Thousands of American children played hooky from school on March 15 as part of an international protest on global warming. I wish we had thought of that on a sunny Friday morning in the 1970’s.

I’ve never been one for involving kids in politics, but this was an obvious play for organizers seeking to call attention to climate issues. Young people will inherit the planet, and they clearly have a stake greater than those of us now greying at the temples. Point made.

But if U.S. children really wanted to vent about something, it would be the $22 trillion, and growing, federal debt. That bill is going to come due for them a lot sooner than Manhattan island will become submerged by water, no matter what Al Gore says.

We’re soon approaching the point where perennial interest on the federal debt — and we’re not even counting unfunded liabilities on social security and Medicare in the total — will surpass the entire annual military budget. Think about that. And when interest rates return to normal historical levels, we’re in an even deeper hole.

What’s even more frightening, though, is that the capital markets our children and grandchildren will need to finance college, business, and mortgage loans will be exhausted by government borrowing in the years ahead. In other words, our progeny won’t have money available to open businesses or buy homes; government borrowing will have sucked it all up. That’s a crisis that could bring America to its knees.

Children are supposed to be shielded from at least some of this world’s madnesses, but I don’t think that’s why we aren’t telling them about the debt. We’re not telling them about the debt because we can’t look them in the eye.

Get those signs ready, kiddos. It’s time to shame your moms and dads.