Jeffrey Miron on "Entitlements, Entitlements, Entitlements"


Short and sweet new vid, complete with nifty animation, of the Harvard econ prof explaining why entitlement spending is the most important government budget item to reform and cut. Brought to you by the Institute for Humane Studies:

Miron's Reason archive here. Here he is at the Reason office in February 2010 talking about Gary Johnson's economic plan, which he helped put together:

NEXT: Gene Healy on Afghanistan: "We should declare victory, and come home."

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  1. Nice. But why leave out interest on the debt?

    1. Interest on the debt is left out because it is hard to accurately guage relative to the other items for two reasons: 1) uncertainty of future revenues vs. total spending and resulting increases to debt and, even moreso 2) uncertainty of interest rates, as changes in interest rates can have a profound impact upon overall interest obligations.

      1. So use a conservative estimate. But we know where interest expense is going, and it’s not down.

  2. So, we’re paying the interest on our debt, but nothing towards the principal, because we’re hoping the value of the economy will become large enough, that we can pay off the debt in the future.

    Sounds like an interest only mortgage to me. How have those been working out?

    1. Just fine.

      1. Thanks again for letting me live rent free 😉

  3. Brought to you by the Institute for Humane Studies:

    I’d like to see an Institute for Inhumane Studies myself.

  4. I have you libertarians figured out. “Reduce entitlements” is but a euphamism for tearing up the social contract, allowing only Warren Buffett to see a doctor, forcing senior citizens to pick meals out of garbage cans, etc. All so millionaires and billionares can continue to pay a mere 35% tax rate. As we all know, 35% is almost indistinguishable from zero. You should be ashamed.

    1. Yes, let’s shred the social contract into little pieces, and watch everyone suffer. Warren Buffet, and his ilk, will be the only ones who can afford to see a doctor, just like they are the only people currently, who can afford LASIK surgery, boob jobs, liposuction and the host of other “elective” surgeries that have gotten cheaper over the years.

    2. DEM,

      You have wishful thinking confused with reality. The reality is the entitlements will bankrupt us so the only ones who will be able to afford anything will be the rich and politically connected.

      1. It was sarcastic.

    3. Millionares and Billionares pay much lower than that since they can afford the accouuntants to take advantage of the loopholes – loopholes that were created by the congresscritters the millionares and billionares helped elect.

      But that’s not what pisses me off. It’s all the people that don’t pay anything at all and freeride off the hard work of everyone else.

  5. We need to put a cap of medicare spending *now* before it’s so out of control it buries our economy.


  6. I’m a fan of Gary Johnson, but his public speaking skills really need to be honed. Perception being political reality, he can’t shrug at the end of answering a question. I realize he might see it as a simple nut/bolts issue, but he has to sell it. I understand the pragmatism, but he has to sell it to skeptical buyers. He’s won an election bigger than any I will in my life, but I think he’s gonna have to really polish his game to swim with sharks.

    1. As a New Mexican I can tell you that that’s always been his weakness. His voice tends to go up too high when he’s excited about a topic and he starts making odd facial expressions and shrugging his shoulders. He also has a problem with looking down too much and not making eye contact.

      I like the guy a lot, but he’s really got to work on looking the part if he wants to win over independents. I know that shouldn’t matter when he’s such an amazing individual, but, unfortunately, it does.

  7. I was disappointed that he hadn’t even looked at the Ryan plan. Not that I’m in love with that plan, or anything, but that’s a pretty big “I don’t know” to throw out there.

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