After learning about generational accounting in January 2012, a group of young people who call themselves “The Can Kicks Back” (www.thecankicksback.org) organized a day of action on Capitol Hill in February to urge Congress to address the national debt in a bold, generationally balanced and bipartisan way.
The non-partisan campaign, which was launched in November 2012 and boasts 100 local chapters around the country, included generational accounting in a list of recommendations within their blueprint, “Three Smart Steps Toward Solvency.”
Not long after TCKB’s “Hill Day,” Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) filed an amendment on March 22 to the Senate’s budget resolution to plant a legislative stake in the ground on the issue. The amendment did not get a vote, but it prompted TCKB to double down on their efforts to see this policy recommendation come to life.
Soon thereafter, TCKB enlisted the help of Boston University Larry Kotlikoff, who first developed generational accounting in the 1980’s with his colleagues Alan Auerbach and Jagadeesh Gokhale. Together, they worked with Senator Thune’s staff to draft what later became the Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform Act, or INFORM Act.
With the leadership of Senator Thune, the grassroots network of The Can Kicks Back and the policy expertise of Dr. Kotlikoff, the team recruited the other original co-sponsors of the Senate bill: Senators Kaine (D-Va.), Portman (R-Ohio) and Coons (D-Del.). The INFORM Act was introduced in the United States Senate on July 24, 2013.
Despite the partisan gridlock in DC, the INFORM Act is a story of democracy working for the people.