Government’s Burden on Young Americans
By Randall Holcombe • Wednesday July 15, 2015 3:09 PM PST •
The Independent Institute’s Love Gov videos offer an amusing look at the raw deal government policies give to America’s youth. In the videos, sometimes government tempts young people into bad deals, such as student loans, and other times it offers them little choice but to take bad deals, as with health insurance. But the videos understate the magnitude of forced transfers from younger Americans to elders.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up 60% of the federal budget, and those programs are transfers from the taxpayers who fund them to recipients. Social Security and Medicare are only for older Americans, and a major share of Medicaid also goes to older Americans. Younger Americans pay the taxes; older Americans get the benefits.
Things are getting worse for young Americans. As Jonathan Gruber noted, it is because of “the stupidity of the American voter” that Obamacare charges artificially higher premiums to younger people so that older people can have lower premiums.
So sure, government tempts young people to take out excessive student loans, to take on home mortgages beyond their abilities to afford them, and do other irresponsible things, but government also forces even the most responsible American youth to sacrifice some of their own well-being to support older Americans.
Government does many things. One is: it systematically plunders American youth for the benefit of older Americans. Is this fair? Ironically, programs that support the old at the expense of the young are more politically popular among the young than the old.