The Future Fate Of United States Workers

Under the Burden of Their Diminishing Numbers

Supporting the Growing Number of Retirees


The number of retirees will increase as the "baby-boomers" of post-war II leave the workplace. By the same token, the number of workers will decrease. This places an increasing burden on the workers to support the retirees, either directly or through the Social Security system. This problem will become acute in the years 2010 to 2030, according to reasonable projections of the population.

However, the size of the pot to be shared may be expected to be increasing from now until then. The graph shows the Gross Domestic Product that may be expected if its growth continues at the rate it had from 1973 to 1996 -- a period of historically slow growth. (The much higher growth enjoyed in 1996 to 1998 was ignored in this projection, hence the peak and dip at 1996-1999.)

If the worker's share of the GDP is proportional to their numbers the same as it was in 1996, their forecast share will be as shown on the graph. There is a continuing growth of the worker's share. However, there is an interval of slower growth from 2010 to 2030 as the larger number of retirees takes a greater share. The dotted line shows the lower slope--lower growth rate--during this interval

The question is this: is this worker's share of the GDP during those coming "hard times" a problem demanding a reduction of Social Security or a drastic revision of its funding?

Is there a "Social Security Problem"? Is it a "real-world" problem or a "money-world" problem not to be worried about? How is it possible for Robert Eisner, a respected economist -- past president of the American Economics Association --publish a book with the title: Social Security; More, Not Less and open his book with the sentence: "This is a proposal to preserve all current benefits of Social Security and to extend them."" It's a tiny book, TAP to get at Amazon.

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