John Maynard Keynes, patron saint of the government stimulus, called himself an “immoralist.” He felt indifferent between right and wrong. Also, he never had children. When he made his famous statement, “In the long run, we are all dead,” Keynes spoke as one with no stake in the happiness of the human race, once he had departed from it.
Which is something we should keep in mind while reflecting on the chart below, showing the trend lines for federal spending and revenues through the year 2040, from The Economist’s article on “The backlash against big government.”
Morality concerns the impact of our actions on others. It has no timeframe, no expiration date. If I care in the least for my family, and friends, and the people in my community, I will organize my actions so that I can pursue my ends without destroying theirs. I won’t borrow what I can’t repay; I won’t sneak away when the bill comes due, even to the grave.
If, however, I’m an immoralist, in the style of Keynes and the current policy of the US government, and the whole despicable generation of Baby Boomers, I will happily crush my children’s lives so that I may enjoy mine to the fullest.
The worst thing about that chart? I feel complicit in it. We are all immoralists now.