Carl Scott writes about the WSJ Weekend Interview with Stanley Druckenmiller, ” in “Pay No Attention to that Baby-Boomer behind the Curtain!” I was going to write about that piece in simpler terms. Redistribution does not really go from rich to poor, but from the future to the present. This has been the truth of every redistributive state program, no matter the generation. Take Social Security as an example, the Baby Boomers paid for their parents. The horror of the next generation paying for us is, for them, that there are so darn many of us and modern medicine will ensure that we can all live for a very long time. For us, the Boomers, the problem is that much of what we thought we were entitled to for our futures, like Social Security and Medicare, we may not get and we have counted on it.
The national debt and the Republican cry for reductions in the federal budget deficit ought to be of concern to the young. The big question (especially for Republicans) is why it isn’t concerning the young. In the comment section of Carl’s piece, John Lewis, our regular commenter, may be ignoring the point that a growing national debt is a problem for the future. He may, although in his unique way, exemplify the thinking of the young. He thinks of Obama as a conservative and in the sense that the president is trying to a conserve and solidify a certain ethos of most of our last hundred years, that is true. The question of whether or not what the president is conserving is good, really good, can the young think about that?
We worry here about how to engage the young with our conservative vision. Maybe we have to accept that what we are talking is not conservative of the status quo and change the terms of the conversation. Our generation and previous ones have saddled the future with debt. We owe them something for that. Can we talk to them about how to radically change the course of our politics? It seems to me that’s what our conservative vision is and why conservatives are so hard-pressed to explain that vision; maybe it is inherently difficult for us to think about ourselves as radical.