This I Believe

Michael - Dallas, Texas
Entered on January 28, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: setbacks

I believe we are an unprincipled society that does not care about the problems we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.

The first problem we are leaving the cost of the current war. Our children will pay for it. None of its cost is covered by our taxes. We are increasing our deficit and leaving it to our children and grandchildren to pay for it later.

The second problem is Social Security. We do not save current surplus of social security collected, but use it to pay current government expenditures. Soon there will be no surplus. Then our children will have to pay extra taxes to cover those government expenditures and raise even more taxes to cover Social Security’s deficit.

The third problem is education. In the future, the most successful countries will be the ones with the best educated people. We continue to rank well below the best educated countries and our grandchildren’s standard of living will be reduced because we do not focus on world class education.

We owe it to our children to take on our responsibility for their future.

We should raise taxes and sell “war bonds” to cover the cost of our war.

We should recognize our increasing lifespan and delay when we start receiving social security. At the time the first social security payment was made, the expected lifespan was 62, so half the population never lived long enough to collect any money. Now life expectancy is more than 75 years, so we can all expect to live more than 10 years collecting money. Moving retirement to 70 and indexing it to expected lifespan in the future would go along way to making the system solvent. And if it doesn’t, we should be prepared to pay more for social security now so we will not be a burden on our grandchildren later.

We should also move our education discussion beyond “no child left behind” because all of our children are being left behind. We should move to deciding how to develop a society with world class education and what is the most cost effective way to do that.

Unfortunately, I do not believe my statement here will be enough to make us change our ways, because it means a burden on us now, but at least my grandchildren will know that I recognized the problem.