On Mon, 14 Feb 2000, Ross A. Finlayson wrote:
> Now I turn the recent 2001 proposed budget of the U.S. Federal Government.
> The issue: it is not who watches the watchmen but who pays them. The
> United States is benefitting from unheralded state of productivity growth
> which rises, explicitly economically, from investment in research and
> development, and more vaguely Alan Greenspan, and very minorly, any
> politician. I am thinking that most people make more money than me,
> thus paying more taxes, yet I am still interested in where my 1/3 of total
> monetary productivity given to the government does go.
> Here's where it should go: paydown of the national debt. The younger
> generation didn't make it and doesn't want it, and the baby boomers will be
> living long enough that it would be bad for them if Social Security crashed.
Ross, many years ago I was a big anti-debt advocate (for the reasons
you outline). I'm not so sure anymore. I suspect that I could make
a pretty good case that properly directed government spending towards
the development of an "almost anything" box will produce so much growth
in the near future, that the national debt is irrelevant. Why do people
buy bonds? To have an income in the future. Why do they need an income?
To meet their material requirements. Now while Robin might disagree
that we don't throw away the economy overnight, I could see a very
interesting scenario where the government develops an almost anything
box, puts it in the public domain and simultaneously defaults on
any remaining national debt.
One thing I am pretty sure about is that in a few years, if it
becomes clear that biotech is going to significantly extend longevity
(e.g. William Haseltine, CEO of Human Genome Sciences, predicting
in the Oct 18, 1999 WSJ Health and Medicine section, pg R10, that
the life expactancy of people born in 2050 will be 150+ years)
then Social Security will be permanently broken and the only way
out will be to invest in nanotech lifeboat.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:03:44 MDT