Last week, former New York Times editor and current columnist Bill Keller did something interesting: He openly blamed Baby Boomers for “entitlement bloat,” asserting that “the traditional liberal alternatives — raise taxes on the well-to-do, cut military spending — are not nearly enough by themselves,” arguing that “at least the Republicans have a plan” about this mess, and pointing out that “the arithmetic simply doesn’t work, unless we face the fact that entitlements are a bargain we can’t afford to keep, not in full.”
Sounds a lot like our August cover story by Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy, “Generational Warfare: Old-age entitlements vs. the safety net.”
Mostly lost in the inevitable how-dare-he backlash was this damning, fact-rich chunk in Keller’s original piece, as summarized from a new report by Third Way, a “centrist Democratic think tank”:
In 1962, we were laying down the foundations of prosperity. About 32 cents of every federal dollar, excluding interest payments, was spent on investments, only 14 percent on entitlements. In the mid-70s the lines crossed. Today we spend less than 15 cents on investment and 46 cents on entitlements. And it gets worse. By 2030, when the last of us boomers have surged onto the Social Security rolls, entitlements will consume 61 cents of every federal dollar, starving our already neglected investment and leaving us, in the words of the study, with “a less-skilled work force, lower rates of job creation, and an infrastructure unfit for a 21st-century economy.”
This is why Democrats are always so quick to change the subject to stuff they couldn’t even build anymore (and in some cases didn’t build in the first place), like the Golden Gate Bridge. Maintaining the illusion of eternal government giveaways has been good for their business, and will continue to be until they (and also-guilty Republicans, meaning most of them) are repudiated, humiliated, and fired.
In related news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently referred to spending-averse conservatives as “the E. coli club.”
I wish this was a bigger issue in the election. I’m tired of hearing about birth certificates, Bain Capital, PACs and all that stuff (almost used a bad word!). I believe the entitlement spending problem, which obviously has to include Obamacare as it is an entitlement program, is the most critical issue facing our country and our economy right now. We need serious politicians proposing serious solutions, and we need the national will to make reforms happen.
Getting off the soapbox now.