Battlepanda: It should be the best of times


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, December 09, 2005

It should be the best of times

Calculated Risk has put up a rather nifty animated graph of U.S. population broken up by age. You can see the hump of the baby boom rolling along as the decade goes by like a wave towards old age. This animated graph shows that we are currently in a demographic sweet spot -- there are record numbers of working citizens relative to seniors because of the way the baby boom was immediately preceded by a baby bust. It should be the best of times:

The Baby Boomers are 40 to 60 - their peak earning years.

So these are the Best of Times for fiscal policy: fewer than the normal percentage of the population are recipients of elderly social programs, and a larger than normal percentage are in their peak earning years.

Social Security should be running a large surplus, and it is!

Medicare should be running a large surplus, but it is only breaking even.

The Federal Government should be running a large surplus, but it is running a large deficit.

From the prespective of demographics, the US Government needs to address the General Fund deficit NOW. America also needs to reform the health care system. These are the two most pressing long term fiscal issues for America.

Ironically, if you want to break our fiscal situation into earmarked components instead of considering our whole position as a whole, Social Security is the one component that's secure and self-financing well into the future while everything else is a basket case. Yet the Bush administration only tried to fix the part that ain't broke. Typical. Oh, and by the way. More tax cuts all round.