Are We Setting the Elderly Up for Benefits Reductions, Lower Quality of Life?

Beginning with the Reagan Administration, there has been a steady, incrementally-successful movement under way to rig the economic and political system against the interests of the bulk of the U.S. population.  People in perhaps the bottom four income quintiles are now paying a disproportionate share of taxes in comparison to the top 20 percent, which amounts to an income redistribution toward the wealthy classes.  At the same time, most Americans are receiving fewer benefits for the taxes they do pay, which is resulting in a lower quality of life as measured by health care availability, educational opportunity, employment income and housing affordability.

At this time, two targets of the plutocratic, ruling class are Medicare and Social Security.  Pay attention to the steady “drum beat” of dire warnings about the coming of the budget-busting, elderly hoard.  It is important for all citizens to inform themselves about the demographics of the U.S. population and the realities of Social Security and Medicare financing.

An Aug. 17, 2009, column by Ross Douthat–one of a bevy of conservative columnists for the New York Times (along with David Brooks and Tom Friedman)–is one good example of the propaganda perpetrated on an unsuspecting public by conservatives. In an ageist, “blaming-the-elderly,” ill-informed, insulting column, “Telling Grandma ‘No,”  Douthat put out the following false information:  “…by 2030, there will be more Americans over 65 than under 18….”

We have to be on watch for this type of propaganda. 

Here is the truth:

According to the Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, the percentage of our population under age 18 will be 23.51%, while the percentage of those 65 and over will be 19.3%.  After 2030, these percentages will change very little. By 2050, those under age 18 will constitute 23.14%, while those 65+ will account for 20.17% of the U.S. population.  This leaves approximately 57% of the population as potential wage earners who will be funding their own future benefits of Social Security and Medicare.

This should hardly be viewed as a major, unabsorable shock to the U.S. budget. Indeed, it should be much much less of a problem for our country’s coffers than continuing to finance the folly of war, bank bailouts, give-aways to the pharmaceutical industry and the military-industrial complex welfare programs.

(I will write more about the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds in later posts.)

0 thoughts on “Are We Setting the Elderly Up for Benefits Reductions, Lower Quality of Life?

  1. Thanks, Dave, for doing the leg work. I’d rather rant and rave, than actually do the research.

    I’ll pass your blog information on to my friends – and foes – here in Richmond.