I explained why deficit spending isn't inherently bad last week, and one of my favorite economists, Tyler Cowen, points to a great quote on the issue by Zimran at winterspeak.com:

I don't want to hear anyone complaining about the deficit unless they immediately begin to list ways of taking things away from old people and making them work harder and longer. Otherwise you aren't really bothered by the deficit at all.
Zimran says that the costs of Social Security and Medicare (around 100% of GDP) absolutely dwarf our current cash deficit (around 5% of GDP), and these programs annoy me to no end. They're shining examples of how the irresponsibility of one person can enslave another. Last year I wrote a post titled "Responsibility" and said:
People need to take responsibility for themselves. I find it particularly disgusting that our nation's supposedly most mature citizens are doffing the responsibility for their lives by lobbying and cheering for ludicrously expensive government entitlements, the burden of which must be borne by their children and grandchildren. You may be "the greatest generation" to some, but this selfish foolishness highlights a widespread moral and economic failure on your part. You're supposed to be wise, you're supposed to be an example to we who are following after, but instead you wield your political power not to help or guide us, but for your own comfort and enrichment. Shame on you all. Imagine how great a boon you could have been to your families and your country; instead you're becoming a resented burden.
(Read the rest of the post; it's more compassionate than this first paragraph may indicate.)

One of my commenters has accused me of being anti-elderly -- and this could post could certainly give him ammunition -- but that's not it at all. I have the greatest respect for people of any age who are self-sufficient and contribute to society. But by their very nature, these two entitlement programs are not self-sustaining, and they'll eventually go bankrupt. Members of my generation will have to fend for ourselves when we're old, and we'll have to do so after having picked up the tab for our elders.



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