Future Scenarios: Predetermined Elements

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Notes from a discussion about predetermined elements with Jeff Park.

The predetermined elements we discussed are:

  1. The economic depression of the Millennial generation
  2. The baby boomer generation getting aging out of the working class and living a longer than previous generations

Current condition: We can’t pay for things

Jeff and I discussed how the interactions between the two predetermined elements are leading to…

  • Social program costs will become an even higher portion of federal spending. It is already over half of the budget.
  • Increasing overall healthcare costs because baby boomers are living very long with increasing health care costs
  • Millennials caught between taking on student debt and stagnant income growth

But from 1960 to 2060, our pyramid will turn into a rectangle. We’ll have almost as many Americans over age 85 as under age 5. This is the result of longer life spans and lower birthrates. It’s uncharted territory, not just for us, but for all of humanity. And while it’s certainly good news over the long haul for the sustainability of the earth’s resources, it will create political and economic stress in the shorter term, as smaller cohorts of working age adults will be hard-pressed to finance the retirements of larger cohorts of older ones. Pew Research

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