As the debt ceiling crisis sorts itself out, Thomas Friedman, writing for The New York Times, guarantees that whatever else happens during the next round of tax and entitlement negotiations, “seniors, Wall Street and unions will all have their say and their interests protected,” but young people are on their own.
The number of retirees will double by 2050, while the number of workers that have to support them will only go up by about 17 percent, and Friedman thinks that young people should work together to protect their interests from seniors who are raiding the proverbial cupboard.
Stan Druckenmiller recommends raising taxes
Coincidentally, a friend of his is currently touring college campuses urging young people to get organized. Stan Druckenmiller, mostly known for predicting the sub-prime bust and making mint by betting on it, want young people to “design their own solutions,” but he specifically recommends raising taxes on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest; means testing Social Security and Medicare; increasing the official retirement age; and cutting corporate taxes to zero.
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It’s an odd list, one that at first glance borrows from both the right and the left. It would be interesting to know how increasing taxes on capital gains and dividends while eliminating corporate taxes would affect the income of someone like Druckenmiller, but he does have a strong history of philanthropy, giving away hundreds of millions to various organizations. He says that he is worried about the legacy the generation in power is leaving for its children and grandchildren. When confronted with the idea that he is inciting an inter-generational war, he says “No, that war already happened, and the kids lost. We’re just trying to recover some scraps for them.”
He’s worried that the promise America makes to young people, that hard work and following the rules will lead to success, will no longer be true if current policy continues.
“It seems deeply offensive to me that we will be asking these poor children from Harlem to subsidize a generation that is, by and large, more well-off than they are, and then leave them deeply indebted in an America that had eaten the seed corn of the next generation.”