Two recent articles in the New York Times should have gotten Boomers interest up. Caught in the midst of the SCOTUS upheaval, they may have fallen by the wayside. On Wednesday September 26, a front page article cautioned us that there is a potential danger looming. Neslon Schwartz wrote the article “What May Soon Exceed Cost of U.S. Military? Interest on U.S. Debt.” It seems that with new tax laws and other cost cutting measures now in place “The federal government could soon pay more in interest on its debt than it spends on the military, Medicaid or children’s programs.” The article details this fiscal reality that so many people seem to wish to ignore. Why is this potentially very important? The fear is that government will have to look around to see what can be cut or tightened in order to fund the debt. And, we have already heard rumors that sooner or later people will look at Medicare and Medicaid, just as the majority of Boomers may need it the most. Liberal or Conservative, it may not matter of funding for health care that we may need is cut.
Then a few days later, the Times printed a full page lead article in the Business Day section of Saturday September 29. “As The Political Rhetoric Heats Up. A Social Security Guide fo the Ages” (by Tara Siegel Bernard and Karl Russell). This long article mentions that “Social Security faces a projected shortfall in about 16 years, when benefits for all recipients–present and future–would be cut by roughly 20%.” Three in five older American rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. The reasons for the concern have been written about for a long time. “The shortfall is largely a product of demographic shifts. A large number of baby boomers are collecting Social Security, a declining birthrate is producing fewer workers to pay taxes into the system and retirees are living longer.”
These two articles present a sobering look at what may be a picture of the economic impact that will hit aging Boomers. This issue, which potentially will impact each of us and our families, needs to be discussed. There are Jewish text that examine this (download the study guide on this from the Resources tab at the top of the page) I suggest that this is a major social justice issue that sadly, still seems to be largely ignored. We ignore it at our own peril.
Rabbi Richard F. Address