Financial Child Abuse

March 16, 2009

Syndicated columnist Mark Steyn published an article last week that says what many conservatives have been saying for years. And yes, we were even saying it when George W. Bush was president.

In the last 40 years, Baby Boomers, with an enabling hand from “the Greatest Generation”, have stuck our children and our grandchildren with a tremendous, almost insurmountable debt, in order to pay for our lifestyle. A lifestyle we wanted but couldn’t afford. So to get it, we borrowed from the future; our children’s future.

We have committed financial child abuse on the young of our country. When did we stop trying to make our children’s lives better than ours and start trying to make our lives better than our children’s?

Does the name Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society ring a bell?

To quote Mark Steyn’s piece: “This is the biggest generational transfer of wealth in the history of the world. If you’re an 18-year-old middle-class hopeychanger, look at the way your parents and grandparents live: It’s not going to be like that for you. You’re going to have a smaller house, and a smaller car – if not a basement flat and a bus ticket. You didn’t get us into this catastrophe. But you’re going to be stuck with the tab, just like the Germans got stuck with paying reparations for the catastrophe of the First World War. True, the Germans were actually in the war, whereas in the current crisis you guys were just goofing around at school, dozing through Diversity Studies and hoping to ace Anger Management class. But tough. That’s the way it goes.”

Jack Furnari

2 Responses to “Financial Child Abuse”

  1. watcat said

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  2. American Confucius said

    Some thoughts: Both parties are guilty of as you say “financial child abuse,” although sometimes its the conservatives who seem more culpable because we’re the ones speaking out of both sides of our mouthes. And I think we need to distinguish between increasing federal debt versus expanding the size of government as the two are not always inextricably intertwined, and perhaps the former is not so anathema to conservative ideals. For instance, Reagan and Bush got us deeper into debt, but much of it was incurred acting on another much espoused conservative principle, that is, robust military defense and offense. I’d argue that debt can be paid back through balanced budgets and surpluses. Ironically it was a democratic president who produced a surplus (albeit at the expense of our military). Government expansion of the welfare state, however, is much less excusable. Redistribution of income on such a mass scale (ie New Deal, Great Society, TARP, Stimulus Package) is not merely bad economics, it stands athwart to the laissez-faire and federalist precepts of our Constitution. Government expansion leads to costly unintended consequences by misaligning incentives and also seems doubly difficult to roll back. It’s essentially the idea that you can live without it if you never had it, but once you have it, you can’t live without it.

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