Make Everyone Hurt except the Young

Last week columnist wrote a NY Times article titled Make Everyone Hurt. Here is a clip:
Getting state and federal budgets under control will take decades. It will require varied, multipronged approaches, supported by broad and shifting coalitions. It’s really important that we establish an unwritten austerity constitution: a set of practices that will help us cut effectively now and in the future.

The foundation of this unwritten constitution has to be this principle: make everybody hurt. The cuts have to be spread more or less equitably among as many groups as possible. There will never be public acceptance if large sectors of society are excluded.
Brooks followed up the article with another this week speaking of The New Normal.
Here are a few clips from it:
We’re going to be doing a lot of deficit cutting over the next several years. The country’s future greatness will be shaped by whether we cut wisely or stupidly. So we should probably come up with a few sensible principles to guide us as we cut.

The first one, as I tried to argue last week, is: Make Everybody Hurt. The sacrifice should be spread widely and fairly. A second austerity principle is this: Trim from the old to invest in the young. We should adjust pension promises and reduce the amount of money spent on health care during the last months of life so we can preserve programs for those who are growing and learning the most.
Brooks makes a lot of sense to me. We all know that our governmental budgets and deficits need to be reduced and an austerity framework seems to makes sense. It also seems appropriate that everyone should experience some level of pain when the cuts are made. Yet cutting benefits from our children and grandchildren just seems wrong.

What do you think about Brooks proposals?


  1. Hi Bob,

    After reading this, one thing sticks out in my mind. The idea of sacrificing for the betterment of others is a noble one, but the idea of everyone sacrificing except the young is problematic. If anything, America's youth has MORE stuff and privilege than any previous generation and this can only lead to the belief of entitlement instead of earning one's way in life. It's not that I begrudge youngsters their I-pods, cell phones, or any other gizmo, but I do have a problem with anyone thinking they have the right to own everything at no expense to themselves. To encourage such thinking is akin to handing out a license to shoplift. Parents certainly do bear a great responsibility to their children, but that responsibility does not include handing the world to them on a platter.

  2. @crownring - I agree with your take on this as far as the materialistic stuff goes but I think that David was speaking to issues like education and programs like head-start (the good ones anyway) that help kids now and prepare them for the future.


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