Have we guaranteed that the next several generations of Americans will have a much lower standard of living than they did in the year 2000?
Was American prosperity over the past 32 years an illusion/delusion? Reagan tripled the debt which started out at $930 billion; it doubled under George W. Bush, and ballooned under Obama to $17 trillion. Between principal and interest that is a “gift” from Uncle Sam of $7000/year for the “average” family of four. Obviously, much of that money didn't go to families; it went to financial institutions.
Credit card debt exploded in past decades, artificially inflating the economy by bringing future purchases and taxes on those purchases to the present so that when the future is here we are not buying those items.
Pensions, retirement packages and health care were promised but under funded; neither the recent wars nor care for the wounded were funded. Americans have coasted on our infrastructure for the past 40 years taking out far more than we put back in; our infrastructure earns a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers who indicate that it will take $3.6 trillion by 2020 to bring it up to par.
Social security will be solvent by adjusting the cost of living allowance and a slight increase in the retirement age; however, the average boomer couple and their parents will take out of Medicare $220,000-$300,000 more than they put in.
The head of Medicare indicated that promised benefits are in the tens of trillions of dollars. The next generations will pay vastly increasing taxes during their working lives into Medicare, probably a minimum of $1000/year more than they now pay, experience benefit cuts or a combination of both of them.
Our creature comforts made possible by our debt “party” and deferral of obligations, will be paid for by subsequent generations, not us. In 2020 interest on the debt alone will be $10,000/year for a family of four.
The average graduate from college emerges with $27,000 in debt; many cannot find jobs in their fields. Effectively, the average graduate has "bought" an expensive car without getting the car.