The First Baby Boomer Applies for Social Security
Well, that moment that has been much talked about has finally arrived. The first member of the Baby Boomer generation has applied for social security.
The nation’s “first” baby boomer, a retired teacher from New Jersey, applied for Social Security benefits Monday, signaling the start of an expected avalanche of applications from the post World War II generation.
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue called it “America’s silver tsunami.”
Kathleen Casey-Kirschling applied for benefits over the Internet at an event hosted by Astrue. Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, gaining her recognition as the first baby boomer — a generation of nearly 80 million born from 1946 to 1964, Astrue said.
While, I think the rather gloomy predictions about Social Security are largely true, the problems that welfare program poses are far less than the problems posed by the Medicare system. Having 80 million people enter the Medicare system is going to increase demand. Given that there are few if any policies currently in place to expand supply and that there are reasons to suspect that no such policies will be forth coming for awhile health care expenditures have nowhere to go but up.
Last week, Bush’s budget director called the growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid a “fiscal train wreck.” The three entitlement programs make up nearly half of all federal spending, a share that is expected to grow.
While one might disagree with Bush’s policies his budget director is exactly right in his assessment of an on-coming fiscal train wreck. When you add 10,000 people, on average, per day for the next 20 years to Medicare things aren’t going to get better.
And any idiot who suggests that we should expand Medicare to cover the entire population is simply a complete scoundrel. Given current projections, Medicare’s shortfall is measured in trillions of dollars, and there isn’t much hope for economic growth to solve the problem. Keep in mind these projections are based on as the system as it currently works. Add in a couple hundred million more people and the numbers get even worse.
Casey-Kirschling said her generation won’t let Social Security fail.
No, they may actually be the reason why Social Security and Medicare fail.