The co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued a preliminary report last week. The report contains their proposed strategies for reducing or eliminating the government deficit. A recent opinion piece from Chris Farrell (for Bloomberg) criticizes the report on the grounds that it gives baby boomers a “free ride.”
Farrell is even unhappy that those baby boomers who have been responsible are getting free ride. For example, the report recommends elimination of the mortgage interest deduction. Farrell laments that boomers won’t be affected because many of us have already paid off our mortgages.
We even take a hit from Farrell for the proposal to increase the gas tax. He thinks we get off easy because we won’t be driving as much when we are older.
Deep down Farrell must believe that boomers who have accumulated significant net worth over years of hard work should now be compelled to disgorge some of it to the government to help reduce the deficit, i.e., redistribute it to others.
Farrell summarizes his rant against boomers with this:
When all is said and done, Boomers may end up shouldering more of the burden to pass a sustainable government to future generations.
If this is really going to happen, it needs to happen with the estate tax, not by extracting our wealth while we need it to live on. I’m no fan of the estate tax but it will be easier for us to minimize its impact compared to fighting off attempts to tax us more while we are alive.
Actually, it’s doubtful that anything substantial will be done in response to this report. Fourteen of the eighteen commission members have to approve the report for it to become “official.” It does not appear that the votes are there. After that, Congress will have to implement the proposed changes, i.e., stop their free spending. Spending is what politicians do to get votes.
I just hope that folks like Farrell don’t get the drums beating louder with a “let’s stick it to the boomers” message.
Here is a link to the complete article: The Debt Commissions Free Ride for Boomers
To read the commission report, go here.