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Shultz: I don't think of them as "recreational.'' They do enormous harm, and we should do everything we can to prevent people from taking them. But the current system isn't working.
reason: You write in Putting Our House in Order about the successes of our economic system. As you point out: "Over the last 150 years, the U.S. economy has become increasingly stable. The economy was in recession nearly 45 percent of the time during the last half of the nineteenth century, 33 percent in the first half of the twentieth century and 16 percent in the last half of the twentieth century. In the post-World War II period, the occurrence of down quarters has diminished sixteen in the years between 1946 to 1965 to fifteen from 1966 to 1985 to just five since then. Meanwhile, even as the economy has grown to Herculean size, its rate of growth has continued to be robust.''
Despite the threats of terrorism, entitlement costs and the current downturn in the economy, are we better off today than we were 20 years ago?
Shultz: The economy has been very successful, but there are other problems, so we have to work on them.
reason: Are entitlements a bigger problem than terrorism?
Shultz: I don't see how you get very far by comparing them. Terrorism is a gigantic problem.
reason: Which is a greater threat to our way of life, though?
Shultz: Well....Entitlement spending is something we have to face up to.