Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Everybody should have a favorite economist. Mine is Professor Ernie Goss of Creighton University.  The following is from his July newsletter.

It's not the 1 percent that is siphoning U.S. economic resources. It is the 25 percent--the portion of the U.S. population born between 1946 and 1964 or, baby boomers like me. Not only are we 25 percenters leaving the workforce at very high rates, (consuming instead of producing), we are draining the U.S. Treasury via higher Social Security (SS) benefits and greater Medicare spending. Over the past decade, SS outlays soared by 69 percent and Medicare expenditures rocketed by 135 percent, enlarging the nation's debt to $16 trillion. This debt which is the largest in the galaxy and 100 percent of GDP will ultimately be paid for by the 60 percenters (those born after 1964). We need to take steps to reduce this wealth transfer from young to old by: (1) raising the SS retirement age from 67 to 70 by increasing it 2 months per year, (2) increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and, (3) cut the yearly SS inflation adjustment by 1 percent. Taking these actions would save $360-$400 billion between 2012 and 2021. Additionally to reverse the aging of the nation’s labor market, the U.S. should expand legal immigration allowing younger workers and their families to enter the U.S. Latest U.S. Census data show the median age is 38.3 for Whites, 35.3 for Asians and 27.4 for Hispanics. By increasing legal immigration and slowing the growth in SS and Medicare spending, the U.S. would avoid the stagnation and looming economic calamities threatening Japan and Europe as a result of their aging populations and expanding pensions/healthcare payments to baby boomers. Ernie Goss.

I found his comments on a “fix” to the deficit that the Social Security fund very interesting.  Last fall I attended the National Tax Conference in Washington D.C.  One of the sessions was on Social Security and Medicare, the speaker, Theodore Sarenski echoed some of the advise that Dr. Goss presented.  If this happened, according to Sarenski, no person over 55 would be see their benefits change and people under 55 would still receive at least 85% of their benefits.