We Save Too Much?

Damon Darlin must have been confused when he talked to certain economists:

the national savings rate – the difference between after-tax income and expenditures – is actually negative, government statistics show.

The difference between after-tax income and consumption may be private savings, but it is not national savings if taxes are less than government spending. The first economist that he mentions certainly knows this:

For a middle-income couple, that could mean trading $400,000 in retirement money for about $3,000 a year more during prime working years to spend on education or home improvement. “For a middle-class household, that’s a lot of money,” said Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Yes, the co-author of The Coming Generational Storm:

According to Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, if our government continues on the course it has set, we’ll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability.

As far as the rest of this New York Times piece, I turn the microphone over to Kevin Drum.