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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

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