Although the US population is not aging as quickly as Europe's or east Asia's, it is aging nonetheless, and the benefits that will accrue to an ever larger older population are coming under scrutiny. President Obama's Deficit Commission, headed by former Senator Alan Simpson, has proposed raising the full retirement age even higher than it currently is (which is higher already than in most European countries). This would involve "a gradual increase in the Social Security retirement age to 68 by 2050 and 69 by 2075, using a less generous cost-of-living adjustment for the programs and increasing the cap on to Social Security taxes." There are also plans to reduce the costs of Medicare in a variety of ways.
The consensus seems to be that the various components of this plan are unlikely to be passed soon, but it is important to have them out on the table. We have known for a long time that the aging of the Baby Boomers was going to cause fiscal problems, but very little has been done to prepare for that time, and of course that time has now arrived.
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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