On April 24, YAL at the University at Albany held a panel featuring two speakers, Alex Portelli, and Greg Kerber. The event was a success despite the university denying our chapter the ability to actually table for it. Word of the event was spread by word of mouth and online advertisement and turn out was around 25 people!
The panel started with each speaker being able to tell their story of how government affected them in their youth and how they became a libertarian. For Portelli, growing up in the city of Albany and being let down by the public school system and eventually becoming a victim of the War on Drugs opened his eyes to the decay and poverty in the city around him.
During his time in prison, he was able to read Atlas Shrugged and other libertarian leaning books which enlightened him to the futility of government. Upon being released and after having worked different jobs in the food industry for his whole life he told of how he opened a restaurant and despite all odds and government regulations designed to make him fail, he succeeded and is now a successful small-business owner at the age of only 24.
Following was Greg Kerber, at 52 he may not be the youngest but he got his start in Washington D.C as a lobbyist where he saw first-hand the corruption and back-room dealings which went on in the government. He became a successful business owner as well in the tech industry and was witness to the oppressive regulations which hurt young business owners and aid large corporations.
Both men spoke of the crippling debt which government imposes on college students through student loans and how a free market solution is the best way to remedy this. They touched on the ways in which programs such as Social Security and Medicaid should be changed so that the burden does not fall on the younger generations and that the current U.S foreign policy serves only to harm the youth while benefiting the older.