Kicking the Kid Down the Road

Since "kicking the can down the road" is a cliche, Andrew Biggs proposes a replacement phrase for use when discussing America's federal budget: kicking the kid down the road.

After all, it’s our kids, not cans, who will feel the boot as multiplying debt forces future taxpayers to do even more with even less.

Along these lines, Matt Yglesias cries foul at possible social security cuts that would exempt current beneficiaries (i.e. older folks today) yet cut payouts for future beneficiaries.

You frequently hear of the need to exempt everyone over the age of 55 from any possible cuts. That’s nice for them and encourages them to go right on complaining about out of control spending. But the average 55 year-old will still be alive and collecting benefits in 2035 so the long-term budgetary implications of this “let the geezers keep their full benefits while they whine about how Democrats are bankrupting the country” are actually pretty significant.

As Matt says, we have a large and loud class of older folks calling for fiscal austerity measures — which is good — but the pain should be spread evenly, and certainly not unduly shouldered by the kids and grandkids of today, who, besides, had nothing to do with creating this mess in the first place.

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