America's children face a bleak future, and no current Presidential candidate from either political party is admitting this fact. The primaries and caucuses so far have released repeated sound bytes to the effect that "we will reclaim the future", or, "do whatever it takes to give our kids a better future", or, "we will deliver for our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren". The closest thing to the truth is the sound byte that declares, "this is about the past versus the future". But this proximity to the truth is in the context of a political rival, and not about a generational divide. It is about the past, an entire generation born between 1946 to 1964 numbering about 78 million, whose retirement and health care benefits will be the burden of the current generation and the future children of America.
What future are these candidates referring to? Are they all blind to the fact that since the mid-sixties a decline in population has occurred, through artificial means and abortion? Families have become smaller and life expectancy has been raised from 65 years to 79 years old. This means that less people will bear the brunt of supporting an aging population. In the 1980s, those who retired were given ample support by the baby boomers, today the reverse is true. The campaign rhetoric is either ignorant of this fact or is deliberately being evaded or lied about.
The baby boomers comprise about 28% of America's adult population. This is the generation that was referred to as the "sandwiched generation" since they had to care for their parents while tending to their own kids. Their parents passed away between the ages of 65 and 72 years, and they have thus far delayed coming up with solutions to this burgeoning problem of retirement funding. Boomers presently make up the biggest share of the political, cultural, industrial, and academic class in the United States, and many hold leadership positions in these sectors.
America's children face rising taxes, declining quality of public services, antiquated and deteriorating public infrastructure like roads, sewer systems, and transportation networks. Its current young workers and children are about to be submerged by an immense income transfer from the youth to the elderly that will abnormally make it much more difficult for them to afford their own children.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, three programs that are used by older citizens, comprise 40% of Federal spending. By 2030, the point where some boomers will still be around, it could swell up to 70%. Assuming there are no huge budget deficits, the only means of maintaining other programs would be through tax increases of up to 40% from today's levels. Avoiding the tax hikes means cutting funds for other programs by 60%. The burden of increased taxes and/or depleted public services will be carried by todays young workers, not the retirees. At the State and local levels, the pressures will be felt in services such as schools, parks, police, and libraries when these are squeezed for funds to pay retirement benefits for the elderly.
Candidates are faced with a dilemma: should they unburden the young by sacrificing the old through reduction in benefits, increased premium payments, raising the retirement age? Can this decision wait, or is it imperative that benefits to boomers and other existing retirees be cut since these are the source of mounting costs? The problem is, even if the benefits were trimmed to reduce costs, the doubling of the number of retirees by 2030 will still require increased costs, albeit lesser. Can the Presidential candidates risk explaining these to the voters and take a definite stand on the issue? The present federal policies are heavily skewed in favor of the old against the young; and the past over the future. How much change there should be and in what form, must be made a central issue in the campaign. But the unpopularity of this issue, considered as political hara kiri, have caused the candidates to lapse into forced amnesia.
The rhetorics have paid lip service to the future of America's children and have avoided talking of program specifics that would shape the very future they refer to. If this is the "Change from day one", it is 20 years in the past and it's very late. If this is "Change we can believe in", a promise of "straight talk" that conspicuously omits the facts of a looming problem; the underlying hypocrisy is the unkindest deception of all. It constitutes an endorsement of the status quo and it is speaking with a forked tongue. A tragedy if it is believed.
If this bombshell of an issue is not addressed and a definite solution mounted, America's children of the future will be very old....... at a very young age.