On July 24, The Concord Coalition announced their support via press release of the bipartisan leadership of Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) for introducing the “INFORM Act,” a legislative proposal that would improve federal budgeting by providing a more complete picture of the long-term impact of current fiscal policies, including their burden on younger Americans and future generations. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are among the first to co-sponsor.
“We should not leave future generations with spiraling debt and hidden obligations that could jeopardize their economic prospects and harm their ability to meet new challenges,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “All too often, however, Washington allows short-term political concerns and special-interest pressures to trump long-term fiscal responsibility. This new legislation would provide valuable tools to help correct that pattern and keep elected officials — and the American public — focused on the nation’s long-term fiscal and economic goals.”
The Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform Act (INFORM), appropriately championed by the Millennial-led “The Can Kicks Back” campaign, would establish long-term generational accounting and fiscal gap analysis in the budgeting and legislative processes.
Fiscal gap analysis shows the present value difference between projected spending and revenue, together with the initial public debt, over both a 75-year time period and an infinite time horizon. Generational accounting analysis is a means of assessing generational transfers by showing “net taxes” – the difference between total projected taxes paid and transfer payments received.
“The Concord Coalition has long stressed that federal budget policy must be sustainable beyond the artificial 10-year window. This requires a careful eye on the full magnitude of the government’s future commitments. We can’t just assume that the future will provide for itself. We need to do a better job of providing for the future,” Bixby said. “The INFORM Act would expand the universe of long-term analytical fiscal tools and better focus policy choices on the burdens they might place on our children, grandchildren and future generations.”
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