I just realized it has been over a year since my last post.  Unacceptable.

I shan’t go into all the details.  It’ll just get me in whine mode, and I’d rather save that mode for things that are important, namely rants about politicians, the current education system, and other iterative topics of this blog.

I will make one observation for those of you wondering where the economy is going.  (I don’t know why people ask me the “what do you think about the economy?” question all the time.  After all, I teach economics.  That’s not the same as knowing where the economy is going.  If anything, I expect the two are negatively correlated variables.)  But for those of you who insist on asking, here’s a bit of an economic observation:  if I had spare money to invest  right now, I’m pretty sure I’d put a serious chunk of it into “health care for senior citizens”.  Having dealt with the ups and downs of being a caregiver for an elderly parent, I’ve got to see a bit of what the youngsters out there are going to deal as the Baby Boom generation (i.e. mine) ages.  Forget about worrying about your 401(k), Gen Yers.  Think about how you’re going to deal with all us old farts when we pass 75.

There is going to be one crapload of a lot of old people out there.  And our generation, unlike my mother’s generation, has defined “low savings rate”.  Add in the fact that ours is the first generation of entitlement, and you’re going to have a nightmare.

Weep, Gen Y.  You’re going to have to deal with our incontinence, our congestive heart disease, our Type II diabetes, and all the rest.  For years, because we’re going to be living at least as long as our parents, and our parents were a fecund lot.

And no, the government can’t solve this one for you.  Sorry.  I hate to tell you this, but they’ve been clueless for decades.

Your generation cares a lot about sustainabilty.  Well, guess what, you are going to have to figure out how to sustain, not what this economy is doing right now….you’re going to have to figure out how to sustain unprecedented economic growth.  You’re going to have to reinvent the economic world the way the Europeans re-invented it a couple hundred years ago.

You’ve made a good start.

But the solution to dealing with us old farts is going to be tough.  I don’t care what the worriers and entitlement-people and the politicos who think all solutions are found in someone else’s pocket say.  You’ve got one “social task” ahead of you:  you need  to figure out not just “sustainable” growth.  You need to figure out how to grow growth itself.

We’ll help, of course.  But pretty soon we’re going to be old enough to demand you service our retirement “needs.”

Good luck.


3 Responses to “Stumbling back in …”

  1. The Zombieslayer says:

    Add in the fact that ours is the first generation of entitlement, and you’re going to have a nightmare.

    I fully expect you guys to vote yourselves raises in Social Security and you’ll get it because my stupid generation doesn’t vote.

    Oh, we’ll reinvent economics. We’ll be fine as long as we don’t keep outsourcing more jobs than we create.

    Why do we ask you? Because, you can explain things better than I can. I value your opinions. I’m probably one of the people who keep asking. And yes, long-term, stocks that relate to taking care of your generation will do well. I’m thinking Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, CVS, etc.

    As for taking care of you guys, I strongly suggest your generation starts smoking. ;)

  2. Wade says:

    Ah, but if we start smoking, we’ll also pass a law that makes it illegal for your insurance companies to discriminate in pricing against smokers. So you’ll have fewer of us, but those of us who survive will cost you more still.

  3. Ian Clark says:

    Great to have you back blogging Wade.

    The demographic timebomb as its known in the UK has long fascinated me. Several decades ago I was fortunate to host a couple of private dinners of senior local business people with a couple of former British Prime Ministers (Harold Wilson was Labour, Ted Heath was Conservative) as guest spekers. Both of them quite independently said that the largest long-term issue facing Britain was demographic. As an early “baby boomer” I’m part of then problem, not the solution!

Leave a Reply

All content of this blog, except comments added under names other than "Wade," are copyright © 2008, 2009 Wade E. Shilts