Cover image for The clash of generations : saving ourselves, our kids, and our economy
Title:
The clash of generations : saving ourselves, our kids, and our economy
Author:
Kotlikoff, Laurence J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, [2012]

©2012
Physical Description:
275 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Summary:
The United States is bankrupt, flat broke. Thanks to accounting that would make Enron blush, America's insolvency goes far beyond what our leaders are disclosing. The United States is a fiscal basket case, in worse shape than the notoriously bailed-out countries of Greece, Ireland, and others. How did this happen? In The Clash of Generations, experts Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns document our six-decade, off-balance-sheet, unsustainable financing scheme. They explain how we have balanced our longer lives on the backs of our (relatively few) children. At the same time, we've been on a consumption spree, saving and investing less than nothing. And that's not to mention the evisceration of the middle class and a financial system that has proven it can't be trusted. Kotlikoff and Burns outline grassroots strategies for saving ourselves--and especially our children--from what could be a truly catastrophic financial collapse. Kotlikoff and Burns sounded the alarm in their widely acclaimed The Coming Generational Storm, but politicians didn't listen. Now the need for action is even more urgent. It's up to us to demand radical reform of our tax system, our healthcare system, and our Social Security system, and to insist on better paths to investment return than those provided by Wall Street (mis)managers. Kotlikoff and Burns's "Purple Plans" (so called because they will appeal to both Republicans and Democrats) have been endorsed by a who's who of economists and offer a new way forward; and their revolutionary investment strategy for individuals replaces the idea of financial capital with "life decision capital." Of course, we won't be doing all this just for ourselves. We need to fix America's fiscal mess before our kids inherit it.
Language:
English
Contents:
Prologue : the last straw -- The United States is bankrupt -- Catastrophic success -- Living beyond our children's means -- Economic fallout -- Beatings without bruises -- Does it pay to grow up? -- The war on our children -- Unsafe at any speed -- Getting to yes -- There must be some way out of here -- Time to retire -- Becoming our own solution -- The power of ordinary living -- The coming generational storm -- Bibliographical references -- Index.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780262526104

9780262016728
Format :
Book

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HC106.84 .K68 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

How America went bankrupt and how we can save ourselves--as a country and as individuals--from economic disaster.

The United States is bankrupt, flat broke. Thanks to accounting that would make Enron blush, America's insolvency goes far beyond what our leaders are disclosing. The United States is a fiscal basket case, in worse shape than the notoriously bailed-out countries of Greece, Ireland, and others. How did this happen? In The Clash of Generations , experts Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns document our six-decade, off-balance-sheet, unsustainable financing scheme. They explain how we have balanced our longer lives on the backs of our (relatively few) children. At the same time, we've been on a consumption spree, saving and investing less than nothing. And that's not to mention the evisceration of the middle class and a financial system that has proven it can't be trusted. Kotlikoff and Burns outline grassroots strategies for saving ourselves--and especially our children--from what could be a truly catastrophic financial collapse.

Kotlikoff and Burns sounded the alarm in their widely acclaimed The Coming Generational Storm , but politicians didn't listen. Now the need for action is even more urgent. It's up to us to demand radical reform of our tax system, our healthcare system, and our Social Security system, and to insist on better paths to investment return than those provided by Wall Street (mis)managers. Kotlikoff and Burns's "Purple Plans" (so called because they will appeal to both Republicans and Democrats) have been endorsed by a who's who of economists and offer a new way forward; and their revolutionary investment strategy for individuals replaces the idea of financial capital with "life decision capital."

Of course, we won't be doing all this just for ourselves. We need to fix America's fiscal mess before our kids inherit it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMKw76lBn0k&feature=youtube_gdata_player


Author Notes

Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc. He is the author or co-author of several books including Jimmy Stewart Is Dead: Ending the World's Ongoing Financial Plague with Limited Purpose Banking, The Clash of Generations: Saving Ourselves, Our Kids, and Our Economy, and Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Blame Grandpa for the coming economic collapse? That's not what Boston University economist Kotlikoff and investment strategist Burns do in this compelling and well-documented follow-up to The Coming Generational Storm. Instead, as politicians legislate more goodies while leaving the bill to future generations, they see us creating "a generational time bomb." Demographic trends indicate that within half a century, the number of elderly in the industrialized world will for the first time outweigh the number of children. Moreover, these young people will likely pay more in taxes during their lifetimes than they will ever receive in benefits. Kotlikoff and Burns provide chilling examples of the almost inexorable growth in spending: Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, began paying benefits in 2006, but its unfunded liabilities today are $16 trillion, nearly equal to the $18 trillion unfunded liabilities of Social Security. Meanwhile, our national profligancy-"saving nothing and investing next to nothing"-exacerbates the dismal outlook. The authors conclude by suggesting reforms to the banking system and offering investment advice, but their dour first section is what lingers in the mind. As they note, in 1983 the Greenspan Commission "fixed" Social Security, but nearly 20 years later, it's in worse long-term fiscal shape today. The issues they raise provide timely intellectual fodder for this election year. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Choice Review

Kotlikoff (Boston Univ.) and Burns (AssetBuilder), coauthors of The Coming Generational Storm (CH, Sep'04, 42-0420), try to do several things in their new book. First, they work hard to convince the reader that the US is fundamentally bankrupt because its fiscal gap--future spending obligations minus all future tax receipts--is $211 trillion. They then explain the causes of the fiscal gap, for example, that no politician lost by giving the elderly benefits financed by youngsters who do not or cannot vote. After detailing what is wrong and its effect on long-run living standards, the authors spend the middle of the volume describing in detail their solutions for dealing with the fiscal gap. While they offer sensible solutions here, this reviewer wishes the authors had wrestled more seriously with the political economy surrounding their proposed reforms. After all, it seems evident that seniors politically powerful enough to cause the current state of affairs will be powerful enough to block any meaningful reforms. Kotlikoff and Burns somewhat surprisingly conclude the volume with some excellent practical advice on what individuals can do in this uncertain economic environment to save and invest for retirement. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. J. C. Hall Beloit College