Was established in the summer of 2009 to promote healthcare reform legislation
Focuses chiefly on the concerns of 18-to-34 year-olds
The Young Invincibles (YI) is an organization that was established in the summer of 2009 to promote the healthcare reform legislation that congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama were seeking to pass. To aid that cause, YI collected and publicized the personal stories of more than 1,200 young people who allegedly had experienced some type of difficulty in obtaining adequate health insurance. The organization's initial pro-reform campaign, titled “Y.I. Want Change,” was launched at a press conference where then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the “dependent-coverage” provision of the proposed healthcare bill, a provision that ultimately would allow some 2 million young adults to be covered by their parents' insurance plans until age 26. By the time YI was one year old, it had grown from a small group operating out of a single law-school cafeteria, into a national organization.
Another of YI's top priorities is its Higher Education campaign, which contends that many young people cannot access “a high-quality affordable education” because of skyrocketing tuition costs coupled with “steep state cuts in our public colleges [and] universities.” The remedy, according to YI, is increased taxpayer funding for tuition-assistance programs.
YI's Jobs & Economy initiative regularly publishes policy reports designed to address the high unemployment rate of 16-to-24-year-olds nationwide. One such report, produced in conjunction with the National Priorities Project in November 2012, denounces America's large expenditures on national defense; vehemently opposes “tax cuts for the wealthy”; and complains that “the federal government has consistently slashed funding for employment and training services that prepare young people for the 21st century economy.”
YI's Entrepreneurship program calls for federal forgiveness of young business owners' student loans; a doubling of the capital available through the federally administered Small Business Association (SBA) micro-loan program; outreach efforts designed to “ensure that intermediaries are not putting up barriers” that prevent young entrepreneurs from “accessing” SBA dollars “due to lack of credit or collateral”; programs to help “young small businesses” more efficiently “procure” federal government funds; and an expansion of “federal incentives for education in entrepreneurship at both secondary and post-secondary levels.”
One of YI's co-founders, Ari Matusiak, is a graduate of Brown University and Georgetown University Law Center. A former fellow on Senator Edward Kennedy's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Matusiak is currently the director of private-sector engagement at the White House, coordinating the Obama Administration’s interaction with the business community.
YI's other co-founder is Aaron Smith, a graduate of Swarthmore College (2004) and Georgetown University Law Center (2010). Smith formerly interned in the office of Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen (Maryland); worked for the DC-based nonprofit group Emmaus Services for the Aging; and (in 2006) served as chief legislative aide for the city council president of his native Yonkers, New York.
Other leading YI officials likewise have ties to leftist organizations and major Democratic Party figures. For instance, State outreach coordinator Jasmine Hicks was selected in 2010 to be an “emerging leader” with the Congressional Black Caucus, where she interned in the Obama White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy. Deputy policy and organizing director Amy Lin served as a development coordinator at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and as a legislative assistant in Senator Edward Kennedy’s Labor Policy Office. Deputy director Jen Mishory was once a law clerk for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Judiciary subcommittee. And Policy and research director Rory O’Sullivan once interned for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.