Another in the series. See part 1 here.
If the politician or reporter says something about “our grand children having to payoff the national debt”, it’s totally bogus. The speaker is either ignorant, foolish or has a hidden agenda they want you to accept. Sometimes they use phases like “saddle our grandchildren with debt” or “mortgage our children’s future”. It’s all hogwash. Future generations do not have “pay off” the national debt. All they need do is pay the interest on the debt. And since the economy is no doubt larger by the time they get here, it’s probably not a problem. The baby boomers, those born from 1946 through 1965, supposedly inherited the huge national debt that was borrowed to pay for World War II. None of those boomers, yours truly included, ever had to pay off that debt. Again, I’ve said it before, but governments are not like households. They don’t have to “pay-off” their debt. Government debt is more like money that pays interest.
The latest example I’ve seen of this error came in today’s New York Times who quoted Senator John McCain:
Senator John McCain of Arizona, one of the older generation, reflected the divide in an interview Thursday on Bloomberg TV.
“I think Eric Cantor is carrying out the mandate of last November, which was to stop mortgaging our children’s futures, while the president keeps talking about spending more money,” he said.