Intergenerational Equity, Unfunded Liability and Selfish Boomers

The newest buzzphrase in the Social Security world is ‘Intergenerational Equity’. It is indeed the theme of the new movie IOUSA (to whose webpage I link) which itself is pretty much a documentary of the Concord Coaltion’s Fiscal Wake Up Tour. (The fact that Concord was founded by Pete Peterson and rights to distribute the IOUSA film are in the hands of the PGPF: Peter G. Peterson Foundation not being a coincidence at all.)

One of EconomistMom’s (who is a/the chief economist at Concord) first posts was entitled The Young People Get It which in turn was plugging the Youth Entitlement Summit 2008 in turn sponsored by Americans for Generational Equity an organization first founded in 2006 and funded by the usual group of conservative foundations.

The idea isn’t new exactly, in Googling around today I found this lengthy article from Sept 2003 that probably explains it better than I can (I have only read the first page so far) Generational equity, generational interdependence, and the framing of the debate over social security reform. But before I turn this one over to a discussion of that let me highlight one thing.

If you go to the IOUSA webpage and look for the first part of the description of the overall issue you find it framed as follows (bolding mine) :

I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. As the Baby Boomer generation prepares to retire, will there even be any Social Security benefits left to collect? Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.

Sure they go on to talk about military spending and foreign debt but the discussion ALWAYS starts and mostly ends with Social Security and equally ALWAYS with a dig at Baby Boomers.

Having run into this particular article I want to post this now as Part 1 and get some discussion going on the overall topic and then return to the theme of ‘Social Security Crisis = Selfish Boomers’ in a latter post. Consider this homework for the would-be well-prepared student. Or contra-wise an episode of ‘Know your enemy’.