Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Demographic facts of life

June 19, 2006

CNN has an interesting story today on a subject I have been watching for some years. The demography of the baby boom generation as I moves through the population has had profound effects on the economy of the United States is quite inarguable. And yet someone can always be found to dismiss the iceberg as "merely frozen water, it's quite brittle, don'tchaknow, and will disolve as we approach it." By adding any number to May 6, 1946 (my guess at the "official start" to the boom), and asking yourself, "What would an n-year old be doing?" you get a pretty good feel for the zeitgeist of that year.

As the baby boom has passed through the various stages of life, it first brought us the eighteen-year-old vote and the eighteen-year-old beer. Lately, as the boom hit 40-45 it began to look toward retirement and started saving up. That brought us the stock market boom in the 90's and, after the collapse in 2000, the real estate boom of the past 5 years. One month ago, the leading edge of the boom began to pass 60 and started to retire. Now, I know this will not be instantaneous, but I agree with Professor Siegel, we are in for a very rough ride over the next 5-10 years.

The question to which I have no answer is, "What does this mean, politically?" No one wants to be told that their savings have lost 50% of their value, even if everyone else is in the same boat. No one wants to be told, "You cannot retire until you are 75." even as the average life span gets longer and longer. I foresee a great deal of turmoil as the boomers react to the bad news and I don't think the turmoil will end until the boomer resign themselves to working that extra 10 years. Given human nature, this will not be an easy job and, indeed, may prove to be an impossible job.



June 19, 2006

First and foremost, Siva, filling in for Eric Alterman, over at Altercation reminds me to wish a joyous juneteenth to one and all. To steal from the Passover hagaddah, "Yesterday we were slaves, today we are free!"

Immunity Tradeoffs

June 17, 2006

As I read this article over at ABC news all I could think of was, "But will any large number of people be willing to trade higher infant mortality for a lower incidence of asthma?"  Cleaner living may not challenge our immune systems like living in an open sewer but this may just be a price we have to pay.  I can imagine that if Dr. Parker can isolate one or a number of non-pathogenic challenges that this might be  good thing but this will, I imagine, take a while.

How Would a Patriot Act?

June 14, 2006

Just back from Drinking Liberally where I heard Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory speak on his book "How Would a Patriot Act?"  He's quite brilliant as a speaker, which I expected from being a long-time reader of his blog.  One of these days I hope to be able to comment intelligently there, but so far all I can do is read and nod in agreement.  Quite an intelligent audience as well, with many good questions.

I managed to close out the questioning with one that actually went to his publisher's rep, Jennifer Nix.  "After publishing Markos' and Jerome's "Crashing the Gates" and Glen's "How would a Patriot Act?"  (both excellent), what do you intend for an encore?"  She refused to get specific, but did say that they have three projects in the works.