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Is the Real War the ‘War on Children’?

The inimitable Mark Steyn argues in his weekend column posted at Investor’s Business Daily that there is no “war against women.” After devoting more than half of the column to knocking down the progressive argument about a “war on women,” he gets into the “fiscal stuff.” For example:

“A "non-partisan" Pew Research study says the American middle class faces its "worst decade in modern history" — and the first bump down starts on Jan. 1. The equally "non-partisan" Congressional Budget Office now says that the tax and budget changes due to take effect at the beginning of 2013 will put the country back in recession and increase unemployment. This is a revision of their prediction earlier this year that in 2013 the economy would contract by 1.3%. Now they say 2.9%.

“These days, CBO revisions only go one way — down. They're gonna need steeper graph paper. In a global economy, atrophy goes around like syphilis in the Gay Nineties: A moribund U.S. economy further mires Europe, and both slow growth in China, which means fewer orders for resource-rich nations . . . Four wheels spinning in the mud, and none with a firm enough grip to pull the vehicle back on to solid ground.”

He then closes with this stinging analysis:

“Indeed, the bloating of government, of entitlements, of debt, and the growth in obesity track each other pretty closely over the last four decades. If all those debt graphs showing how we've looted our future to bribe the present are too complicated for you, look out the window: We're our own walking (or waddling) metaphor for consumption unmoored from production.

“And, to the Chinese and many others around the world pondering whether America has the self-discipline to get its house in order, a trip to the mall provides its own answer.

“So we can't fight a war in Afghanistan, but we can fight a "war on women" that only exists in upscale liberal feminists' heads. We can't do anything about exploding rates of childhood obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but, if you define "health care" as forcing a Catholic institution to buy $8 contraception for the scions of wealth and privilege, we're right on top of it.

“And above all, we're doing it for the children, if by "doing it" you mean leaving them with a transgenerational bill unknown to human history — or engaging in what Boston University's Larry Kotlikoff, speaking at the International Institute of Public Finance in Dresden last week, called "child fiscal abuse."

“If that sounds a trifle over-heated, how about ... hmm, "legitimate fiscal rape"? No? Then let's call it a "war on children." Unlike the "war on women," it's real.”

Need I say more?

To read more about “fiscal child abuse,” see this October 19, 2011 article by Kotlikoff at Project-Syndicate.” Or, here's Mr. Kotlikoff's August 8, 2012 Bloomberg column in which he writes:

"Republicans and Democrats spent last summer battling how best to save $2.1 trillion over the next decade. They are spending this summer battling how best to not save $2.1 trillion over the next decade.

"In the course of that year, the U.S. government’s fiscal gap -- the true measure of the nation’s indebtedness -- rose by $11 trillion."

And his Forbes August 11, 2012 column where he writes:

"Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for VP shows he’s serious about protecting our children from the ongoing fiscal child abuse that six decades of Republican and Democratic administrations have taken turns practicing."

UPDATE (8/26/12): A year ago on June 30, 2011, we growled about "America's Fiscal War Against Children," and cited one of Mr. Kotlikoff's Bloomberg columns.


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