A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 24, 2009
Fiscal Child Abuse (deficit spending)

"Fiscal child abuse” is another name for deficit spending—where the children (future) are left with the bill for the present. The term has come into increasing use in the United States as federal and state governments experience large deficits.

“Fiscal child abuse” is cited from 1984, in a syndicated column by Paul Harvey. The term “fiscal child abuse” was often used in Congress in 1985 and 1986, especially by Rudy Penner, head of the Congressional Budget Office, and Congressman John E. Porter, from Chicago, IL.

Similar terms include “Generation Greed” (generational theft) and ‘Greedy Geezer.”


Google News Archive
9 October 1984, Ocala (FL) Star-Banner, “Committees Seeking Ways To Break Deficit” by Paul Harvey, pg. 7A, col. 2:
President Roger Molander of the Roosevelt Center says, “We are about to make our children and grandchildren pay for our inability to discipline ourselves; that is tantamount to fiscal child abuse, unforgivable!”

11 December 1984, Doylestown (PA) Daily Intelligencer, pg. 6, col. 2 editorial cartoon by Ray Driver:
Fiscal Child Abuse
“...And we expect you to pick up the tab!”
(A feast of “tax breaks” and “military spending” and “domestic programs,” with children getting the bill—ed.)

Google News Archive
29 April 1985, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Beyond COLAs: One lawmaker plans for ‘tomorrow’s elderly’” by John Harwood, pg. 6A, col. 1:
“IF YOU AND I formed a private company that did this, we would commit a crime and be subject to prosecution,” Porter (Rep. John E. Porter of Chicago, IL—ed.) testified before a House subcommittee last week.

The national debt building up for the next generation amounts to “fiscal child abuse,” he said. 

Google News Archive
25 September 1985, The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), “Congressmen plot budget busting project” by Don Melklejohn, pg. 5A, col. 1:
Mack called it the balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. Sen William Cohen, R-Maine, called it “prevention of fiscal child abuse” since he said ti would lift the burden of increasing federal deficitis from future generations.

Google Books
Taxes, social security, and the deficit: hearing before the ...,
By United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Aging
v. 19 - 1985
Pg. 82:
Fiscal child abuse. That is a strong term, but that is exactly what a decade long string of $200 billion deficits amounts to. Every year we run a deficit this size means another $10,000 in extra taxes that every child will have to pay over his or her lifetime, just to cover the interest costs.

16 January 1986, Chicago (IL) Tribune, sec. 1, pg. 18:
Deficit spending is ‘fiscal child abuse,’ novel lawsuit charges
By George E. Curry
A lawsuit supported by the National Taxpayers Union and two state attorney generals has been filed on behalf of 60 million children, charging that deficit spending benefits today’s adults at the expense of youth who will have to bear the…

Google Books
A report card on the U.S. economy: hearings before the Subcommittee
By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs. Subcommittee
1986
Pg. 123:
Rudy Penner, the highly respected head of the Congressional Budget Office, calls it “fiscal child abuse.”

Google Books
HEARINGS BEFORE THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
1986
Pg. 19:
Somebody called it fiscal child abuse, and I think that is not a bad term. So deficits are costly, deficits are dangerous, and under those circumstances,...

Google Books
HEARINGS BEFORE THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
1986
Pg. 899:
And isn’t it time to stop shortchanging the future by stunting growth and running up huge foreign debts in what Rudy Penner calls “fiscal child abuse”?

Google News Archive
25 August 1986, Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), “Social Security: It’s more than a retirement program” by Richard D. Hyde, pg. 17, col. 1:
The expression “child abuse” has, unfortunately, become an addition to our language over the last decade as the news media seem to report one atrocity after another. Last year Congressman John Porter, of Illinois, took this expression one step further and coined, “fiscal child abuse.” What he was speaking about, however, was the national debt and the unfunded future liability of Social Security, federal pensions, and other entitlement programs.

9 April 1987, Biddleford (ME) Journal Tribune, pg. 14, col. 5:
Rep. John C. Bott, an Orono Republican who co-sponsored the measure, said its passage would “send a message” to Congress that Maine is concerned for future American taxpayers. Left unchecked, the deficit amounts to “fiscal child abuse” in future generations, he said.

Google Books
Facing Up:
How to rescue the economy from crushing debt and restore the American dream

By Peter G. Peterson
New York, NY: SImon & Schuster
1993
Pg. 220:
Our deficits are a kind of fiscal child abuse. We need to balance the budget not just to help the future but to stop doing it massive harm — harm that will make a future of merely stagnant living standards appealing by comparison.

Google Books
In Front of the Children:
Screen entertainment and young audiences

By Cary Bazaigette
London: British Film Institute
1995
Pg. 89:
I first heard the term ‘fiscal child abuse’ on Adam Smith’s Journal, which was broadcast on KCET, the PBS station in Los Angeles, on 1 November 1992.

Google Books
The People’s Budget:
A common sense plan for shrinking the government in Washington

By Edwin L. Dale, et al.
Washington, DC: Regnery Publishers
1995
Pg. 27:
... interest burden will be borne by our children and grandchildren— a situation that the Cato Institute has aptly termed “fiscal child abuse.”

Google Books
Social Security:
Time for a change

By Kevin Stephenson
Greenwich, CT: JAI Press
1995
Pg. 198:
call all of this “fiscal child abuse,” in violation of the intergenerational equity that has always been a principle of life in the United States.

Google Books
P.S.: the autobiography of Paul Simon
By Paul Simon
Chicago, IL: Bonus Books
1999
Pg. 364:
In 1995 the constitutional amendment fell two votes short of getting the required two-thirds majority. One of those who switched from opposition to support, Senator Bill Cohen of
Maine, now Secretary of Defense, called deficit spending “fiscal child abuse,” an appropriate analogy.

PERRspectives
February 25, 2009
WSJ’s Stephen Moore Accuses Obama of “Fiscal Child Abuse”
No doubt, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s disastrous Republican response to President Obama’s address to Congress will go down as one of the more bizarre episodes in American political oratory. But perhaps even more disturbing and dishonest was the charge by the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that Obama’s $787 billion economy recovery package constituted “fiscal child abuse.” As it turns out, Moore has been hurling that same slander for at least a decade, all the while ignoring the endless sea of red ink Republicans Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush left future generations. 

Carpe Diem
Friday, February 27, 2009
Cartoon of the Day: Fiscal Child Abuse
(A mountain of “DEBT” is shown. A father says to his son: “SOMEDAY, ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS.”—ed.)

Think Progress
By Ali Frick on Mar 31st, 2009 at 5:41 pm
Sanford: It would be ‘fiscal child abuse’ to accept millions of stimulus dollars for education.
As Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) continues to wage an ideological war against $700 million of sorely-needed stimulus funds for his state, he has become more and more desperate to stave off his critics. Tonight on Glenn Beck’s Fox show, Sanford claimed that accepting the funds — 80 percent of which would fund education in his state — would be akin to “fiscal child abuse”:
(...)
SANFORD: Since we don’t have any of this money that’s now being dispensed from Washington, DC; since we’re going out and printing money and we’re issuing debt to solve a problem that was created by too much debt; since that’s taking place, and since those costs will be borne by the next generation, in fact it is sort of fiscal child abuse to do what we’re doing.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, August 24, 2009 • Permalink