Robbing the children

Kids are the stars of the holidays. We love buying them toys, games and the latest technological marvels.

During the holidays, our generosity to our children knows no bounds. But when the lights and tinsel are packed away, we allow their little pockets to be picked or we pick them ourselves.

“How can this be? I would never do such a thing!” you say.

Oh, no? You demand (or accept without protest) that the government provide more and more goodies out of a depleted public treasury.

Every government service or perk you demand runs up the debt on a credit card our children and grandchildren will be required to pay.

The present debt of $8 trillion amounts to nearly $26,000 for every man, woman and child. It is estimated to grow another 8.7 percent this year. Are you and your spouse now prepared to cough up the $52,000 necessary to pay off your share? If not, it will be placed onto the backs of your unsuspecting children, with interest.

Before your sons become men and your daughters become women, that debt will increase many times over because our government is growing at an alarming rate.

The week before Christmas, the Congressional Budget Office released an update to its December 2003 “Long-Term Budget Outlook.” The CBO is predicting that by 2030, federal spending on Social Security Medicare and Medicaid will almost double.

Believe it or not, that would be the good news. The CBO’s estimate is far too rosy and is based on unrealistic assumptions, not present budget trends.

Brian Riedl, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation has released a study showing that, on our present course, by 2050, total federal spending will eat up an unsustainable 73 percent of our entire national income.

Just think about that! With the federal government eating its way toward 73 percent of the nation’s economy, there is no way for our children to grow their way out of this disaster. Our children will be taxed to the point where they cannot support themselves and the programs you now take for granted, cannot possibly be there for them when they retire.

Conservative members of Congress have pushed for their colleagues to pass $40 billion dollars in rescissions in entitlement spending in order to partially offset the first round of emergency spending on Hurricane Katrina. It would mean slowing the growth of entitlement spending by less than a half a percentage point over the next five years.

It is a baby step – but an important one – on the road to fiscal responsibility. But alas, alas, Congress adjourned for the Christmas holiday without getting the job done, with bleeding-heart liberals accusing the conservatives of throwing granny out in the street.

Truth is, in most cases, granny is doing just fine. Today’s seniors are more affluent that at any time in our history. And if granny doesn’t have the money to pay for some of her necessities, chances are her middle-age kids have it.

How would granny be affected by these rescissions? If granny is indigent and needs nursing home care, the government will pick up the tab, even if her children have acquired wealth on their own.

However, if granny has a house worth over $500,000 (states can up that amount to $750,000) she would have to use that asset to pay for her care. She would not be able to transfer that house to her middle-age kids, claim poverty and run up the nation’s credit card, adding to the debt that ultimately will be passed on to her grandchildren.

It’s the same with the debt that will pile up from the prescription-drug benefit that recently was added to Medicare. Granny’s drug cost will be less, but whom do you think will be left to pick up this tab?

If granny cannot afford her drugs, they will cost you far less than they will eventually cost your beloved children.

Yes we shower our kids with goodies. Nothing is too good for them, but at the same time, we are robbing them of a successful future.

Do you truly love those kids of yours? Then tear yourself away from watching television long enough to follow this debate. Tell your representatives in Washington to ignore the hyperbole. Pass these rescissions and come up with more. Get the government out of the drug business and reform Social Security and Medicare before it is too late!

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