802 PART THIRTEEN FINAL THOUGHTS about $14,000 per person. A person who works 40 years for $25,000 a year will earn $1 million over his lifetime. His share of the government debt represents less than 2 percent of his lifetime resources. Moreover, it is misleading to view the effects of government debt in isolation. The government debt is just one piece of a large picture of how the government chooses to raise and spend money. In making these decisions over fiscal policy, policymakers affect different generations of taxpayers in many ways. The govern-ment’s budget deficit or surplus should be considered together with these other policies. For example, suppose the government uses the budget surplus to pay off the government debt instead of using it to pay for increased spending on education. Does this policy make young generations better off? The government debt will be smaller when they enter the labor force, which means a smaller tax burden. Yet if they are less well educated than they could be, their productivity and incomes will
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