Streams

Demographic Shifts and the Future of America

Monday, March 10, 2014

America is undergoing a major demographic overhaul. Major generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use. Paul Taylor presents a portrait of where we are as a nation and where we’re headed—toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century. His book The Next America draws on the Pew Research Center’s extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data.

Guests:

Paul Taylor

Comments [18]

@thatgirl - Would the benefit paid out to the 'highly taxed' match the level of their input? (Should say Cameron Diaz pony up $2.5M everytime she makes a movie?) Otherwise, removing the cap entirely reduces the program from social insurance so that no one ends their life in poverty - I pay a premium, I get a benefit - to socially financed retirement system for the wealthy. The SSA has actuaries and a well-designed funding system to prevent golden age poverty will need adjustment from time to time but 'we need to cut benefits because we spent that money' is not a sound choice.

Mar. 11 2014 11:27 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Peg - That's a big assumption. He's since clarified his position. Taxes are not all alike, and don't fund the same things. We require the assurance that the safety net is actually funded.

RUCB_Alum - I know that it's as good as gone, hence my suggestion. But no raising the cap--remove it. People are living much longer than the safety net originally anticipated; we need only start to see how ill-prepared a sector of the Boomers are for retirement (forced or otherwise), and how necessary that is. Otherwise, it's patch jobs and calls for reductions in benefits. The cost of living will only go up from here on out.

Mar. 10 2014 11:13 PM

@thatgirl from manhattan

The Greenspan Commission of the 80's got Congress to double FICA rates, the surplus to be held in T Bonds. Those bonds were to be cashed in to cover the Baby Boomer bulge. We let Congress - mostly under Dubya - piss that money away on tax cuts and wars rather than put it in a lockbox - as Al Gore was so roundly criticized for. As a consequence, the only way for the government to have the funds to pay off those bonds is to borrow more or raise taxes...unless, of course, you convince folks that the money collected from them is an entitlement.

I am all for raising the cap on incomes subject to FICA taxes but I would argue that the rates of withholding should go back to pre-Greenspan levels AND that the self-employed be released from having to match their FICA withholding at a vastly reduced amount of income.

Mar. 10 2014 02:31 PM
Will from New York City

Just look a the absurd shape of the congressional districts, the reported evidence of clear population manipulation and the 2010 republican governors results permitting such abuse that reveals the truth about political polarization.

People aren't moving to like minded districts to create political polarization mainly because they can't afford too. It seems Pew research numbers sound like data bending to support there conclusion about cause of political polarization.

Mar. 10 2014 01:50 PM
Peg

@ that girl - RUCB did suggest that we raise taxes - when I read his post I assumed that he was also including raising the income cap for Social Security taxes.

Mar. 10 2014 01:42 PM

All these equity tweaks to Social Security is dwarfed by America's largest welfare system. We can save more than the entire present tax revenues by not giving welfare to super rich bankers:

Federal Reserve gave $16.1 Trillion since 2007 to:
Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)

Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)

Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)

Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)

Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion* ($868,000,000,000)

Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)

Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)

Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)

JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)

Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)

UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)

Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)

Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)

Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)

BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)

Federal Reserve's nearly 100 year history was posted on Senator Sander's webpage.
http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=9e2a4ea8-6e73-4be2-a753-62060dcbb3c3

Mar. 10 2014 01:40 PM
Lex from New York

Gen X indeed forgotten in this discussion. They're the ones who are truly caught in between and have more challenges to deal with. They're neither young nor old - very little concessions are available to them.

Mar. 10 2014 01:39 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

You've got that right, Helena! Best to compel those Boomers (what with all their income/influence/share of voice to fix this system for everyone! They came up with this silly idea that we should give our retirement savings to Wall Street to gamble, and that their generation could be taken care of with ridiculously low volume contributions to Social Security--they'll wipe it out completely.

Mar. 10 2014 01:38 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The answer is, we'll all become dependent on robots, and not on each other, and humans will be produced as needed by corporations.

Mar. 10 2014 01:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. Taylor just spoke of the "big boys" hosting talk shows. That group is still overwhemingly "boys," & white. The few who are women or members of racial minorities generally have shows that are considered to appeal to those groups (OK, except Oprah). I'd like to see *that* change.

Mar. 10 2014 01:37 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

RUCB_Alum - Boomers have "paid double?" How does that work out when there's a cap to FICA contributions for Social Security for everyone at the first $130K of one's income? One could argue that because the Boomers have enjoyed a larger volume of per-capital affluence than any generation before or after them, the cap should be lifted and apply to 100% of gross income. That'll cover all your hip replacements, ED drugs and everything else to which you feel you're entitled.

And given that paucity of affluence for generations that come after you, how about campaigning to get that cap raised now, so your children can enjoy the same benefits? Then you can claim some kind of positive legacy, rather than simply b*tching about what you may not be getting.

Mar. 10 2014 01:31 PM
Helena

Once again, Generation X is forgotten, a smaller generation sandwiched between two larger ones. How will we be affected?

Mar. 10 2014 01:28 PM
Peg

Once everyone has a college degree, what will be the advantage? Once upon a time having a high school diploma was the advantage 'ticket.' Now that mostly everyone has one, it's no advantage. The same will happen to when all are college graduates.

Also 'jobs,' good and bad, are disappearing like musical chairs. And with the introduction of robots, who needs messy, needy humans at all?

Mar. 10 2014 01:28 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To RUCB-ALUM

Japan will deal with its high number of aged and low population growth (and probable decline) with robots. Economically speaking, the primary purpose is to be a consumer. People will produce ideas that will be turned into software that will go into robots. Today the wealthy are idea producers who turned those ideas into software, such as Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, and all the software moguls. Alternative energy sources, especially using the sun directly, will reduce the need for natural resources. Most of what we used to call work will continue to be automated and robotized. The road to wealth will be ideas that can be translated into software to produce superior robots.

Mar. 10 2014 01:17 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To RUCB-ALUM

Japan will deal with its high number of aged and low population growth (and probable decline) with robots. Economically speaking, the primary purpose is to be a consumer. People will produce ideas that will be turned into software that will go into robots. Today the wealthy are idea producers who turned those ideas into software, such as Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, and all the software moguls. Alternative energy sources, especially using the sun directly, will reduce the need for natural resources. Most of what we used to call work will continue to be automated and robotized. The road to wealth will be ideas that can be translated into software to produce superior robots.

Mar. 10 2014 01:17 PM
Angel from PA

What about us tweenies, we know prince, hip hop became mainstream and we are not boomers

Mar. 10 2014 12:52 PM

Claptrap, Ed. The bigger change is that the Baby Boom - the artificial explosion in the birth rate accorded to the END of WWII ('46-'64) - is finally approaching the grave.

Track the items that are 'needed' during a normal life and then multiply by 2 and a half to understand the impact of the Baby Boomers.

Diapers, schools, college seats, jobs, housing, cars, second houses, divorces, hair implants, liposuctions, face lifts, hysterectomies, colonoscopies, angiograms, hip replacements, you name it. There is no consumer good that isn't a function of the size of the population that uses it. Why do you think there are so many new Rite-Aids and Walgreens?

And now that the Boomers are reaching the age that they can begin to claim their Social Security benefits - a benefit that they have paid roughly DOUBLE the amount paid by other generations, I might add, the GOP is attempting to find a way to rob us of the benefit.

Nearly half of the national debt is owned by the Social Security Administration. The Bush Tax cuts gave the surplus that would have made it relatively painless to cash in those bonds into a need to either 1) BORROW MORE! or 2) raise taxes.

End those tax cuts for everyone. Now.

Mar. 10 2014 12:15 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It's mind-blowing to think about how different our country would be had it not been for abortion. We are an aging society.

Mar. 10 2014 09:30 AM

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