Yes We Must

Conn Carroll /

Former Supreme Court associate justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Ambassador James R. Jones kick off this week’s Youth Entitlement Summit in today’s Washington Post:

Idealistic young voters have turned out in record numbers this year — and not a moment too soon. How our next president represents the interests of young Americans will define not only his legacy but that of an entire generation of political leaders.

The Government Accountability Office and many, many others have documented the magnitude of the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid bills that will come due over the next several decades. Even if every dollar of wealth of every millionaire in the United States were magically diverted to pay these costs, 80 percent of the unfunded liabilities forecast for these three programs would remain on the books.

Social Security Advisory Board Chairman Sylvester J. Schieber has found that honoring today’s promises to tomorrow’s retirees could put the living standards of working households on a path of decline by the mid-2020s, according to a groundbreaking study in the Milken Institute Review. Under this scenario, today’s high school students might never experience a year in the workforce when their tax rates would not rise.