Over the past three posts I’ve documented how today’s and tomorrow’s Americans have had their future sold out and cashed in with regard to state and local government debts, inadequate past infrastructure capital construction, and retroactively increased and underfunded public employee pensions. Over and above the generational inequities at the federal level in government, in the private sector, and even in many families. Plus climate change, which some have claimed will be so bad I should stop worrying about other aspects of generational inequity.
These aren’t technical issues to be discussed one at a time, as if they were independent of each other. They are a single ethical issue to be discussed and understood as a whole. Look at any issue, any institutional decision in government, business and the professions, any social trend of the past 40 years, and examine how it has affected those in different generations – who benefitted, and at whose expense. And you will find the same thing.
That is why our society is in decline, something all those crazed about the tribalist cultural issues that consume out geriocratic politics apparently understand, and are desperate to find someone else to blame for. The Sold Out Futures by state ranking, based on the state and local government part of it, is my contribution to the bigger story, one that remains under Omerta.
Adding it up, on average today’s and tomorrow’s Americans have inherited a Sold Out Future due to past state and local government deals and non-decisions equal to 47.0% of their personal income in FY 2019. That is virtually unchanged from the 47.1% I found when I did the same analysis for FY 2012, despite a much stronger economy and another asset price bubble.
Unlike the other generational inequities in our society in the wake of Generation Greed (and more like the differences between families), the state and local government burden is not the same everywhere in the U.S. It is greater or smaller depending on where you live. It attaches to the people there now, unless they move away from it, and may eventually attach to each place’s real estate, since real estate cannot pick up and move. This final post in the series will rank states, and New York City and the Rest of New York State separately, based on how sold out their futures are.Continue reading