Generational Accounting: Knowing Who Pays, and When, for What We Spend

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Free Press, Oct 25, 1993 - Family & Relationships - 288 pages
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Amid the ongoing debate about today's pressing economic problems, far too little attention is being paid to the implications of current economic policies for the future. Laurence J. Kotlikoff shows in this alarming and important book, that if current policies are left unchanged, unborn generations of Americans will pay significantly higher taxes - at least 20% higher - than we do today. Furthermore, according to Kotlikoff, these policies could have devastating effects not only on the next generation but also on the baby boomers themselves, whose economic future is critically dependent on sound management of the Social Security system as we become an older society. In this searing indictment of conventional economic policy, Kotlikoff demonstrates that our nation has lost its direction by sacrificing long-range economic responsibility for short-term budget gimmickry. In Kotlikoff's proposed new fiscal measure, called generational accounting, already widely admired by key figures in government and public finance, he offers an entirely new way of assessing the government's economic actions as they affect current and future generations. By providing a long-needed discipline for economic policies that typically focus on immediate benefits, and ignore the lasting consequences of government behavior, his proposal enables policy makers as well as the public to see who pays, and when, for what the government spends. Senator Bill Bradley, in letters to the Comptroller General of the United States, and to the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, has recommended that the United States adopt generational accounting. Says Bradley, "Generational accounting forces us to confront the futureimplications of current policies in a systematic way, by imposing a longer-term perspective on fiscal policy." Kotlikoff boldly articulates the point that many Americans already intuitively understand: the deficit number usually cited is an arbitrary accounting figure manipulated by p

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Contents

Smoke and Mirrors
1
U S Economic Malaise
37
Blame It on the Deficit
65
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

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About the author (1993)

Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc. His company websites are ESPlanner.com and MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com.

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