Climate change – our real bequest to future generations, Commentary, by Dean Baker: It is remarkable how efforts to reduce the government deficit/debt are often portrayed as a generational issue, while efforts to reduce global warming are almost never framed in this way. ...
Seeing the debt as an issue between generations is wrong in almost every dimension. The ... debt is not money that our children and grandchildren will be paying to someone else. It is money that they will be paying to themselves. ...
Of course, some of this debt will be owned by foreigners. ... However, the foreign ownership of US financial assets, including government debt, is determined by our trade deficit, not our budget deficit.
Those who proclaim themselves concerned that our grandchildren will be stuck making huge payments to ... foreigners should be focused on reducing the value of the dollar. A more competitively priced dollar will be the key to ... reducing the outflow of dollars each year that are used to buy up US financial assets.
The main factor that will determine the economic wellbeing of our children and grandchildren will be ... the quality of the capital and infrastructure we pass onto them, along with the level of education we give them, the state of technical knowledge we achieve, and the state of the natural environment.
If we cut the deficit by making spending cuts ... in these areas, we will be making our children worse-off... Of course, leaving their parents unemployed for long periods of time will not improve our children's wellbeing either.
If the deficit has little to with the wellbeing of our children and grandchildren, global warming has everything to do with it. ... Global warming threatens to do far more damage to the wellbeing of future generations than the social security and Medicare benefits going to baby-boomers, no matter how much the deficit hawks try to twist the numbers to claim otherwise.