Evan Soltas
Feb 6, 2013

Young, Old, and the Equity Between

I should have posted this earlier, before I responded to Bruenig, but better now than never. My original, much-debated piece in Bloomberg about generational equity:

Insisting on greater generational equity would lessen the incentive for voters to award themselves bigger benefits than they're willing to pay for. That would be progress. What each generation owes the next is a complicated question, though: There's more to it than balancing cash flows.

Every generation inherits institutions, knowledge, technology and private wealth, and with that, you could argue, some obligation to its forebears. Still, young people shouldn't also inherit fiscal obligations so huge as to absorb much of their own effort. Using public borrowing to underwrite a huge transfer of wealth from the young and unborn to the old breaches that basic notion of fairness.