The fear of burdening our grandchildren with debt, we are forever being told, is the reason why there is a need to return to a budget surplus.
Few argue with the proposition, most only quibble about the speed to reach a surplus.
But not since the days of the flat earthers have so many unquestionably swallowed such nonsense.
Clearly if the Jones borrow long term from the Smiths, the younger members of the latter family may suffer a reduced standard of living by having to repay the debt, compared to the older members who received the benefits of the loan.
That certainly applies where the older members simply consumed the benefits.
It is less obvious when the benefits are of an enduring nature. Borrowing to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge would have few detractors on this score, especially given hindsight.
To extrapolate a family situation to the whole economy is however, complete nonsense, another example of the fallacy of composition, not unfamiliar in economics.