« Gilder, the FCC, and the court |
| News of My Death, Reprise »
March 04, 2004
In this essay, I draw parallels between the way Congress treats economists and the way the inquisition treated Galileo.
Imagine that you were invited to a party held at a bar. You show up, and you give $5 to the host. The host welcomes you, slaps you on the back, and asks "What'll you have?" After you give him your order, he heads off in the direction of the bartender. You think that he's going to use your money to pay for your order. But in fact, he is using it to pay for a drink ordered by someone else, who already has been here for an hour. When he orders your drink, the host is going to tell the bartender to "put it on our tab."
And just how big a tab have we run up with Social Security and Medicare? What is the damage? Well, it turns out that the present value of the unfunded deficit in entitlements has been estimated by Jagadeesh Gokhale and Kent Smetters to be $45 trillion. Even if President Kerry or Edwards turned the rich people in the country upside down, emptying their pockets of all their financial assets, homes, cars, and everything else, that still could not cover the tab that Congress has run up on our behalf.
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: economic essays
- RELATED ENTRIES
- test entry
- Taking a Break
- Moore's Law and Military Technology
- Biotech and Sports
- I'll take Ohio
- Email Innovation?
- 99-cent rip-off
- If Brad DeLong called me stupid