September 19, 2014

Bill Would Encourage Intergenerational Fairness

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

A bipartisan proposal introduced in the Senate would provide a more complete picture of the long-term impact of current fiscal policies, including their burden on younger Americans and future generations.

Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform Act (INFORM) last week, with Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) serving as early co-sponsors.

“We should not leave future generations with spiraling debt and hidden obligations that could jeopardize their economic prospects and harm their ability to meet new challenges,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. The legislation would expand the universe of long-term analytical tools and better focus policy choices on the burdens they might place on younger Americans and future generations.

The bill, appropriately championed by the Millennial-led "The Can Kicks Back" campaign, would establish long-term generational accounting and fiscal gap analysis in the budgeting and legislative processes.

Fiscal gap analysis shows the present value difference between projected spending and revenue, together with the initial public debt, over both a 75-year time period and an infinite time horizon. Generational accounting analysis is a way to assess generational transfers by showing the difference between total projected taxes paid and transfer payments received.