Tuesday Toast: Laurence Kotlikoff on Politicians and Medicare

Today’s Tuesday Toast goes to Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff for this brilliant insight:

[ … ] So this is just irresponsible behavior on the parts of politicians of both sides who are trying to get the elderly’s vote. When President Bush introduced Medicare Part D, which is prescription drug insurance for the elderly, he didn’t produce an extra $15 trillion, add another $15 trillion to the fiscal gap. He didn’t ask a single old person, including Warren Buffett to pay a penny for this extra form of social insurance. Now I think that older people need to have insurance against very high costs of paying for their medications. But I don’t think that the bills should be left to some poor kids who are being born today or being born in 10 years. And that’s what we are doing. So a lot of people like to portray this as the Right vs. the Left, the poor vs. the rich, but it’s really adults vs. children. The government has engaged for decades, both parties, in take-as-you-go policies, each generation of all people gets to take from the young people and the young people are told, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to take from your kids when you are older.’

Russ: It’s a beautiful social contract.

This comes from last week’s EconTalk episode.


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