… is from page 436 of the 5th edition (2015) of Thomas Sowell’s excellent Basic Economics:
Going into debt to create long-term investments makes as much sense for the government as for a private individual’s borrowing more than his annual income to buy a house. By the same token, people who borrow more than their annual income to pay for lavish entertainment this year are simply living beyond their means and probably heading for big financial trouble. The same principle applies to government expenditures for current benefits, with the costs being passed on to future generations.
DBx: Yes. And when today’s politicians and citizens-taxpayers can pass on to future generations the obligation to pay for today’s spending, today’s spending is higher and less carefully considered than it would be if today’s taxpayers were required – say, through a balanced-budget amendment – to pay for this spending.