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Why Aren’t Greens More Worried About the Budget?

Walter Russell Mead

The latest report on the status of our entitlement programs shows that Medicare will run out of money in 2028 and Social Security just six years later—a reminder that our society is gliding majestically towards crisis even as our political system is dominated by scandals and circuses. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The overall financial health of the entitlement programs hasn’t improved, according to the report. If Social Security’s retirement and disability funds are combined into one program, their funds will be exhausted in 2034, unchanged from last year. […]

“If our leaders act soon, modest policy changes can be phased in gradually, allowing time to plan and adjust,” said Michael Peterson, the president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation which advocates for reduction of the nation’s debt. “But the longer we wait, the more difficult the problem becomes.”

One of the many interesting paradoxes here is the silence of the environmental activists in the face of a massive threat to their agenda. After all, if the United States (and the other developed countries in similar straits) are pressed to come up with the money their seniors depend on, those countries aren’t going to be sending massive cash infusions to the Third World for climate solidarity funds. Nor will they have the money to subsidize green technology and electric cars. Indeed, the flight from fiscal realism that is a cornerstone of today’s left-liberal politics is a greater threat to the green climate agenda than the rightwing climate denialism greens blame for their troubles.

If they were smarter, greens would be the meanest deficit hawks of all, fighting like rabid wolverines against non-green discretionary spending and unsustainable entitlement programs. Their failure to grasp, much less to oppose, the planet-killing consequences of Democratic Party economic policies is one of the many signs that the climate movement is less skilled at reading the future than it would have us believe.

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