On August 27, 1995, The New York Times Magazine ran as article. It asked a question. I think it was a rhetorical question: “Who Will Face The Music?“
The author made an accurate observation.
America, it is often lamented, is an increasingly polarized nation in which one group is all too ready to assume that its interests are being trampled by another. Over the last few years, fierce battles have been waged over affirmative action, the right to pray in school and the treatment of illegal immigrants. And yet in this profoundly contentious period, there has hardly been even a skirmish over a huge and growing generational inequity. Not only through Social Security and Medicare, but also through veterans’ pensions and a score of other programs for the elderly, the Federal Government has, over the last several decades, effected an immense transfer of wealth from one group of citizens to another, from young working Americans to retirees.
This silence is still deafening, a quarter century later.
This is also true:
Politicians on both sides of the aisle, who are usually quick to exploit any potential “wedge” issue, have been extremely wary about even acknowledging this one. In fact, they have done their best to avoid it altogether. Even in the current debate over cutting Medicare, both sides have effectively conspired to obscure the truth about the issue, which is that the Republicans’ proposals, which Democrats call cruel impositions on the old, would make only a marginal difference in what the system already costs the young.
This generational theft will come to an end.
But, by the time it does come to an end, the future will be far more weaker, demoralized, and broken than it should be.
It will be a far smaller and weaker future, too.
Putting it in a rhetorical dialogue:
“What is the fundamental truth of American History?”
From cheating, robbing, and killing the Indians…
…to cheating, robbing, and killing their own children.
God is not mocked, indeed.