Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Healthy Dose of Fear

My good friend Ben blogs over at A Healthy Dose, with some interesting, and often very personal, observations on the interaction between healthcare and culture. He flashes up some interesting stats here, with a link to more here, that imply one of two possible futures:

1) Baby Boomers retire in droves, swamp the government and corporate systems designed to ensure their retirements, and suck up an increasing share of the nation's resources.

2) Baby Boomers 'work until they drop', stay in the labor market a decade or more longer than expected, and lock up positions that otherwise would have been freed up for younger workers. (James K. Gilbraith at Foreign Policy argues that we should lower the retirement age for this reason.)

Our best hope is for a Goldilocks outcome, where enough Boomers keep working to avoid overwhelming the safety net, but enough retire to open positions for the younger unemployed. But it is just as likely that, given the number of Boomers, there will be too many retirees and too many senior workers at the same time.

Unfortunately, while our society has finally woken up to the problem, we don't seem to have the first clue what the solution to our senior citizen boom might be.

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