October 15, 2012

NIALL FERGUSON: What Joe Biden Doesn’t Want You To Know.

The reality is that the real distributional issue the country faces is not between percentiles but between generations. As Paul Ryan put it in a powerful peroration, which temporarily silenced the ranting to his right, “A debt crisis is coming. We can’t keep spending and borrowing like this. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have.” Already a staggering $16 trillion, the debt represents nothing less than a vast claim by the generation currently retired or about to retire on their children and grandchildren. . . . What we saw last week was not just a contrast between Irish-American political styles. We saw the opening round in the clash of generations that will soon dominate American politics.

Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. Debt that can’t be repaid, won’t be. Promises that can’t be honored, won’t be.

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