AGE: Generational Fairness
By John Garrett Clawson
What do we mean when we talk about generational fairness?
In AGE, CSA discusses this in terms of a government that maintains a fair safety net for our parents and grandparents. But we also seek to sustain that safety net for our generation, for our children, and for our children’s children.
Current policy isn’t exactly on Millennials’ side. As baby boomers retire, Social Security and Medicare spending will continue to balloon and eat up public dollars that could be spent rebuilding America’s roads, investing in higher education, or create greater opportunities for our generation.
Generational fairness isn’t just about reigning in the costs of entitlements or ensuring their sustainability. In order for Millennials to have access to the same or greater opportunities than the generations before us, federal and state governments and the private sector must come together to finance the repair and maintenance of our infrastructure. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our crumbling system was given a rating of D+, a deplorable score by any standard.
As if the situation wasn’t bleak enough, the United States continues to underfund research and development. In 2013, this important investment comprised only 1.7 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product, a 20-year low. Unfortunately, funds for such critical innovation will continue to dwindle as mandatory spending crowds out other available dollars.
Even if we are able to effectively bring entitlements under control and restore funding to infrastructure projects and R&D, our tax code remains incredibly complex and costs taxpayers and businesses billions dollars and millions of man-hours every year.
To fix the broken system, we must reevaluate tax expenditures and loopholes in order to lower rates, close loopholes, and raise revenue. A simpler, fairer, and revenue-positive tax code will help set our generation on a better footing.
It’s safe to say we have a problem. Young voters from both sides of the aisle are going to have to come together to reform our biggest entitlements to keep them around and create the fiscal space necessary to invest in other critical areas.
Stay tuned next week as we lay out CSA's policy options surrounding Generational Fairness!