These mind-boggling numbers represent nothing less than a vast claim by the generation currently retired or about to retire on their children and grandchildren, who are obligated by current law to find the money in the future, by submitting either to substantial increases in taxation or to drastic cuts in other forms of public expenditure.
In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, Edmund Burke wrote that the real social contract is not Rousseau’s contract between the sovereign and the people or “general will”, but the “partnership” between the generations.
“Society,” says Burke, “is indeed a contract. The state is a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”
In the enormous inter-generational transfers implied by current fiscal policies we see a shocking and perhaps unparalleled breach of precisely that partnership.