The biggest demographic problem we’re facing is the simple fact that the population is getting older – thanks to the baby boom in the mid-20th century, and the overall increase in life expectancy over the last century, the percentage of Americans who are over 65 is going to be increasing steadily between now and 2030. This “graying of America” will have a number of effects on our social structure, workforce, and economy. The total bill for both social security and health care is going to rise, while the number of workers per retiree is going to drop, so each worker will have to pay substantially more in taxes to cover health care and retirement benefits for their elders.
Since there are limits to the amount of money that can amicably be extracted from the working age population to support the older population, the declining ratio between the two sets real limits on future payments to the elderly – limits that are going to be politically and socially painful to deal with when we finally have to face them.
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