- - Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Intergenerational inequity is a fancy term for spending money we don’t have and letting our kids pay our debt, with interest.

Politicians love this form of theft by a voting generation from the young, unaware nonvoting generation. It is part of the fundamental problem the United States has. Elected leaders imprudently spend when they know the day of reckoning for a $20 trillion debt burden blocks the road ahead like a grim reaper.

The day of reckoning doesn’t threaten re-election of politicians. No, the reckoning awaits our kids, and could come in several indirect ways, including:

• We devolve into a third-world, bankrupt country.

• We create a crippled economy decimated by violent inflation.

• We experience pure mayhem following the new experience of being dominated by an authoritarian invader.

• At some point in the process, a liberal agenda actually produces the opportunity for a “fundamentally changed country.” The “new America” could be enabled by economic chaos and abetted by the Obama executive order on “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” that allowed activation in “peacetime” — not just in times of national emergency.

Some will say, “Well, look at all the money we’re saving by selling Federal Reserve notes at these low rates to fund government.” No we’re not saving money.

We’re not making a dent in the current debt nor are our elected leaders doing anything to confront more than $127 trillion in future, unfunded liabilities created mostly by entitlement programs.

My home state of Alaska is in a pickle, too. When I came here in 1971 and began working with my native and other pioneer friends, Alaska was the “last frontier.” We were independent. We were about to build a pipeline that would transport a fifth of America’s domestic crude oil. We were supporting the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. We worked hard and hunted and fished and skied and flew and boated and climbed and innovated in a harsh but beautiful, opportunity-filled land.

Our great state is twice the size of my birth state, Texas. We have three-quarters of America’s coastline and just compare our 3 million lakes to Minnesota’s “land of 10,000 lakes.”

Yet, we may now be the most prolific-spending welfare state in America.

Our state is almost 90 percent dependent on oil revenue, but our great Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline is three-quarters empty and oil is fetching less than half of what it brought in nearly three years ago. Adding insult to injury, a fair number of Alaskan politicians — including Gov. Bill Walker and former Gov. Sarah Palin have supported higher taxes on an already highly taxed oil industry.

Alaska’s huge public employee retirement deficiency hovers around $7 billion and our bloated, entitlement spending — including our governor’s imprudent expansion of Medicaid — finds the state joyfully skipping ahead as if everything were normal.

Nationally and locally, socialist-leaning lawmakers have tried to spend for all things for all constituents, taxing all possible sources of dollars.

When that is not enough, politicians eye our nonvoting kids.

• Federal lawmakers tax the kids by printing money, which also devalues everyone’s savings, increases prices of everything and hits those on fixed incomes hardest.

• Alaska’s lawmakers tax the kids by spending savings to subsidize a $4 billion annual deficit and, as far as paying off bonded debt, it’s as if our leaders say cavalierly, “Refinance and pass the debt forward to the kids.”

I say “cavalierly” because as unbalanced budgets pile up debt, there is hardly ever a hint of concern for the welfare of our children, hardly a hint of concern for our precious young ones who will inherit a debt legacy that can only limit — if not destroy — their economic dreams.

Parents who do this to their kids should be locked into stocks in Washington’s National Mall and Anchorage’s Town Square.

But those responsible will instead retire with generous pensions and health plans as fewer and fewer privately employed persons work harder and harder to pay off the indentures placed upon their necks like ox yokes.

How can we free our children from an awful day of reckoning? Let’s join them in their struggle. Help them to understand.

Let’s urge young ones: “Rise up, whether you can vote or not, and begin to tell parents and politicians, ‘Don’t buy your generation stuff that I have to pay for. I am not your indentured servant. America’s Founders fought for freedom — no taxation without representation. When you put your debt on my young shoulders, you do it selfishly — without my representation or approval. Please tell me: Why do we have to fight our own parents for financial freedom?’ “

Dave Harbour is a commissioner emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, chairman emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress, former chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, and publisher of Northerngaspipelines.com.

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