Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stealing From our Children

Many politicians, especially members of the Democratic Party, like to equate cutting tax rates with stealing money from our children.

Writing today at RCP, Robert Samuelson projects the cost and size of our current Federal commitment to retirees.
Consider the outlook. From 2005 to 2030, the 65-and-over population will nearly double to 71 million; its share of the population will rise to 20 percent from 12 percent. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- programs that serve older people -- already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget, projects the Congressional Budget Office.

Mr. Samuelson also asks some very good questions:
Little wonder politicians stay silent. But think tanks ought to be thrilled, because these changes pose basic questions about government. What should it do? For whom? Why? How big can it grow without weakening the economy? Does that matter? Is social justice more important than economic growth? Do gains in life expectancy and the well-being of the elderly justify significant changes in Social Security and Medicare?

Social Security, Medicare, and even Medicare prescription benefits, are all well intentioned programs of a benevolent Federal government. The only problem with the plan is the source of the benevolence. Most of the retirement benefits in 2030 prescribed by our Federal government will be paid by workers who aren’t even old enough to vote today and many of the benefits will be paid by workers who aren’t even born yet.

Mandating benefits that are paid by non-voters is clearly taxation without representation. But even worse, mandating benefits to be paid in 2030 and beyond really is stealing from our children. If politicians were truly concerned about our children, they would stop this Ponzi scheme immediately. I’m not holding my breath, though.

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