The Corner

I’m Not Quite Sure I Get

Virginia Postrel’s point here: “Ultimately, both fiscal and economic futures depend on economic growth. If productivity (measured and unmeasured) keeps rising, even the fiscal problems become less significant. If our grandkids are filthy rich by today’s standards, which is actually quite possible, they won’t have as hard a time covering social security’s promises. Medicare’s, which rise with the medical standard of living, are a different matter–unless, of course, medical care somehow gets cheaper as well as better.” Social Security payments are tied to wage growth. If the economy grows faster, those promises do too, right? If we were willing to say that Social Security payments shouldn’t double over the next 80 years, we’d have the fiscal problem solved already. What we have is a political problem. It’s not obvious that a richer society will find it easier to solve that problem.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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