What Dean Baker says:
...The large deficits of recent years are due to the economic downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. If the economy were back near its pre-recession level of unemployment, then the deficits would be close to 1% of GDP, a level that could be sustained indefinitely.
But the deficit scare-mongers are not interested in numbers and economics; they want to gut key government programs – most importantly, social security and Medicare. That is why they are pushing the fear stories about the debt and deficit. This is the rationale for the Campaign to "Fix" the Debt, a collection of 80 CEOs ostensibly focused on getting the budget in order.
What is perhaps most infuriating about this crew is the claim that their efforts are somehow designed to benefit our children and grandchildren. This is bizarre for a number of reasons. First, while they do want to cut social security and Medicare for current retirees and those expecting to benefit from these programs in the near future, the biggest cuts in their plans will hit today's young.
In effect, they are promising to "save" these programs for young workers by destroying them. Under most of the proposals designed to "fix" these programs, social security will provide a sharply-reduced benefit for retirees in 40 to 50 years' time, compared to the currently scheduled level. And Medicare will by no means ensure most seniors' access to decent healthcare.
However, what's even more bizarre regarding their generational equity logic is the idea that, somehow, the well-being of future generations can be measured in any way by the size of the government debt. This point should have been pounded home to even the thickest deficit hawk by Hurricane Sandy. What we do or don't do in the next decade will have a huge impact on the climate conditions that our children and grandchildren experience. Imagine that we listen to our Campaign to Fix the Debt friends and find a way to pay down the debt while neglecting any steps to curb global warming...
There would be a lot of happy petrochemical billionaires- and billions more unhappy people dealing with Malthusian consequences.