just as demand
increased. As a result, 82 percent of America’s human-service organizations were forced to cut back on their bud-
gets16 — a measure with dire consequences for the 14.3 percent of Americans that live below the poverty line.17 The
Millennial Blueprint calls for a flexible safety net that can offset the risks of a 21st century economy — one that not
only supports the elderly and poor, but also provides health benefits, retirement security, unemployment benefits,
and retraining opportunities. The safety net in Millennial America will lower barriers to entrepreneurship, enable
workers to rebound in times of need, and combat intergenerational poverty by allowing children the opportunity
to succeed regardless of their family challenges.
developing a culture (continued from page 14) of wellness and prevention (discussed in Blueprint for Health Care); generate additional revenue through the
tax system; and reduce the cost of entitlement programs to the government by restructuring the safety net for a 21st century economy and demography.

1. “Northwest Passage: Improving Rail between Boston and Portland, ME” S$S$
by Zachary Agush and Christopher MacDonald, Wheaton College T$$S$F$S
1. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.
Investments in transportation infrastructure will strengthen the U.S. economy and improve our global com- 2. Separate the types of financial transactions
petitiveness. Increased vehicular traffic and massive highway congestion has led to 4.2 billion lost hours of that any institution can make.
productivity. And while China has invested nearly $300 billion in high-speed rail to tackle transportation 3. Implement regulations of investment banks
akin to restrictions placed on depository banks
inefficiencies, the United States lags behind at only $8 billion in high-speed rail investment. In some areas, and other “shadow banking” institutions.
investments in high-speed rail are of extreme importance. In the New England corridor between Boston, MA 4. Regulate credit rating agencies, which will
and Portland, ME, for example, Maine’s emerging health industry has created huge demand for skilled labor to expand federal government’s power to sue for
travel quickly and easily between the two states. High-speed rail in this corridor could transform transporta- misinformation.
5. Improve derivatives regulation, and create a
tion for the millions of people who commute between suburbs in the Northeast corridor everyday. Addition- derivative exchange overseen by a regulatory
ally, by increasing the efficiency of travel, high-speed rail in the corridor would also increase property values agency.
near stations, and stimulate housing markets in southern Maine, while catalyzing the growth of an economi- 6. Reform the executive-pay structure.
cally important industry.


I R.A.
Ensure personal access to
high-speed internet for Reduce commercial and
every American. S. investment bank leverage
S.S.N ratios.
Reduce average commut- R.F..
ing times to work. H.D Improve median annual Ensure transparency of all
retirement income. financial transactions made
Ensure excellent mobile- Improve median household by publicly traded compa-
communication capability savings rate. Increase average salaries nies.
for every American. of unemployed persons
Reduce ratio of federal returning to work. Ensure that no single
Bring all existing infra- debt to GDP. institution poses an exis-
structure up to date, as Reduce annual percent- tential threat to the global
evaluated by the American Reduce growth in health- age of individuals filing for financial system (“too big
Society of Civil Engineers. care costs. bankruptcy. to fail”).


Perhaps because he came from a long line of small-business owners — mechan-

ics, carpenters, quilters, even dog trainers — Joe Shure recognized the need for
change when he heard the stories of aspiring entrepreneurs unable to succeed.
While working for the Rutgers Daily Targum, Joe and Rohan interviewed dozens
of hardworking people seeking to start businesses of their own, but it seemed
like they all had the same problems: either not enough start-up funding, or too
li>le accounting know-how to get their businesses up and running. “A person
who’s willing to work hard deserves a fair shot at success. When our society
lets race, gender or economic background preclude business ownership, it is
crushing dreams and squandering precious talent. Let’s level the playing field
and make the American Dream a reality,” Joe says.

Joe and Rohan Mathew, members of the Roosevelt chapter at Rutgers Univer-
sity, decided to take action. Believing that entrepreneurship and innovation had
made America great, they wanted to ensure that all New Brunswick residents
had the opportunity to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams. The pair be-
gan to research microfinance options available in the community, interviewed aspiring entrepreneurs to determine what resources and support they
needed, and in 2008, Joe and Rohan became entrepreneurs themselves. They founded the Intersect Fund, a student-run nonprofit organization that
empowers entrepreneurs to start businesses, generate income, build assets, and spark dramatic social change.

To date, the Intersect Fund has served hundreds of entrepreneurs in the New Brunswick area. Joe and Rohan continue to establish partnerships with
community organizations, Rutgers University students, and corporations invested in furthering the positive impact that the Intersect Fund has made so
far. Meet the entrepreneurs at Photo by Nick Romanenko.

2. “The Social Entrepreneurship Solution”

by Erika K. Solanki, University of California, Los Angeles
The 2007-8 financial crisis triggered a credit crunch felt especially by emerging entrepreneurs, who saw investments dry up with few opportunities to access
new capital. Because many job losses cause by the recession are now permanent, restoring full employment a(er the recession will require creating new jobs,
according to a Brookings study. Entrepreneurship will be essential. In order to maximize the benefits of entrepreneurial activity, we must support and encour-
age social entrepreneurship — a form of conscious capitalism that blends social good with the strategies of business professionals. A government program that
helps to seed these socially conscious ventures will provide much more than economic stimulus. Such a program could also become a pillar of American civic
engagement, founded in our values while encouraging our prosperity.
For more information on these policy proposals, see the 2010 edition of 10 Ideas for Economic Development.

When it comes to health care, Millennials are most concerned with access — specifically, equitable access. As the US becomes increasingly suburban, Millen-
nials worry that Americans in rural areas will have to drive extreme distances to get care they need.20 Many in urban areas also lack access to affordable health
care, and must resort to expensive emergency rooms.21 We envision a nation that addresses these systemic inequalities and ensures access to quality care for all.
Specifically, we want to build a culture of wellness in America, keep health costs down for both citizens and government, and ensure that no one lacks care.

When Millennials think about what it takes to build a healthy society, look beyond their doctor. Yes, a strong medical
system will always be a fundamental part of healthy societies, but those we spoke to emphasized a more holistic
vision of a healthy America in 2040: a diet based on healthy local food; a citizenry more fully equipped with knowl-
edge of how to stay healthy; a culture of medicine more oriented toward promoting wellness than treating sickness
(29 percent of breakout groups ephasized wellness as a priority). Millennials envisioned an inclusive definition of
wellness that reaches beyond physical health to incorporate mental and emotional wellbeing. The nation’s shi(
from “sick care” to healthcare will only be accomplished through a prevention-focused system. Michelle Obama’s
“Let’s Move!” campaign is a powerful example of awareness-raising and creating infrastructure that prioritizes pre-

The importance Millennials place on wellness and local food doesn’t mean they can’t see the systemic problems
of the American health care system. When asked to consider what the world ought to look like in 2040, many Mil-
lennials saw high healthcare costs — to individuals, businesses, and the federal government — as a major threat,
and named lowering health care costs a key priority (listed by about 29 percent of breakout groups). One group in
Arkansas summed up the Millennial desire by identifying “a health care system that saves lives and money by focus-
ing preventative care” as a key priority. This emphasis on preventive care reflects Millennials’ general preference to
head off problems before they become crises — a disposition perhaps born out of the instability of the 2000s. Par-
ticipants in Think 2040 forums repeatedly expressed genuine concern that the burdens of the nation’s unsustain-
able healthcare system might hinder the federal government’s ability to continue spending on social programs.
Millennials are not ready to take shortcuts when it comes to their wellbeing, however. Instead, they demand that
our country take steps toward a new health paradigm: healthier food, be)er health education in school, and a cul-
ture of prevention in both society and medicine. Currently, healthcare spending accounts for almost 18 percent of
our GDP.23 The current growth in costs of the U.S. health system is unsustainable. What’s more, our high spending
does not translate into high quality: The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation yet falls below most
other industrialized nations in quality of care and numbers insured.24 Millennials realize the need for a shi( to an
emphasis on prevention in order to drastically reduce spending on costly diseases that require a lifetime of expen-
sive treatment. They are commi)ed to decreasing the financial burden that future generations will inherit.

Insurance coverage for every person in the United States is a lo(y goal, but by 2040 our generation is determined
to achieve it (ensuring quality health insurance for every U.S. citizen was one of the most popular of respondents’
priorities, listed by about 32 percent of breakout groups in the Think 2040 forums). Access to care is crucial for
a well-functioning healthcare system. Currently, 50 million Americans are uninsured.25 Although recent national
healthcare reform took steps to decrease that number, the remaining number of uninsured will be well above
zero. Not only should access to care be granted as a basic human right, insuring everyone also makes economic
sense. Taxpayers foot the bill for uninsured Americans who go to “safety net” hospitals, and, to make up for the low
reimbursement rate hospitals are paid, insurance premiums increase for all. With access to primary care, overall
ER visits and escalation of preventable diseases will decrease, reducing the financial burden to the health system.
Universal access to affordable care is our moral and fiscal responsibility in Millennial America.

by Kurt Anthony, University of Chicago26
The increased incidence of early-onset diabetes and rise in undiagnosed diabetes among America’s children continues to exacer-
bate the country’s public health challenges. To combat this health crisis among America’s youth, we must take action. One strategy
to decrease the prevalence of early-onset diabetes is to implement a(erschool exercise and nutrition programs. In order to reach
the greatest number of young people, schools should house the program, beginning with those schools in high-risk communities
such as low-income areas and disproportionately affected minority populations. As PE classes are increasingly cut due to school
budget constriction, exercise programs — which have the potential to save billions of dollars in increased citizen productivity and
decreased healthcare spending — should become an even higher priority.

by Jake Grumbach, Columbia University27
Since the federal government could not institute a public option in its healthcare reform bill, shi(ing to a local
lens could prove more successful. Why is this so important? It is more cost-effective to enroll everyone than
to leave residents without insurance. Furthermore, small businesses, whose healthcare costs are much higher
than those of large firms, will finally have an affordable healthcare option for their employees, as will young
people and other groups less likely to be insured.

The dualistic employer mandate and access plan model can bring a public option to any metropolitan area, though costs must be tailored to reflect the level of
uninsured residents and the capabilities of the existing healthcare safety net. In this model, enrollees elect a “medical home” to receive primary and preventa-
tive care. Since San Francisco already boasts universal healthcare for children and workers at firms with government contracts, as well as an extensive clinic
system, it would be especially well-suited for this program. Relatively unionized cities like Las Vegas and New York would likely mobilize behind a Healthcare
Security Ordinance as well.

“Coloradoans in rural areas are marginalized by our current healthcare system. My dad’s stories
from evenings working in the Pueblo, CO emergency room confirmed, for me, the importance of
preventative care and frequent checkups. All people deserve access to care. And if the current
system isn’t working, we should update it.” David Silver, a Roosevelt member from the University
is just like many other members of his generation. He grew up using cu>ing-edge technology to
chat with friends, play video games, and watch videos online. Why not utilize it to transform our
healthcare system?

For example, telehealth — the use of technology to monitor patients’ blood pressure, glucose
levels, etc. through an electronic system — has been proven to reduce both the instance and
length of hospitalization among users in rural communities. Unfortunately, the lack of reliable
broadband technology in many rural areas limits opportunities for telehealth options. A much
larger number of people in rural areas have access to television. Recognizing this, David de-
signed a proposal to develop the bandwidth le@ unused a@er the switch to digital television and
use it to provide fast Internet access for rural telehealth programming.

David’s proposal “Using Old TV Bandwidth to Expand Rural Telehealth” was featured in the Roosevelt Campus Network’s 2010 edition of its 10 Ideas for
Healthcare. He is currently in conversations with rural health organizations and state technology organizations in Colorado and California, and the idea
is being considered by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in the State of California.

B..C..W K.C.D

Decrease obesity rates (BMIs) and Decrease the share of GDP

prevalence of co-morbidities expended on healthcare costs.
associated with obesity (heart I.
disease, hypertension, stroke. Decrease the share of healthcare C..A
spending on progressed prevent-
Decrease prevalence of prevent- able diseases, while increasing the Increase percentage of covered
able disease in the most at-risk share spent on early-stage individuals
socioeconomic groups. preventable disease.
Grant all Americans, including
Increase state funding for mental Increase use of generic drug immigrants, access to healthcare
health. options. as a basic human right.

As Millennials survey the state of our nation today, they disapprove of rising inequality and civic disengagement across the country. Despite growing up in the on-
line age, Millennials seem to yearn for stronger, more tightly-knit communities that work be)er for the most disadvantaged in society. We are not surprised. Core
Millennial values like equality of opportunity, respect, and community empowerment play powerful roles as young people examine our democracy, immigration
in America, and distribution of wealth.

By 2040, Millennials seek a more inclusive society that works not only for the middle class and wealthy, but also for lower-income Americans and immigrants.

When asked to identify their top priorities in Social Justice and Democratic Participation, reducing income
inequality and improving socioeconomic conditions were the most popular options, each chosen by about 48
percent of breakout groups in the Think 2040 forums. In order to improve socioeconomic outcomes for the
most disadvantaged, the trend of rising income inequality and the resulting socioeconomic stratification must
be slowed, and the policies encouraging it must be reversed. The trend towards growing income inequality in
the U.S. has intensified sharply in the last 30 years. With our generation’s efforts, we believe that in the next
thirty years we can reverse it. We can start by countering those policy decisions that have contributed to the
problem, such as the decline in the top marginal U.S. tax rate and the reduced role of labor in negotiating
wages. We must also transform the minimum-wage system to create a more equitable standard of social and
economic stability that will meet the demands of living in modern America.

The Millennial generation believes that the impact of money on election results negatively influences Ameri-
can politics; reducing money’s influence was identified as a top priority by approximately 22 percent of break-
out groups in Think 2040 forums. For many Millennials in the Think 2040 forums, the problem with money in
politics comes down to the core value of respect — respect for honesty and for the uninhibited voice of the
people. Successful senatorial campaigns spent an average of $7.3 million in 2008.28 High levels of anonymous
spending by third-party groups, which has increased exponentially since Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission, also stand in stark contrast to our values of fairness and respect. In the 2010 midterm elections,
these third-party groups spent a total of $293 million.29 Reducing the role of money in elections will diversify
the choice of candidates by helping to reduce the literal cost for political candidates to enter the field, creat-
ing a more open, accountable, and democratic electoral system.

“No one deserves [to be homeless] —

especially students forced to pick between a place to sleep and a credit hour.”
- Joelle Gamble, UCLA
Informed by the core value of community empowerment, Millennials aim to increase the
participation of all Americans — especially the traditionally disenfranchised — in U.S. elec-
tions (identified as a priority by approximately 19 percent of breakout groups in the Think
2040 forums). The unfortunate reality is that many Americans today have lost their right
to vote, either in practice or by law. Voters who have been disenfranchised include the
disabled, minorities, low-income Americans, felons, and the homeless. The disabled face
inaccessible entrances at polling places and the prohibition of assistance at the polls. Those
citizens with poor English skills o(en have difficulty registering and voting. Low-income
Americans work full time, o(en at more than one job, have difficulty taking time off to vote,
resulting in underrepresentation. Finally, without a verified address, registering to vote can
be nearly impossible for the homeless. Millennials believe that the right to vote is a funda-
mental tenet of our society. By addressing some of these barriers, in law and in practice, all
citizens will truly have the right to vote in the Millennial America.

Millennials in our Think 2040 forums channeled the deep anxiety that working class America feels about the diminishing possibilities for well paying jobs in
their communities. Young people from across the political spectrum discussed the polarization in their communities around the issue of immigration — which
has roared to life in the American political discourse serving as a bogeyman for the economic instability of the middle and working classes. Demographic
change that leads the US toward becoming a majority-minority country also suffuses policy-making with racial tension.30 However, Millennials in our Think
2040 forums recognize the problems facing their communities run much deeper than an influx of new labor, or a change in the racial demographics of their
high school class. Fighting economic instability with immigration policy does not do justice to the seriousness of the problems facing America’s middle class.
That being said, a functional immigration system undergirds continued economic prosperity and security in America. By 2040, Millennials want an immigra-
tion system that can funnel top talent from around the world into high-skill positions in America, they want an immigration system that binds us together as a
diverse nation — not a system that creates second class citizens without full allegiance to this country, and finally, they want a system that supports immigrants
becoming economic breadwinners for their families and the country (13% of breakout groups volunteered immigration as a top priority, without prompting).

American immigration policy should amplify the positive economic benefits that immigration has for the American economy. We can start with higher educa-
tion. The American higher education system is one of the most globally dominant industries that our country has. We a)ract the brightest minds from across
the world and spend billions in taxpayer money to train them. As the American economy shrinks as a total percentage of global economic growth (due to the
rapid expansion of developing economies in Asia and South America), we need to work harder to retain international students so that they can contribute to
the American economy, not compete against it. Any international student who earns a masters degree or higher in high-priority fields, such as engineering,
health care, or biotechnology, should be offered citizenship.

Finally, we need immigration policy that encourages citizenship in the fullest sense of the word. Denying social services and educational opportunity to any
tax-paying resident of this country creates an insecure class of citizens, who cannot fully enjoy the benefits of the American system. Immigration policy that
consistently creates cleavages between new arrivals and native-born citizens undermines the fabric of our society. Therefore, the Millennial Blueprint calls for
pathways to full citizenship to all US residents, contingent upon rigorous programs in national service and completion of secondary education.
viii. We discuss how to address economic hardship in the Blueprint for Economic Development.



Increase income growth

rate for the 20th
percentile of the American
population, the greater
lower-middle class, and the
working-class segments of
the population.

Reduce the number of E

children living in poverty. M..E &.C.P

Establish a robust Pay for 30 to 50 percent of Standardize and simplify

minimum-wage that rises national elections (presi- voter registration systems I.
every two years and is dential and congressional) in all states for local and P.&.S
indexed to track with with public money. federal elections. These
inflation. systems of voter registra- Increase retention of high-
Full disclosure of campaign tion should be alike from skill foreign talent educat-
Slow but steady increase in contributions for money state to state. ed in the United States.
tax rates for the highest- not taken from the public
income segments of the fund. Provide voting aid to the Increase the percentage of
population, reflective of elderly and those not non-native born resident
rates in place in the 1940s Caps on spending for elec- proficient in English. who become citizens.
and 1950s — the prime era tions by candidates and
of the Great Compression regulations for how much Legislate that citizens can Decrease the percentage
of income equality in the contributors (individuals take sufficient time off of persons entering the
U.S. and firms) can contribute. from work to vote. United States illegally.


“Automatic Registration and Voter Accommodation: Placing the Burden on the State”
by Erik Singh, Denison University
Some political scientists have argued that the act of voting is “irrational” given the costs voters incur. In our
system, each state has its own requirements for voter registration based on time of residency and crime record.
Some states also require individuals to register before voting, rather than automatically enrolling them on voter
eligibility lists. Creating a universal, automatic system of voter registration for all U.S. citizens would fix some
of the inhibiting problems of voter registration by placing the burden of voter registration on the state, rather
than on citizens. Residents in all states should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. Automatic
registration can be accomplished through a universal system that will register Americans to vote based on their
possession of a Social Security Number. This system of voter registration would be automatic from state to state.
Other voting “costs” include the fact that many voting centers do not accommodate the “un-average” voter. Turnout of disabled voters in Los Angeles County
was very low for many years until the large-scale implementation of wheelchair accessibility ramps ensured access. Similarly, states and counties o(en do not
provide materials for non-English speaking voters. Providing equitable access to the polls for all American citizens should be a priority for states in times of
elections. A universal American system that places more responsibilities associated with voting on the states would reduce the individual costs of participat-
ing in our democracy, and would help to increase voter turnout nationwide.

“Because of inadequate financial aid, soaring rent, and the lack of job opportunities in the area, some students
are going hungry. Some are even homeless because they can’t even find housing in the area that’s affordable for
them. No one deserves that — especially students forced to pick between a place to sleep and a credit hour,”
says Joelle Gamble, a junior in the Roosevelt chapter at the University of California-Los Angeles says.

Recognizing this urgent need, Joelle and her peers at UCLA formed a taskforce to design and campaign for so-
lutions to the hunger and homelessness plaguing some of their peers. One of their specific recommendations
outlined the establishment of a 24-7 food closet on campus, run by donations from the community and area busi-
nesses. A@er months of tireless campaigning, UCLA’s Office of Residential Life and Housing & Dining Services
approved the creation of a new food closet on their premises, in order to meet the needs of students who have
li>le means to eat elsewhere. “Although this new solution neither completely eradicates student homelessness
nor addresses all of its adverse effects, it has laid the foundation for more individually-initiated action toward
improving student welfare,” Joelle says.

Today, Joelle and UCLA’s Roosevelt chapter are assessing the urgent housing crisis in Los Angeles, with the goal of creating and maintaining a housing
network to provide temporarily homeless students with a place to stay until they are able to find affordable housing, and, in the long term, plan to work
with UCLA’s student government to secure subsidized short and long term housing for students without affordable housing options within a two hour
drive of campus.

As Millennials, we’ve grown up in a post-Cold War world — a period of history marked by unquestioned American dominance. Our perspective on American
foreign policy has been further defined by the “War on Terror” and an expanding five-front war in the Middle East, East Africa, and South Asia. Initiated as a
unilateral response to the terrorist a)acks of 9/11, the so-called “Long War” has become the longest war fought in U.S. history and is costing trillions in dollars,
thousands of American casualties, and a precipitous loss of global political capital for our country.31 In the Think 2040 forums, Millennials argued that America
must pursue international cooperation to solve the world’s evolving problems, and continue to serve as a leader of the global system. Furthermore, the rise
of genocide in the 20th century has led to a fundamentally different conception of America’s international responsibility: Millennials want the high value we
place on social empathy to be expressed through America’s foreign policy. The wars fought in the 21st century will involve rebuilding failed states and ba)ling
non-state actors fueled by ideological extremism. In the Millennial America, the U.S. will have to work with its allies across the globe to promote sustainable de-
velopment, capacity building, and community ownership, instead of invading and occupying enemy territory. It must use diplomacy and development as weapons
against the poverty that fuels civil conflict and ideological extremism. This requires a bipartisan Grand Strategy to exercise “smart power,” promoting defense,
diplomacy, and development as equal pillars of U.S. foreign policy.


Millennials do not oppose war in all cases. Rather, they oppose war without a clear and defensible purpose. Cur-
rently, Millennials consider U.S. foreign policy reactive, rather than proactive. The development of a Grand Strat-
egy, like the Marshall Plan in the post-War era, would also allow the U.S. to rethink budget priorities, develop
a clearer conception of our nation’s interests, and most importantly, create an agenda reflective of American
interests and concerns. In the past, Grand Strategies consolidated the interest of the American political system
and directed effort toward a unified goal. The Marshall Plan, for instance, was implemented a=er numerous gov-
ernments rescinded their commitments to decimated countries in the wake of World War II; concentrated U.S.
foreign-aid efforts around a unified purpose led to a rebuilt, safer, more interdependent Europe, which had been
wracked by instability for 70 years at that point.ix A new Grand Strategy could reinvigorate U.S. efforts to provide
for greater security, human development, and peace.

In our lifetimes, Millennials have seen the rise of genocides from Kosovo to Rwanda to Sudan. Watching such
extreme injustice has fundamentally altered our worldview, and as a result, Millennials in Think 2040 forums na-
tionwide expressed a resounding commitment to the promotion of human rights. One key strategy for addressing
genocide and promoting global human rights by 2040 will involve empowering international institutions like the
United Nations to undertake greater responsibility with greater latitude of action — and with the support and
cooperation of the United States.

ix. “Featured Document: The Marshall Plan.” National Archives and Records Administration. h)p:// (accessed November 9, 2010).
In the a(ermath of World War II, the United States created a system of global cooperation to promote
human rights, poverty reduction, and conflict resolution. Globally minded Millennials share an over-
whelming belief that it is the moral duty of the United States to reduce global conflict by reinvigo-
rating international institutions. Inequality has many faces. Where citizens are denied the right to
choose the systems, parties, and people that represent them, where there is an unequal distribution
of natural resources (such as water and food), or where economic and social dislocation exist, conflict
is likely to arise. In order to maintain its position of global leadership the U.S. must collaboratively
govern the global commons that shape the potential for conflict. To accomplish our generation’s vision
for America, the United States must continue strengthening the international institutions that provide
legitimacy and promote sustainable development, capacity building, and community ownership. In
this way, the U.S. can help to rebuild failed states, ba)le the non-state actors that fuel global conflict,
and realize the future that Millennials want to inherit.

Millennials in Think 2040 forums consistently envisioned a strong relationship with other nations, as well as a dynamic international trade system. Achieving
these goals requires strong diplomatic ties with powers such as the European Union, China, and India. The relationship between the U.S. and Iran or Syria will
also have far-reaching implications for the stability of the international system, and more specifically, the continued supply of petroleum over the short-term


Improve the U.S. score on the Reduce scores across the Failed
“Commitment to Develop- States Index, which will demon-
ment” Index, which will reflect a P.H.R strate increasing global coopera-
strengthened response to global tion to rebuild failed states and
security challenges. Improve across the board in the improve global security.
Human Development Index, which
Improve our scores across the measures quality of life, for all Improve across the board in the
board in the Environmental Vul- nation-states. Freedom House Index, Press
nerability Index and Environmen- Freedom Index, and Transparency
tal Sustainability Index, which will Recognize property rights and International Index scores for
demonstrate success of a U.S.-led intellectual property rights for nation-states, which will demon-
international approach to defeat- indigenous communities and the strate success of U.S. a>empts
ing climate change and promoting traditionally underserved across to promote democratization and
global sustainability. the globe. liberalization.

“Growing up in France, hearing stories about my grandparents’ survival in Auschwitz, I related at a
pre>y personal level with the suffering of peoples in former European colonies, like Haiti,” Jacob, a
Roosevelt member at George Washington University, said. “All people deserve opportunity—access
to choices for their future. In today’s interconnected world…aspirations are universal. Opportuni-
ties aren’t. And there is a lot that we can do across borders to expand…opportunities in Haiti, while
helping them recover from the historic tragedy of January 12th.”

Jacob leapt into action when the January 2010 earthquake struck Haiti, and developed a model of
community redevelopment based on the Israeli kibbutz model. This Self-Sustainable Micro-Commu-
nity (SMCC) model combines short-term relief with long-term development, meeting Haiti’s urgent
needs while equipping Haitians with the tools and resources necessary to pursue their aspirations
and become competitive in the global economy. This model addresses past challenges that impeded
Haiti’s development by accounting for the interconnectedness of development issues, ensuring the
mushrooming of development at a regional level, and decentralizing overpopulated urban areas. In a framework that guarantees real, measurable Haitian
ownership over the products of cross-border brainstorming and investment, the SSMC stresses two main issues—more, be>er Haitian jobs and increased
access to quality education. By educating, employing, and investing in Haiti’s human capital, SSMC is an instrument to incrementally spread opportunity
to all Haitians through long-lasting foundations of development, with a particular emphasis on traditionally disenfranchised women in the community.

Today, Jacob is working directly with an NGO in Haiti to make his SSMC model a reality and has formed partnerships with universities across the country
to seed academic exchange programs. His efforts have a>racted the a>ention of the French Embassy, the U.S. State Department, and young people
nationwide through Roosevelt’s Defense and Diplomacy policy center. “The joint support brought by the U.S. State Department and the Embassy of
France to the United States throughout this endeavor is a powerful testimony to international as well as inter-generational cooperation in instances of
crisis resolution,” Jacob says.

“Expanding Naval Humanitarian Aid”
by Charlie Piggo", University of Michigan
In 2006, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates initiated a naval humanitarian program, sending hospital ships to ports in Latin America, West Africa, and Asia.
Over 100,000 patients were treated in Latin America from a single ship on a single voyage. The ship program currently costs
$250 million per year; or less than 0.1 percent of the Defense Department’s budget. The DoD has been funding the ship program
through various discretionary funds, with no dedicated source of money for the programs. Providing a formal budget line for naval
humanitarian aid can allow the DoD to expand the successful program and continue to forge partnerships with local governments
and NGOs. Further, humanitarian aid programs improve the reputation of the United States abroad by associating American troops
with peacemaking. Meeting the needs of impoverished citizens in fragile regions of the world also improves global security and can
counter the influence of rogue actors who spread influence by providing social services that local governments cannot.
How will a Blueprint for America transform the country? Simply outlining what Millennials want America to look like won’t make it so. In fact, we — Americans,
young people, and even world leaders — write millions of words every day asserting that things ought to be different, without changing a thing. So how can we
ensure our ideas don’t languish? By effecting local change in our communities and our states right now.

Through our experiences over the last six years, Roosevelt has learned how to effectively create change. We have experimented with different models of
activism, from academic articles to analysis of hot-bu)on national political issues, and we have found that actually designing policy solutions with community
participation is most effective and most representative of our values. We call this grassroots, sleeves-rolled-up approach to policy activism Think Impact. As our
chapters across the country participate in Think Impact, they engage with community members, local nonprofits, and elected officials from school boards to
state legislatures, and write unique policy solutions tailored to the needs of their communities. Roosevelt’s most innovative chapters began projects that later
became models for Think Impact. In 2006, for example, the University of Michigan initiated a chapter-wide project designed to help New Orleans a(er Hur-
ricane Katrina. Chapter members volunteered in New Orleans, interviewed local residents, connected with nonprofits, elected officials, and regional authorities,
and then dra(ed policy ideas to address the challenges and achieve the goals that city residents articulated. Policy recommendations — published in Roosevelt
Relief — included proposals to start teacher communities (modeled on New Orleans jazz communities), re-emphasize tourism, clean up area brownfields, ad-
dress post-hurricane mental-health needs, and ensure the human rights of disaster victims. These ideas did not languish. Due to the extraordinary emphasis that
University of Michigan students placed on building local support, a State House candidate from New Orleans incorporated student ideas into his platform and
worked to implement them in the city.

Through the Think 2040 program, we are scaling up this transformative process nationwide. Think 2040 provides a structure that enables young people to
break down the policymaking process into manageable pieces, enabling them to identify key challenges and key stakeholders, and then design plans of action to
build a team and create change more quickly. We don’t need disasters like Hurricane Katrina to inspire transformative community action — we can start today.
Think 2040 also builds power among the Millennial Generation by aggregating our priorities, articulating our values, stating our goals, and using our influence as
the largest generation in American history to effect major state and national policy change.

Over the course of the next year, we will use Think 2040 Phase I results — the values, issue areas, and priorities outlined in this report — to launch a second phase
of action across the country. Informed by the goals we’ve set for Millennial America, Roosevelt members nationwide will continue organizing in their chapters and,
city by city, create change that moves us towards our 2040 goals. In 2011, we will engage thousands more in Think 2040 forums. We will dynamically incorporate
their voices into our generation’s vision for Millennial America, be>er define our priorities, design concrete policy proposals to create change, and take action
together to achieve the future that we want to inherit.

Get Involved. Contribute Your Vision. Shape Your Future.


By specifying how we will measure the Millennial vision for America, Roosevelt
sought to ensure that we not only stated a general desire for a be>er America
but provided a roadmap for how to get there. We hope that these metrics pro-
vide guidance not only in imagining the Millennial America, but also for stu-
dents across the country in developing their policy ideas.

Taken together, the progress metrics outlining our 2040 priorities constitute
the beginnings of our “Future Preparedness Index”—a set of measureable goals
that encapsulates the Millennial Vision for America.

Check out for more

information on the Future Preparedness Index.

J..R.C S..R.C R..T.89:9.F B..B

1. Check out the website 1. No chapter on campus? 1. Visit 1. Head to

2. Find a chapter on your campus 2. Email 2. Click “Organize Event” 2. Click “Build the Blueprint”
3. Contact us @vivaroosevelt 3. Want tips & support? Email us! 3. Check calendar of events
3. Meet your regional coordinator
4. Meet your regional staff 4. Bring together your campus & 4. Contact Roosevelt
and chapter head 4. Get start-up materials & launch community
5. Change the world
5. Change the world 5. Change the world 5. Change the world

Think 2040 reveals a hopeful Millennial America. An America that tackles our greatest challenges — climate change, educational achievement gaps, federal debt,
international conflict — and proposes ambitious action, progressive solutions, and innovative, collaborative thinking. The Millennial America emphasizes the im-
portance of good ideas, not political divides. It underscores the importance of considering both sides — the people who work in the mines and the people down-
river — and cra(ing entrepreneurial solutions beyond the “right” and “wrong” options characterizing the tone of current debate — solutions that point toward a
brighter, safer, more accessible, affordable, and equal future.

Most encouraging of all, Millennials nationwide recognize that this is only the beginning. Dreaming up a shared vision was challenging, but we know that achieving
a debt-free country that is a leader in innovation, education, human rights, and social safety will be harder still. The challenges didn’t deter Cory, Joe, Kirsten,
Joelle, David, Jacob, or the thousands of other Roosevelt members nationwide who have designed solutions to ensure children get healthcare access, protected
city residents from predatory lending, secured living wages and benefits for local laborers, designed charter school programs to overcome education barriers,
guaranteed college tuition to area public-school graduates, created green walls in airports to reduce the presence of emissions, and founded business incubators
to ease refugees into the Ohio economy. The challenges also haven’t deterred the Think 2040 participants who have commi)ed to working through Phase II of
the Blueprint for America project, in which they will deepen our understanding of the preferences explored here, prioritize our generation’s first steps, and dig
more deeply into the complexities we are sure to find en route to the 2040 we’ve envisioned together.

We can achieve our generational vision for the future. With this shared vision in hand, we are well on our way.

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2. “World Health Report 2000.” World Health Organization. h)p:// 152-204 (Statistical Annex). (accessed March 15, 2010).
3. Student Debt and the Class of 2009. Oakland, CA: Project on Student Debt, Institute for College Access and Success, 2010.
4. “Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40.” HighScope. h)p:// (accessed November 9,
5. “Staying Competitive.” National Math and Science Initiative. h)p:// (accessed November 9, 2010).
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Census Bureau, 2010.
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Photography by Alex Cornell du Houx or from stock, unless where noted.

Special thanks to Sean Emerson Gordon-Marvin and Nick Romanenko for their photographic skill.