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Conscripts in a Ponzi Scheme


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American Spectator:

The spit turns slowly over the Social Security roasting fire but there is no whimpering from the children being cooked. Yet.
Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal (one of English literature's great satires) for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or their country, and for making them beneficial to the public was: to eat them.

Our problem is almost precisely the reverse. We have too much food, as Mrs. Obama reminds us, and we have too few children: too few to guard the gates of Western civilization, too few to pay the bills coming due for the welfare state, primarily for Social Security and Medicare.

What to do? Two facts deserve our preliminary attention.

One. In the 2004 presidential election (a more typical election than the 2008 election) only 17 percent of the 18 to 29 year olds voted, meaning 83 percent didn't bother to vote. That's called potential.

Two: The youngest voters haven't, recently, seemed to care much about even issues that directly affect them. When was the last time you heard about a student movement? Why is it, for example, that young people don't lobby and vote to make the drinking age 18, which it was in many places until 1984? Perhaps buying alcohol with a fake ID out the back door stimulates sophistication, but it tends to stultify the exercise of civic responsibility.

Grownups may think that presidential elections are about important issues, but it's not obvious that the kids care about policies at all. Oh, yes, they get caught up in the hoopla of a presidential campaign. But do they think that the policies a president will pursue will actually affect them?

If young people really cared about public policy, they would be frantic about the financial state of the country. Debts are piling up higher than the Washington Monument and they are being set up to pay them off. Yet not a single college student -- that we know of -- has let out a whimper.

But can the older folks count on the continuing civic lassitude of the young? We don't know. But we do know that the current fiscally absurd Social Security scheme might not survive the kids' discovery of democracy's power. The fact is, the kids in America are being had, even as the poor citizens of the Arab states, whom we have been watching on television in recent months, have for so many years, decades even, been had.snip
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