Robert Samuelson is absolutely right in today’s column. The next generation faces an increasing proportion of the Federal budget that goes to pay the expenses of retired workers. We can’t go on like this. These costs amount to a massive barrier to fertility for the next generation:

Our children face a future of rising taxes, squeezed — and perhaps falling — public services, and aging — perhaps deteriorating — public infrastructure (roads, sewers, transit systems). Today’s young workers and children are about to be engulfed by a massive income transfer from young to old that will perversely make it harder for them to afford their own children.

That is, we are signing up to look like Europe. Samuelson continues:

No major candidate of either party proposes to do much about this, even though the facts are well-known.

Spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — three programs that go overwhelmingly to older Americans — already represents more than 40 percent of federal spending. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office projects these programs could equal about 70 percent of the present budget by 2030. Without implausibly large budget deficits, the only way to preserve most other government programs would be huge tax increases (about 40 percent from today’s levels). Avoiding the tax increases would require draconian cuts in other programs (about 60 percent). Workers and young families, not retirees, would bear the brunt of either higher taxes or degraded public services.

I agree with Samuelson. We need to act now to make the necessary corrections. I am a Baby Boomer. I’ve been talking about this, and I must say, planning around these facts for my entire adult life. It’s time to act.

Crossposted at my blog.


  • http://www.zatavu.blogspot.com Troy Camplin, Ph.D.

    These things don’t even compare to what we’re doing to our children in our educational institutions. In elementary, middle, and high school we only teach test-taking skills rather than content (I have personal experience with this), and in our colleges we are increasingly teaching students “learning methods” and no content. We are increasingly moving toward a contentless educational system, meaning nobody will have anything in their heads to think with. Ignorant,they will be able to be convinced of anything. I would love to do something about this problem, but I won’t be hired because of my free market ideology (U have a Ph.D. in the Humanities) and I can’t stomach the corruption that is driving these changes.