Because it’s not possible for the government to meet its entitlement obligations to the Baby Boomers, in part because previous generations pursued a strategy that increased the expenses of raising children to the point to which the government had to pursue mass immigration to fill the gaps in population growth, the baby boomers counting on government checks to handle their medical expenses and pensions are certain to be disappointed.
No one will tell them this, because to do so outside of a crisis situation would be to provoke an enormous political backlash for all the people involved. It will not be possible to pass a ‘responsible’ budget, because a responsible budget stiffs a large portion of the country out of what they’re owed.
The left-wing solution, which would be to seize the assets of corporations and high net worth individuals, would only provoke a capital flight of such stunning swiftness that it would be truly shocking. Unlike previous eras, in which most wealth was tied up in physical goods and inventory, now most wealth is expressed in terms of ownership rights, in terms of access to information and talent, and other intangible goods that can be transferred across borders within hours or days.
Tearing the fabric of the entitlement state would destroy the keystone of the nation-state, namely the social security and medical care programs that have been affirmed repeatedly as the only method by which an abstract governmental entity can ensure that everyone has some skin in the game with the federalizing institutions.
It’s not something that can be simply cut to balance a budget without provoking a political crisis in the way that burning buildings and lynched government officers constitute a political crisis. While it may be possible to make it balance on the spreadsheet, it’s not possible to make that balance with the capricious mob which is both emotionally and legally entitled to money which is not there.
The only ‘responsible’ move, which would be to raise taxes and lower entitlement spending, is not feasible, because lowering entitlement spending is what would provoke crises. Introducing means testing to these entitlement programs would have similar negative effects — the entire program is less important because of the actual money involved, but because it gives everyone in the society a stake in the survival of the federal institutions. If you remove that stake, you remove some important symbols of egalitarian citizenship, along with the incentive structure that makes it all work.
The honest, responsible solution would be to devolve the Federal state into a collection of smaller, regional states with governments more appropriate to the differing characters of the residents. The responsible way to handle it is to address the insolvency of the state before crisis forces a resolution.