Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're Being Overrun By Old People

It was bound to happen. The Boomers got old. Please note. I didn't say that they grew up. Now that, I don't think will ever happen. The Boomers got old and they're taking over some places. For example, when I visited Upstate New York this last December, we visited friends who live near Elmira and something strange struck me: there were no young people. Even in the new neighborhoods, only one or two homes had children. The rest of the homes were filled with retirees.

And here's what's happening: Business is dying. Well, it makes sense. The younger population is moving out and moving South for jobs. They're multiplying like field mice on testosterone around here, so don't fret too much. Still, the old people phenomena has disturbing implications for the Northern states. Consider this:

Hospitals are closing obstetrics wards and converting them to acute care. Local governments and other social service providers are adjusting to the emergence of entire neighborhoods where the average age is soaring, and private foundations are awarding scholarships to retain students and attract new ones.

In Pittsburgh, public school enrollment plummeted from about 70,000 two decades ago to about 30,000 and continues shrinking by about 1,000 a year.

More people are dying than being born.

Who will care for the old people? There aren't robots yet. Who will pay taxes? More money will be needed to care for people who can't care for themselves just as business moves out and young people seek work where there are jobs--in tax friendly states like Texas.

I postulated a couple years ago that there's an obvious solution: death with dignity. That's code for assisted suicide. It will be called End of Life Services. I have a great company name already thought up: Death Wishes. Nice ring to it. But seriously, the biggest generation will be relying on the smallest generation in their elder years. Social security won't last.

Eugenics doesn't appeal for moral reasons. The old people will need care, there will be a shortage of workers, pay would normally increase, but old people can't afford the expense and the government will keep wages low. It won't be very appealing to do the work for not much pay.

Any solutions?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

6 comments:

David said...

I would bet a lot of this has to do with the business climate (taxes, regulations, general government attitude toward business) in a particular state. If business is suppressed, then older people may stay because of lifelong connections, but younger people will mostly go where the opportunities are.

Bob said...

Maybe "Soylent Green" ?

:)

Sincerely,
One of those aging Boomers

kight said...

1. Demographics in the USA are not nearly as bad as in Europe.

2. I live in a suburb of New Orleans. Young adults are not returning in the same numbers as the middle aged (the elderly are not returning either for different reasons). Young adults go where there is opportunity.

3. The problem with Social Security, of course, is the lack of courage by our political leaders to reform it. It will be interesting to see what happens when the funds for SS conflict in greater severity with the funds for failed Great Society programs and middle class give aways, like farm subsidies. I think the old folks will win more often because they vote.

Kevin said...

Welcome to Greenville, SC! Where the posted speed limit is 45 mph but the actual speed never gets above 20, the cars stay centered on the white dotted lines, and you can't get through a check-out line in less than 15 minutes because two-thirds of the people are writing paper checks (PAPER CHECKS!) while their debit cards stick out of their wallets dusty and unused.

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