Fighting the future

Growing government budget deficits of around the globe have resulted in no small part from insistent demands from top earners for tax cuts. Some have advocated such cuts as part of a "starve the beast strategy," in which depriving the government of revenue would supposedly help eliminate government waste. But government programs exist because important constituents want them and are therefore extremely difficult to cut. Cuts, when they do come, typically occur not where they would make the most sense, but where those who would suffer from them are least able to push back. An important result of deficits has thus been to reduce our investment in the future. The unborn citizens who will suffer as a result are simply unable to protest.

-- Robert H. Frank, Success and Luck

This is a simple explanation for many of the United States' problems, from disinvestment in infrastructure which squanders the inheritance that we received from our predecessors to closing off our most productive cities to new residents through restrictive housing policy. It's easy to fight the future, because future citizens can't vote.