Friday, May 15, 2009

Old Promises and New Blood...

That is the title of a report produced in November of 2008 by the Reform Institute in Washington, DC. Past Directors of the Reform Institute include former New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass.

The report points out that the impending retirement of the baby boom generation will present enormous challenges to the United States economy and push entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare to their limits and beyond. As approximately 78 million Americans begin to exit the workforce over the next two decades, how can we as a nation continue to grow the economy? Retirees tend to reign in their spending and many move from their long-time residences to smaller retirement homes or even assisted living facilities -- what can support the market for family housing (which even now is just beginning to recover from the bursting of the housing bubble) in the years to come?

The report explains that immigration has to be part of the answer. The United States population is getting older. This is particularly true here in New England which has the highest median aged population in the country. Immigrants tend to be younger people and to have more children than longer established American families. If we as a country do not encourage immigration, we face the prospect of having only a little more than two workers supporting every retiree. Social security and Medicare cannot function properly under that kind of stress. If we are going to find rational solutions to the demographic and economic challenges ahead -- we as a country have to get over our fear of people from elsewhere moving here. If we cannot find a way to welcome and assimilate a new generation of immigrants into this country, our standard of living is likely to suffer.

To read the report (requires Adobe Reader):

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