What have been the main consequences of the “graying of America”?
5 Answers | Add Yours
The main consequence of this is the increase in the amount of spending we need to do on entitlements. The two main entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, are both programs to help retired people. As more Americans are of retirement age, we have to spend more and more on these programs. This is a major economic issue for the US right now.
The significant size of the retiring population serves to double the "focus" of assets as this age group tends to have more wealth than younger generations while also being perhaps the largest age demographic in the country.
This focus of assets affects many areas, from politics to economics, albeit in ways that remain somewhat subtle and un-discussed.
One of the problems that I see in the older generation is that when the economy turns, they have nowhere to go. If you lose your job in your early sixties, and lose your retirement savings and your house at the same time, what happens to you? Too many people are in this situation.
Older people need a lot of medical care, so health insurance and affordable health care is a major issue. Even when people do draw on their Social Security, they may have to pay taxes on it. So with the rising costs of care and people not having enough money to retire on , there are more older people living in poverty and overwhelming debt.
There is a serious political/economic consequence to the graying of America that cannot be ignored. More senior citizens means more voting power for that group. When it comes to programs like social security and medicare, which affect most senior citizens, it is proving to be difficult to make cuts that are probably necessary for the fiscal health of our country. I will soon be of the age in which I am dealing with both of those programs, and I'd certainly rather see them modified than bankrupt.
However, senior voting power is making it tough to modify them. That means that if we are going to be fiscally responsible, we might have to cut funding to other programs, such as defense, welfare, education etc. You can't blame a voting bloc for voting to protect their interests, but you have to realize that it's going to affect others. A grayer America might mean that the "not yet gray" have to make do with less.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes