Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unsustainable... Transfer Payments

Transfer payments are defined simply as:
Money given by the government to its citizens.
As long-time readers know, I am all for government involvement / income distribution for projects / policies that attempt to provide:
  • Everyone (specifically youth) with the same chance
  • A needed shared service
  • A positive return on investment (education, security, infrastructure, etc...)
In addition, I do believe that a safety net (such as unemployment benefits) provides additional security that allows the broader system (in the case of unemployment benefits, the labor market) to work more efficiently.

BUT, many of these projects / policies have been extremely neglected (education, infrastructure are two easy examples) and/or are being threatened with further cuts, as a way to put off answering tough questions. Tough questions such as "should we be spending our national wealth on programs that will provide for the betterment of society in the future or should we use it to allow individuals to retire while they are still productive / to extend the life of a sick elder by another six months?".

As unfortunate as it may be... does anyone really think the chart above looks sustainable?

Source: BEA