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Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Forty-Three-- Demographic Wave.


Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays. And reform is a long-haul process, not a fleeting event. So we're going to keep plugging along with the case for reform, even as the issue goes off the political radar screen.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

The Social Security Demographic Tsunami.

We're coming up on an unfortunate anniversary. A wasted year. Michael D. Tanner explains:

Here are two numbers to remember: $660 billion and 10 hours. Because of the failure to reform Social Security this year, the program's future unfunded obligations have increased by $660 billion. That amounts to a debt of more than $2,200 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. This comes on top of a previous unfunded obligation of $12.8 trillion. Yet this week, Senate Democrats used a parliamentary maneuver to prevent the Senate from scheduling just 10 hours of debate early next year on Social Security reform.


While impressive GDP growth could help mitigate the size of the Social Security crisis, it won't solve the crisis entirely.

Indeed, as the Calculated Risk blog shows us, there is no getting around the demographic wave that is coming directly for us [thanks to Political Calculations blog for the tip]:


To take a slower gander at the succession, piece by piece, graph by graph, see this link.

There is just very little we can do to change this demographic reality. But imagine if we could predict a real-world ocean tsunami several years in advance. We might do something about it, right? Prepare. Plan. We'd also probably get to work right away, rather than waiting until the tsunami is upon us, right?

I would hope.

Unfortunately, for all the plethora of good news about the short- and medium-term economic outlook in the United States, the longer-term news is not so rosy. These massive, unfunded entitlement program liabilities threaten to really sock it to the future American economy. It will mean much higher taxes. It will mean that projecting power and influence in the world will become cost-prohibitive. It will mean slower economic growth. It will mean a lower standard of living for everyone.

We have the power; we can identify the problems, and we know the solutions, but without a little political courage, without any long-term vision, there can be no reform. Social Security modernization, however, is not optional.

There is a demographic tsunami headed for us. We know that as a fact. Where is the leadership on this issue? And while it is vogue to rip on Republicans for their cowardice on Social Security, or on the Bush administration for its ineffectiveness in making the case, it really boils down to increasingly unreasonable, socialist, reactionary Democrats taking cover under fraudulent polling, distorted media coverage, and public apathy/confusion on the issue.

It's time for reform.

The clock is ticking:


Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).
-Week Twenty-Four (KidSave Accounts).
-Week Twenty-Five (Latinos and Social Security).
-Week Twenty-Six (AmeriSave).
-Week Twenty-Seven (Cost Of Doing Nothing).
-Week Twenty-Eight (Chile).
-Week Twenty-Nine (Entitlement Spending Out Of Control).
-Week Thirty (Reform Better Deal Than Status Quo).
-Week Thirty-One (Social Security As A Labor Cost).
-Week Thirty-Two (Social Security And Dependence On Government).
-Week Thirty-Three (Social Security, Currently A Bad Deal For African-Americans).
-Week Thirty-Four (Longer Life Expectancies Straining Social Security).
-Week Thirty-Five (Howard Dean & Salami).
-Week Thirty-Six (Growing Numbers of Beneficiaries Draining Social Security).
-Week Thirty-Seven (The Crisis Is Now).
-Week Thirty-Eight (Disability Benefits).
-Week Thirty-Nine (Broken Benefit Calculation Formula).
-Week Forty (German Social Security Disaster).
-Week Forty-One (Crumbling Pyramid Scheme).
-Week Forty-Two (Overpromising, Globally).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 December 2005 12:46 PM


Is the NOmeter available for placement on personal websites?

Posted by: noman at December 8, 2005 02:37 PM

Absolutely... I have added the Heritage link:


Posted by: Will Franklin at December 8, 2005 02:40 PM

That population chart makes me dizzy-er!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at December 9, 2005 11:02 AM