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Monday, December 10, 2012

Bad Choices

 

 

If two people are dying from liver disease, one 25, the other 65, and there’s only one liver available for transplant, the old one dies.

 

There’s one economic variable that’s highly predictable; demographics. In all of the industrial countries the aging population is now weighing on the economic outcome. Japan was the first country to go down the tubes from this phenomenon. Europe is behind Japan, but rapidly catching up.

 

The US has a huge headache with an aging population. The number of oldsters is big, and rapidly rising. Add to the size of the aging US population the fact that the promises made to these people are enormous. Other countries, like Canada, Russia and even China are struggling with the problem.

 

The USA is in now in year three of what will prove to be a twenty-year mega-trend of an aging population. These facts have been know for a long time, I’m amazed that the US has been so slow to come to grips with the implications of what is clearly in our future. Thanks to the Fiscal Cliff debate, the financial implications of the graying of America are now being discussed, and Washington is talking about “solutions”.

 

So what are the solutions that the deciders are zeroing in on? Simple. The proposals (and what we will get) are extensions of the ages that benefits become available. Both sides have suggested that pushing out the age for Medicare and Social Security benefits for an additional two years is appropriate. The Administration has said it would be willing to do this; John Boehner (and other big Republicans) has flat-out insisted that it happen.

 

At some point in the next year (I don’t think this will be part of the fiscal cliff resolution) the eligibility changes will take place. The changes will be phased in over 10-15 years. When the ink is dry on the new laws, the bean counters in Washington will declare success. The end result will be a 3-4 year extension of the lives of both the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

 

Where does this “fix” take the country? That’s easy to forecast. Older people will be forced to stay in the workforce for years longer. The retirement age will be pushed out, the benefit checks will also be smaller on a relative basis. (There will be cuts to inflation adjustments) Once again, the deep thinkers in D.C. are “okay” with making old folks wait for a few years for benefits; the thinking is that people live longer, so make them work longer.

 

My fear is that the solution to one problem is going to spill over and aggravate another problem. The fix on retirement benefits will cause a long-term erosion of youth unemployment. That outcome could prove more devastating than the aging problem.

 

Its not hard to find evidence that these big trends are already moving the needle. Last Friday’s NFP is a case in point. Zero Hedge has the details (Link) and (Link). This chart shows what happened in November. A disaster for those 22-54, the 55-69 group were the winners.

 

 

It wasn’t just November. Consider the changes since 2009.

 

 

 

What does a government do when it is faced with high youth unemployment? It sends them to school with borrowed money. This won’t work much longer:

 

 

This is the worst kind of whack-a-mole problem solving. Washington will take steps to address the fiscal consequences of the aging population, but those steps will create a multi-decade drag on what is already a serious problem.

 

 

 

We are far from the point where the rules on transplants should apply to actions on economic policy, but we’re getting closer. The policy choices that are being made today are running counter to the rules on transplants. They favor old over young. We are a long way from being balanced on this issue; longer still toward policies that actually tip the scales to the next few generations.

 

If you asked the question, “How do we create opportunities for younger workers?” The answer would be to lower the retirement age. Create the opportunity for upward mobility. We are on a path 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

 

I don’t see a way around this. Demographic changes are powerful forces. The problem is we are on the third rung of a twenty-foot steep ladder, and we’re already making bad choices.

 

Comments

  1. Bruce, are you not changing your position on raising the retirement age? I thought in other posts you said it was important to do so.

    • No, he has never advocated raising it. In one article he cited a CBO(I believe) study which showed it was pretty much negligable differences but in fact, lower the age would be better.

  2. Let’s say we have enough glue and wood to repair one violin. Your choice is a student’s violin or a Stradivarius. I hope you choose wisely.

    I knew a woman who died on a waiting list for a liver transplant. She raised her kids and she raised foster kids. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in theology. When she told her kids, “When Momma studies, everyone studies” they all got their homework done. She did all this while the wife of a Marine sergeant. She has grown kids in the Air Force and Army. She was working on the next generation when she died.

    All that was thrown away by the gods of the transplant organs. First they told her she was too weak for a transplant. They told her what to do to improve her condition. When her condition improved the told her she was good enough that she could wait for a transplant. She died waiting.

    • Your argument seems to be with the doctors, not the common sense Bruce is trying lay out here. From a simple perspective, a young person will get more use out of a transplanted organ than an older one will, as they have more years to live. So, the younger one should get the transplant first.

      No one is saying your friend wasn’t deserving of a transplant. Your one example doesn’t make the statement false. Why not just say we should start rationing healthcare based on who YOU think needs or deserves it? I’m sure we can find plenty of idiots getting care in the hospitals who “don’t deserve it” today. That’ll solve our healthcare problem right there! To quote you… “I hope you choose wisely”.

      • So age alone is the determining factor? There are plenty of criminals, sycophants, and deadbeats who are relatively young. Go ahead and give them the transplants and kill the those who are still productive, loyal, and moral. I hope you choose wisely.

    • “Who gets a transplant” is an easy problem to solve: to get on the list someone must pay a “deposit” and put the funds for the future operation in an escrow account. First come, first served. Sorry if this seems “unfair” but life is not fair, after all you could have been born a poor peasant in some shithole country that has no “list” at all. At least living in in a country where such lists exist, you have a chance. If you can’t come up with the money, well sucks to be you.

  3. Bruce, what do you think can be done to address these problems? (that is politically feasible)

  4. Another option that was previously rejected is lowering the Medicare eligibility age..

    A very large percentage of these 55+ yr/old workers are holding onto employment for the medical benefits.
    Many responsible and prudent older-aged workers are ready to retire early, but simply cant afford to cover the costs of private insurance before Medicare kicks in…

    • Lower the medicare age? That is the dumbest idea yet — you must be a government twit

      How do you plan to pay for the existing system, never mind expanding it?

      • 30% of Medicare expenditures go towards end of life care. Cost to add younger, healthier recipients is minimal compared to what we are spending on the final year of life for people who will not “recover” to go on and be productive for many more years. The real conversation to be had here involves end of life care and no one wants to have it.

        • And the younger recipients would be thrilled to pay full ride cost (no subsidy) for Medicare coverage starting at 55 versus trying to get private insurance.

  5. Employment is not a zero sum game. Old people working doesn’t mean opportunities can’t exist for young people. It’s not like there’s a fixed number of jobs out there. If you want more jobs and a stronger economy, you need an environment that is conducive to business. Everything that the administration is doing is anti business. Get used to high unemployment, zero growth, a declining currency and a bloated public sector. The only big problem is whether the economy should reward ambitious entrepreneurial types (i.e. capitalism) or whether we want a big government nanny state. If you make the right choice there, all other problems disappear. Make the wrong choice and nothing else matters. Just ask Greece.

    • In support.

      Jobs are not generic, aggregate, or fixed in any way. A “job” is an activity which produces valuable, consumable or intermediate results. You can give yourself a job, if you can find a way to sell your work-product. More usually, you join a group and share in the results by receiving a salary.

      By the way, it is the government which makes it hard for individuals or small groups to produce. The blanket of rules favors large businesses, who can file forms, meet regulations, and bend the rules politically to survive.

      The government cannot allocated jobs to the young by paying people to retire, or worse, forcing them to retire. Conceivably, the government could make employees so scarce that their wages would go up. General prosperity, production, and market prices would also go up.

      Older people are hired because they have experience and attitudes which even compensate for their somewhat lower energy. Younger people are not hired because businesses are not expanding under our regulatory, tax, and medical-care environment. Take away the ability to profit, and people will not take a chance on expanding by hiring the unproven young. Ironically, this hurts the less-productive people the most, those commonly called the poor.

    • Correction: Market prices would also go up. General prosperity and production would decline.

  6. Bruce has it right about *lowering* the retirement age, but people seem unable to grasp what that means. It means industries have to be subsidized that increase employment. It means government investment in appropriate technological development. It means having a far better educational system to develop mastery in new technologies and economic thinking. It means, without a doubt, being willing to pay higher taxes…..*much* higher taxes.

    Without mustering that political will, we’ll be demographic toast.

  7. Bruce,

    “If two people are dying from liver disease, one 25, the other 65, and there’s only one liver available for transplant, the old one dies.”

    What is the sixty-five year old is self supporting, a loving husband, father and grandfather? What if the sixty-five year old is productive member of society?

    What if the twenty-five year old has a long criminal history and the liver disease was brought on from abusing alcohol?

    “If you asked the question, ‘How do we create opportunities for younger workers?’ The answer would be to lower the retirement age. Create the opportunity for upward mobility. We are on a path 180 degrees in the opposite direction.”

    The more people retire, the more rely on the social safety net.

    • Those who have drug problems or alcohol don’t get on the list.

      Age is not the only criteria in this that matters. It is an import factor.

      • unless you’re Mickey Mantle

      • Bruce – Are you kidding?? Ever hear of Mickey Mantle or Larry Hagman? Two notorious drunks and two liver transplant recipients.

      • If age mattered then Dick Cheney wouldn’t have gotten a new heart.

        Unfortunately, here in the U.S., the sickest who are still viable candidates get priority, even if someone slightly less sick could use the organ for a much longer period of time.

        Realistically, Cheney will be lucky to get five years – my uncle, who needed a new heart around age 50, got nearly 20 years from his recycled heart.

  8. “My fear is that the solution to one problem is going to spill over and aggravate another problem. The fix on retirement benefits will cause a long-term erosion of youth unemployment. That outcome could prove more devastating than the aging problem.”

    Y’know what’s interesting? A lot of liberals would agree with the above statement. But at the same time, be rabidly against any significant curbs to illegal and legal immigration, even though that same argument about unemployment applies to American citizens and those already legally here.

  9. Hayek von Mises says:

    Bruce, Interesting, but seems to miss a facet. Other things equal, a young worker costs an employer less than an older worker. Employers aren’t supposed to age-discriminate, but at first blush would seem to save money if they could. Nevertheless, older workers are being kept on, in part because they offer greater experience, wisdom, work ethic, people skills, etc., i.e., today’s young adults offer a less promising pool of candidates. As the senior workers do retire, their replacements offer less individual productivity than those they’re supposed to be replacing. It’s not just the numbers of workers, it’s also the relative levels of their productivity. We’ll be moving more productive seniors into the wagon, and expecting fewer, individually less productive workers to pull them (as well as those young adults’ totally unproductive peers). Fix that. : )

  10. If we can get more good-paying jobs here in the U.S., we won’t have to worry about what age are the people who hold them. We need to rebuild our infrastructure & could hire people to do that. But people think government spending is bad for the budget. It only is bad for it if it is made permanent. We should build the infrastructure, let people have jobs for at least a while, & also find ways to stimulate job creation that work longer term. Maybe the infrastructure builder employees would even start spending some money & start stimulating demand, causing businesses to expand.

  11. Why does everyone assume the econimy is a zero sum game? The economy can grow so more people have jobs. It’s not a “I have a job so you can’t have one” game. The solution is to expand the economy. Sitting around on your duffs complaining about not having opportunities or decrying the unfairness of it all does nothing. Listening to the theatrics in DC and subscribing to the hype of the mass media will not help either! Getting out there and taking risks, being willing to work a crappy job for a while, cutting back and sharing expeses is how we did it when I was a kid.

    Sure, taxes are going to go up and benefits are going to go down and quite possibly nothing positive is going to happen in the job market for a long time. If so, that’s because the american public is by definition insane; We keep do the same thing over and over (elect worthless people to congress) and expect different results.

  12. What does lowering the retirement age accomplish? We free up some jobs, and add massive retirement costs when we can’t afford to maintain the current retirement system? How does that benefit the old or the young?

    To “solve” (not really) the demographic problem, we would have to execute people at whatever age — freeing up “their” job and also freeing up “their” retirement expenses. I am pretty sure the greedy boomers are not going to vote for that, not to mention it smacks of central planning (which always fails).

    Much as I despise the greedy boomers and their quest to “borrow” endless amounts off someone else’s credit — and falsely label this borrowing as “growth”, while having no intention of ever paying the debts back — these are humans and in many cases they are our parents / grandparents. Even the slimy, unethical, useless government bureaucrats are somebody’s relatives.

    We need to focus on creating economically productive jobs and honest economic growth. That means no borrowing trillions and calling it growth — if the borrowed money does not produce enough cashflow to pay back all principal on said debt (with interest), then it is a stupid idea by definition. It also means that all forms of welfare work — government jobs and union makework jobs, called for by legislation or legal contract instead of economic demand — needs to be minimized. When the government doesn’t hold a meeting, then some paperwork goes missing and 99% of the population doesn’t even notice. When the lineworkers at your electrical utility don’t do their job, your neighborhood goes dark and everyone notices. Linework is a real job, drawing a paycheck from government is NOT A JOB. medical doctor or teacher is a real job — but hospital administrator or university president is overhead. Our country has overpaid administrators while short changing real workers for decades

    Fixing demographics will require that healthcare costs get honestly addressed — something the criminal class in Washington doesn’t grasp because they expense everything to others (ie the taxpayer). ObamaCare is 100% about creating more government jobs (aka unnecessary overhead) — it hires 16,000 additional IRS agents, but not a single doctor or nurse. Everyone who supports ObamaCare hates their children (that is who will inherit the debt for this failed experiment) and is trying to kill sick people — shame on all of you and that bitch from San Fransisco who helped you commit the crime.

    Ask yourself how much taxes get paid by non-profits like universities, lobbying groups / PACs, religious entity owned real estate, and even giant hospital chains …. ZERO. As a country, we voted to tax the crap out of dirty manufacturing jobs, and voted to give subsidies (aka tax free status) to these non-profits with wildly varying benefits to society. Hospital administrators get paid seven figures, while nurses get $40K. Guess which profession you actually need when you are sick? Why does the country subsidize overhead and penalize productivity?

    And now the socialist in the white house wants to make villains out of “the rich” — evil business owners who create jobs and pay taxes. No politician is talking about sending a single bankster to prison, its all about taxing the evil rich folk. Tax and destroy the national savings base.

    So our country is now infested with overhead and debt. We are nearly out of long term savings, workers who know how to *do stuff* (any monkey can hold meetings that go on forever)

    We got the very problem that we keep voting for.

    • Excellent rant! There are actually 2 bees with an itch out here..the whole govt. is a crooked rigged ponzi scheme..why don’t we cut the waste and get rid of 518 crooks and offer mom’s a job at 50K a year…they can budget, cut expenses, work with various crybaby govt. departments and fix the US better than the screwballs up there now…

  13. some seem to forget this is america! we make jobs by enabling capitalism. the reason we are in trouble is progressively more government not private jobs, nanny state payments and programs, nanny state save the banks that went broke with capitalism and weren’t allowed to die and free enterprise to work! demographics will hurt for a time too as we have become so spoiled and lazy we don’t have young to replace us. cut government ,army by 1/3. cut all nanny payments by 1/2 no more helping banks and cheaters ,let them go broke.Cut rules so we and rea lbusinesses can be free to produce according to our ambition and capabilities. some will be richer some will be poorer everyone will have a chance. Be like iceland, have the balls to throw the bums out POliticians and bankers,those that don’t work .minor safety net for those who legitimately need short term help.take our licks repair our country and get on with the greatest show on earth! AMERICA.

  14. Gotta hate those greedy boomers, like me. Let’s see….I left home at 17 with nothing. I’ve served 4 years in the military. I started, and operated for several decades, businesses that supplied jobs to many young people. Since I was self-employed, I paid double (almost 15%) for SS and Medicare. I’ve never drawn unemployment, or government assistance of any kind. I guess when you look at it, I am sorta greedy…for some reason, since I’ve paid a huge gob of taxes all my life, and my neighbors, through their government, promised a SS check, I sorta thought their word was good, and I’d get one. Yup…I’m greedy.
    Jim

    • JIm — you personally might not be greedy (or good at the shift key) … but your generation as a whole as a worthless bunch of locusts.

      When your generation came of age, the USA was the largest creditor in the world. US companies like GE, GM, IBM, Bethlehem Steel, Kodak, Citibank, Chase Manhattan, etc were *THE* global players in their respective industries. Nothing else came close

      As your locust generation approaches age 65 and thinks it will just live off the fat of the land — the US is the largest debtor the world has ever known, with perennial deficits as far as the eye can see. Pensions were promised but never properly funded. Many dominant US corporations are now either bankrupt or quasi government entities that need on-going taxpayer support to remain “in business” (but not really). Steve Jobs / Apple Computer is the lone exception that proves the rule that baby boomers are lousy at running business (lets not mention John Sculley almost wrecked the lone exception)

      That is your greedy inept generations legacy, whether you like hearing it or not. You personally might be the exception that proves the rule — I don”t know you. But your generation as a group is a greedy swarm of locusts

      And while we are on the subject .. you paid into SS and thought ???WHO’S??? word was good? Your generation’s word?? Boomers have been running the government and the SS fund. You thought your deadbeat generation was going to pay its debts? HA HA HA HA HA!

      If you want your generation to have a different legacy: Feel free to write a check for $85 trillion (in current dollars, not the worthless pesos Bernanke prints). Also build 10 globally dominant companies to replace the ones your generation ran into the ground

      • Why should I care about the legacy of people who happened to be born about the same time I was? I could care less. All I care about is my family, and they are well cared-for. I have seen the stupidity of my contemporaries. Has nothing to do with me, except they’re about my age…so what. I see stupidity at all ages….and it’s getting worse. I only take issue with you lumping all the people together simply because of date-of-birth. Says more about you then it does me. I know many people just like me. people who worked hard, played by the rules others laid down. Now we are getting old. many of us like me, have sick bodies after a lifetime of hard, physical labor. We’re going to get screwed by the system, and to top it off, along with getting screwed, we have to listen to fat mouths like you talking about how it’s all our fault. I got the same treatment in my military years. The VN war was the fault of the people being forced to go fight it. I know your type very well…been dealing with it a good chunk of my life. I’ve had my say. That’s it. And as for my poor writing skills…I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a college education. Sorry I don’t measure up.
        Jim

        • Jim Nelson (1st post): “Gotta hate those greedy boomers, like me. ”

          Jim Nelson (2nd post): “Why should I care about the legacy of people who happened to be born about the same time I was?”

          As for the selfish/greedy characterization of people who happened to be born about the same time, Jim has this to say: “All I care about is my family, and they are well cared-for. ”

          Your generation took out a loan on the family silver (spent that), then sold the family silver (spent that too), and then took out even more “debt” (you labeled it Keynesian stimulus) and spent that as well. Your generation ran world class company after world class company into the ground — building only Apple Computer (one company) in their place.

          Call it tough love or a reality check or one of those Dr Phil moments: you are part of a generation of deadbeats. You will get the retirement that YOU DID NOT SAVE FOR. You have only yourselves to blame. Electing a socialist president to blow wind up your collective skirt is great, but he is just an enabler of your debt addiction — an addiction that you are passing on to your children (see student debt fiasco).

          That is your legacy Jim, and despite all your protests — it obviously has you very upset. Now lets see if you are going to pout and have a temper tantrum, or will you do something about it? First step: stop repeating the same errors over and over and over. Stop believing in a free lunch (wishing the government will fix it is just a different way of saying you want a free lunch). The government was much smaller in earlier generations, and the economy grew much faster. Not a coincidence. We didn’t have endless non-profit entities avoiding property taxes and income taxes alike — and the economy grew much faster. Also not a coincidence. We didn’t have massive government run welfare systems (small, austere religious efforts was it) — we used to believe in hard work, not handouts.

          In the middle 1960s, we had Woodstock, baby boomers came of age, and the US created the mother of all welfare states. A few years later, the US government started running perennial spending deficits (Clinton’s *budget* surpluses were an accounting irregularity from the dot-com boom and his failure to address the growing al-qaeda problem). In the years since, the government has gotten bigger EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Even Reagan had the government expand, whatever his speeches might have contained. Every year, consumer debt expanded (still is). Social Security was never properly funded at all, and what little was put into the “trust fund” was immediately spent on political pork projects. And Baby Boomers were the ones in the CEO suite. Boomers were running Govt Electric, Govt Motors, etc — and guess what generation Lloyd Blankfein, Henry Paulson, Tim Geithner, Richard Fuld, and all the other banksters are?

          That is your generation’s legacy Jim. You should be embarrassed. Hopefully I got you mad enough that you might try to fix it

          • @Greg … If history is any guide, the baby boomers will dodge their obligations with high inflation (Bernanke Pesos). Inflation is the ultimate form of default, and judging from the British Empire and Rome, usually precedes a regime collapse… I should clarify actually — inflation collapsed the Roman empire of 1000 years ago. The Brussels Empire(EU) is a default still in progress

          • Greg – Wow, you are quite the crybaby. It is becoming tiresome reading these kinds of posts on some of the blogs I frequent. You clearly haven’t lived enough of life yet to realize a BASIC fundamental: human behavior is the SAME AS IT EVER WAS.

            People react and respond to their circumstances and incentives. It is no more complicated than that and after you’ve breathed another 15 or 20 years (maybe longer for you) you will understand that simple truth.

            My parents, in their late 80’s, the “Greatest Generation”? NO, (but it was a nice marketing hook for Tom Brokaw) they simply responded to a fairly tough set of circumstances in the early/mid part of the last century. That’s it….same as anyone else would.

            My boomer crowd? There are lots of solid citizens….and yeah, also plenty of greedy types and dopes. But, I see nothing more impressive or formidable in the generation or so behind me. I just see more people…same as they ever were. Except this newer bunch are as vacuous, celebrity-addicted and i-shit dependent as anything fathomable. Yes, they are also responding to their circumstances. Tis too bad that THEY don’t seem to rise above all that junk.

            ~ Grow up, Greg. That will hold you in much better stead than trying to provide history lessons to people WHO LIVED THE ERA. And in due time, your generation will have their own ample opportunity to fuck things up royally themselves. I imagine that you’re up to the task. Cheers.

            • @M Thatcher — fucking Brits got kicked out of the USA 200 years ago for a reason. They don’t teach you about the british army’s many defeats in British schools

            • At the end of the 19th century (~1899), the sun never set on the british empire. It was THE global economic and military super-power. By 1942 (within one generation), London was a bombing range for V-2 rockets and Winston Churchill was writing in his private diary that England was within weeks of defeat.

              M Thatcher shows the kind of thinking that got England from global power to has-been, and the kind of thinking that will yield the same results in the USA.

              Cheers asshole!!!

            • Nice job M Thatcher … I always say: if you can’t win a debate on merit, attack the messenger instead

              • Gee whiz — Greg, Bubba and Krug, you guys are some testy fellas.

                1 – I am as American as apple pie (just happen to admire Ms. Thatcher)
                2 – Stop feeling so put upon and get creative about what you’re going to do with the set of circumstances that is your life and the current world. You don’t have it worse than others.

                The “Greatest Generation” shoved young men into wars in Vietnam and Korea. It cost tens of thousands of LIVES and left many families fatherless. And I’m sure women and minorities would have plenty to say about what went on in the 20th century, brought about by an older generation. And, yes, there are the Boomers (my group) and a rather embarrassing lot many of them are. I don’t recognize the values some of them embrace….they aren’t mine. And they’ve done alot of selfish things, no doubt.

                But, you guys seemed to miss what I think I articulated well. Humans are BASIC creatures that respond to their environment and the incentives in place. And, trust me, I DO WISH I could say I see some vastly illuminated crew coming down the pike. But, they’re are also just people (being very successfully marketed to by Boomers, interestingly). And they will excel and achieve things and also screw up and destroy things….like people always have. You’ll see.

          • Greg – Your math is all wrong for many of us. According to my social security statement, it is a fact that I will never get back what I and my employers put in for me, and that doesn’t even include interest! The great moochers are the CURRENT retirees, who put almost nothing into the system and are getting 6X what they put in.

  15. Bruce,
    How much impact to the employment numbers do you think is influenced by the boomers moving from 54 to 55 versus Gen Y moving from 21 to 22?

    • Don’t know. These are big trends. I don’t think the one year flip is significant.

      • I mean the year to year changes. There is a big trend of boomers moving out of the 22 – 54 group and into the 55+ group. Could part of the change in employment data be the fact that for the last several years more boomers are moving into the 55+ group than Gen Y’s are moving into the 22 – 54 group?

  16. Look at how many groups are advantaged by the old dying sooner than expected.

    The young people could get jobs more readily. The children of the oldsters would receive their inheritance earlier and don’t have to take care of Grandma or Grandpa as they live to 90-95. The government’s upside down outlays for SS and Medicare improve. Hell, many of the old ones themselves would probably be glad to go now rather than drag it out.

    All that has to be done is to develop a comfortable method of self-delivered termination and create the stealth propaganda to worm it into the consciousness of the population over a number of years. It can become “just part of managing the life experience”. Just another form of “choice”. That one worked pretty well for the unborn, right?

    I am not advocating this, I just think it is inevitable. There are too many groups that would be advantaged by the availability of a quick exit for those elderly who would be willing to take it.

  17. One overlooked factor – too many young people + not enough jobs = military conflicts around the world to give them something to do.

    • @BigDwayne — Your scenario worked great for Iran. The Shah kept expanding government, arresting people under the guise of the TSA or the ATF or whatever. Drones hadn’t been invented yet, but history shows the CIA helped the Shah oppress young people all over Iran — fight the commies / terrorists.

      And that worked great!!! How is the shah these days anyway?

  18. LOL…Why do I own this generation? And I couldn’t care less about how somebody I don’t know thinks about my “legacy”. You should learn to put that hate where it belongs. As it is you’re just a hack for the government. The politicians caused this mess, and you posting this diatribe at a group of people that only have one thing in common…age, is doing nothing but masking what the so-called leaders have done….which is exactly what they want. As far as what I saved, or didn’t. I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid. I was almost certain that SS would be but a pittance. I didn’t drive a new car every two years, or buy more house than I could afford. I can get by without SS. It would cause me to cut back, but I’ve got room to cut back. You see, I always knew this was coming. I was arguing with people from the generation before about the lack of money in SS. I was doing that as far back as 25 years ago.Even now people are so stupid they don’t want to take a real look at where we are. Nor do they want to see where we’re really headed. What’s funny is how badly the few baby boomers who saved money are now being screwed by the government’s loose money policy. Those of us who saved thought we might do OK with some interest income, and a few investments….doesn’t look like it now. And who is getting the benefit of those loose dollars? I don’t know, but it isn’t me…I’m a lender, not a borrower.
    So you can group me with some stupid people…based on my age. Or maybe you can find another reason to do it…so be it. But you’re completely wrong when you say I helped cause the problem. Or that all baby-boomers did. People are just people…some good, some selfish. You can’t group them by any definition. And when you do, you look stupid. And, just to set the record straight, I’m still working, and still paying in. And, there are a lot of really decent people who happen to be my age, but don’t let a little thing like that get in the way of your hate. I refuse to accept the label you’d like to paste on my back.
    Jim

    • Jim – You just keep on….keeping on. These whiney youngsters somehow thought life was supposed to be a gravy train. Guess again.

  19. This could be from a sterio type boomer or even a person over 65

    I bought imported cars and helped fuel the traded deficits
    I bought a 12MPH SUV and sent money to OPEC
    I stormed school boards meetings demanding more spending, it’s for the children.
    I voted for the same slugs over and over or didn’t bother to vote.
    I sold my vote to anyone who promised low taxes and knew they where using the trust fund money to pay the bills.
    I cheered on low prices at China-mart.
    I made excuses for hiring illegal immigrants, they are only taking jobs no americans will do.

    I
    I
    I
    I
    I
    me,me,me

    Reality is there is $19 trillion in unpaid bills and no trust fund

    $11 trillion in treasury bonds
    $3 trillion in muni bonds
    $5 trillion in unfunded retirement cost for the 20 million state & local government employee’s including school employee’s

    The ME Generation had one big party for over 30 years and now that the bill showed up they all say it wasn’t ME.

    all debt when reagan took office was $5 trillion, personal debt, corporate debt and government debt, federal,state & local.
    now it’s $55 trillion.

    The illusion of McMansion nation during most of the last 30 years was based on debt and more debt while making bigger promises to retiree’s than the middle aged and young could ever pay and still have a decent standard of living themselves. The real economy was destroyed and exported.

    America’s economy could be fixed but first the spoiled brat ME Generation has to grow up an act like adults.
    Some of the boomers and some of the people now over 65 led the charge and the rest of the population drank the koolaid they where serving while believing those people knew what they where doing.
    Education koolaid
    New economy koolaid
    Global economy koolaid
    People chugged it all down and asked for more.

    It’s time America grows up and faces reality instead of crying and saying not me and playing some silly blame game. We The People have a mess and We The People need to stop crying and suck it up and fix the problem. United we stand, divided we fall. We are all on the hook and in this together and it’s going to take everyone doing the best they can do to help fix the problem. This don’t look at me, I didn’t cause the problem isn’t going to fix the problem. Make somebody else pay doesn’t add up because no single group can bail out the rest of the people. The math just doesn’t work.

  20. Wow. This discussion went downhill fast.