When it comes to the welfare state, the most expensive programs are not those that redistribute wealth from the rich and middle class to the poor, but those that redistribute wealth from working Americans to the elderly. The average college graduate, for instance, starts out making about $45,000 — and has to hand over almost $7,000 a year to fund Social Security and Medicare Part A. That’s more than enough to make the monthly payments on a new car.


But that’s nothing compared to what’s on the horizon. As old-age benefits increase, and as the Baby Boomers retire, the cost of old-age benefits will skyrocket — and with it, the government’s debt. It’s going to be a disaster for our country unless we do something to stop it.


In this new weekly podcast series, “The Debt Dialogues,” I’m going to be talking to a diverse range of guests about the welfare state crisis and what to do about it.


My first guest is Laurence J. Kotlikoff, a Boston University economist who specializes in generational economics. In this podcast, we discuss the welfare state crisis, its magnitude, and possible solutions.


Other Resources:

· Laurence Kotlikoff’s home page

· The Clash of Generations: Saving Ourselves, Our Kids, and Our Economy by Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Scott Burns

· Assessing Fiscal Sustainability by Laurence J. Kotlikoff (PDF)


Image: Bruce Rolff via Shutterstock.com