Most plans to put the federal budget on a more sustainable path make a crucial assumption: That today’s younger workers will pay more of their own retirement costs than previous generations have.
By setting aside more money for retirement, the thinking goes, these younger workers can enable the federal government to reduce the high projected growth of Social Security and Medicare. They should theoretically be able to do this because they have more time to save large amounts of money and to let those savings compound.
As The Concord Coalition has often noted, however, Washington already favors older generations in many ways. And younger Americans face a number of financial hurdles and future challenges that must be kept in mind.
Many of them have been hit hard by the last recession, struggling with a poor job market and – thanks to skyrocketing tuition costs -- large amounts of student debt. With companies cutting back on retirement and health care programs, many younger people who have jobs do not receive the compensation or employee benefits that their parents did.
The large and growing federal debt, meanwhile, means that younger Americans can expect higher taxes and less assistance from the federal government...