But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.
Still reading my way through Obama's speech, but it's worth noting that the long-term deficit problem we have today didn't start with Social Security back in the Roosevelt era or Medicaid back in the LBJ years. It started in the 1980s...roughly the same time we started getting a generation of politicians who told us we shouldn't have to pay for the government we get. As I said in the Scripps column last week, the deficit isn't just a spending problem—it's a paying problem.