Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I stand corrected

I have long considered it self-evidently evil for governments to "borrow" money that could only be repaid, in the future, by people too young to have had any say whatsoever in the decision to borrow. "Don't talk to me about taxation without representation," I'd say, "if you support Social Security promises that can only be kept by confiscating money thirty years from now for people who can't vote yet due to not having been, you know, born." But it's always possible that a man is wrong, and when you realize you've been wrong, you have to man up and say so.

And I was wrong, as Frank J. Fleming points out in asking, "What's Wrong with Making Future Generations Pay for Our Debt?" The heart of his argument may be found here:
Rugby, sheep and sex don't mix
Oh, wait, sorry, that wasn't Fleming, that was some folks in New Zealand complaining about various suggestions for how one might show support for the All Blacks (most of whom, despite the name, are not in fact Black, which I find very confusing, but then I'm easily confused). Here is what Fleming has to say:
That leaves only one possible group to pay down the debt: People of the future....The only objection I ever hear to it is that we should feel bad for leaving all this debt to our children and our children’s children. This is also stupid reasoning. Why, you ask?

Because future generations are a bunch of jerks.

Come on; we all know what future generations are like. They’re going to look back at us and say, “Oh, look at those people from 2011 with their backwards morals and primitive scientific knowledge! What a bunch of cavemen!” Yeah, that’s right; they’re going to make fun of us. And while they’re making fun of us, they’ll be playing around with their laser guns and jet packs and robot maids — all of which they’ll completely take for granted. Future generations are a bunch of arrogant, over-privileged punks! I hate them. And I don’t see any reason to feel bad for leaving such awful people tons of debt. Maybe that will wipe those smug smiles off their genetically altered faces.
Some logic simply can't be refuted. I stand humbly corrected. I vote we go for $100 trillion.

HT: I think I got this from an old Taranto piece, though I don't remember which one.

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