Let's pause to praise Robert J. Samuelson, one of the few Washington pundits (apart from reason's own syndicated Jacob Sullum) who is willing to wander outside the political 40-yard lines. For example, Samuelson, who usually writes from an economics angle, was about the only mainstream columnist who correctly characterized the tobacco settlement as a wealth transfer from the middle- and lower-middle classes to the state and a gaggle of lawyers. Today, he addresses federal prescription-drug benefits, attempting to include in that discussion the generation that will have to pay the bills.
Welcome to the era of baby boomer politics….The prototype of this politics is the Medicare drug benefit, which—although it's probably the largest new spending program since 1965—is flying through Congress.
We baby boomers (I am 57) are involved—through our silence, selfishness or ignorance—in a conspiracy against our children. The right way to do a drug benefit would have been to use it as a lever to force a broader review of retirement policies … By this bargain, the burden on our children of rising retirement costs might have been tempered, though not reduced.
Samuelson includes in his indictment the agenda-setting press, "led by
baby boomers," which, he writes, "regards new retirement benefits as 'progressive' and dissociates them from higher future taxes or deficits." He even predicts likely expansions of this self-serving boomer "progessivism."