The big 'problem' for which COVID is the gruesome solution
It's no secret that COVID is mostly harmful to (ahem) senior citizens. Also, there's a significant decline in the number of participants in the workforce. What is left unmentioned in all of this is the demographic impact of the aging Baby-Boomers. For decades, actuaries have warned of the impending impact of the aging and retirement of a generation often described as "the goat in the python."
Social Security and other government-run "guaranteed benefit" pension programs have been behind the eight-ball of impending illiquidity for years...but have, so far, squeaked by without generating dire headlines. Though, within the inner circles of the public sector, much fretting over the future has to be happening.
Milton Friedman had no qualms about describing Social Security as "Robin Hood in reverse." He explained that the poorest demographic, by age, is compelled to contribute to the richest. Young folks are just starting out, trying to save up for cars, houses, and families...and they've just begun to pay into the system. Old folks are the beneficiaries of a lifetime of accumulation. Many no longer have mortgages. This from the self-confessed inventor of income tax withholding.
All this being said, could it be that Dr. Fauci's alleged financial assistance for the Wuhan lab's work on enhancing the function of viruses actually was carefully thought out? Were the death rate of elderly Boomers to be sped up, wouldn't Social Security possibly dodge the liquidity bullet? The aging Boomers were also expected to put more pressure on the health care infrastructure...especially with the retirement of Boomer doctors and nurses. Yeah, providers have been morphing into consumers...in droves. But then, this may also help clear the landscape of burdensome retirees.
I have no actual evidence for this theory. But I have, for years, wondered what was going to happen when the (you know what) eventually hit the fan. Various localities have been grappling with mountains of unfunded pension liability for some years now. Can you say "Chicago"? I have often joked that all Social Security would have to do to be protected from bankruptcy would be to provide free cigarettes to anyone over 55 years of age.
Rather, the actuarial dilemma posed by the aging Boomers has been mostly concealed by the minions of the public sector. And the lingering mystery over the origin of the COVID virus provides, at least, a useful context with which to re-emphasize the issue.
It is a good thing to provide stability and assurance to those justifiably dependent on a monthly allowance once they are no longer capable of earning a living. The sales pitch for implementing Social Security in the first place relied on the general sympathy felt for the elderly. Ironically, at its beginning, Social Security was the first time a deduction was ever taken out of a worker's paycheck — at a time when people were already having a hard time making ends meet.
History is full of ironies. The increasing average age of our population, combined with a pandemic that is particularly harmful to the elderly, is more than just interesting.
Image via Pixy.