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Robert Samuelson focuses in a recent article on:
The dilemma of advanced democracies, including the United States, is that they've made more promises than they can keep. Their political commitments outstrip the economy's capacity to deliver.
This has off and on been a significant issue in the US, with both Clinton and Bush making recommendations for Social Security, but neither touching the real bomb shell of the cost of healthcare for the retiring baby boomers.  But Congress has not wanted to address the issue, preferring to "kick the can down the road", leaving it for others to solve.  There are some rather scary long range budget projections which show the need to cut back benefits or raise taxes, but not for more than a decade.

Samelson argues that France has similar issues with their demographics, and other factors make the problem very challenging for France.  I think I recall someone, perhaps Jerome, saying this would be a pretty easy issue to fix with some balance of tax increases, benefit cuts, and later retirement.  Just wondering if their are long range budgets in France that lay out the extent of the problem, and how it could be addressed?

I found the Samuelson article to be good, though it has some of the same misleading presentation on youth unemployment statistics that we have criticised elsewhere.

by wchurchill on Thu Mar 30th, 2006 at 02:19:34 AM EST
There is a, as far as i can tell, interesting work paper from non other then the IMF regarding fiscal policy and the age issue.

Aging: Some Pleasant Fiscal Arithmetic

I don't have the mathematical stamina or the background to judge its merits but i hope it is useful to this discussion, in the hands of someone more able.

Overall it proposes things may not be as tragic as some make them, hence the "Pleasant".

by Torres on Fri Apr 7th, 2006 at 07:53:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
interesting work paper from non other then the IMF
On the second page it says "this working paper should not be reprted as representing the views of the IMF".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 7th, 2006 at 08:02:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, i saw that. Still, it's on their website...
Doesn't say anything of the validity of the argument, in one sense or the other, does it?
by Torres on Fri Apr 7th, 2006 at 09:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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