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The Coming Generational Storm
In 2030, as 77 million baby boomers hobble into old age, walkers will outnumber strollers; there will be twice as many retirees as there are today but only 18 percent more workers. How will America handle this demographic overload? How will Social Security and Medicare function with fewer working taxpayers to support these programs? According to Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, if our government continues on the course it has set, we'll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability. The government has lost its compass, say Kotlikoff and Burns, and the current administration is heading straight into the coming generational storm.
But don't panic. To solve a problem you must first understand it. Kotlikoff and Burns take us on a guided tour of our generational imbalance, first introducing us to the baby boomers—their long retirement years and "the protracted delay in their departure to the next world." Then there's the "fiscal child abuse" that will double the taxes paid by the next generation. There's also the "deficit delusion" of the under-reported national debt. And none of this, they say, will be solved by any of the popularly touted remedies: cutting taxes, technological progress, immigration, foreign investment, or the elimination of wasteful government spending.
So how can the United States avoid this demographic/fiscal collision? Kotlikoff and Burns propose bold new policies, including meaningful reforms of Social Security, and Medicare. Their proposals are simple, straightforward, and geared to attract support from both political parties. But just in case politicians won't take the political risk to chart a new direction, Kotlikoff and Burns also offer a "life jacket"—guidelines for individuals to protect their financial health and retirement.
This paperback edition of The Coming Generational Storm has been revised and updated and includes a new foreword by the authors.
About the Authors
Scott Burns’s personal finance column has been nationally syndicated since 1981.
Laurence J. Kotlikoff, one of the nation's leading experts on fiscal policy, national saving, and personal finance and a columnist for Bloomberg, is Professor of Economics at Boston University. His writings and views appear in Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other leading media outlets.
—Peter G. Peterson, Chairman, The Blackstone Group, and author of Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America—And The World
—Paul A. Samuelson, MIT, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (1970)
—Robert J. Shiller, Yale University, author of Irrational Exuberance and The New Financial Order
—James M. Buchanan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, George Mason University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (1986)
—Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University
—Niall Ferguson, Stern School of Business, New York University, and author of Empire and The Cash Nexus
—Kevin A. Hassett, Director of Economic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute, and coauthor of Dow 36,000
—Robert J. Shapiro, Managing Director and Founding Partner, Sonecon, LLC, Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and the Progressive Policy Institute, and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs
—George Akerlof, Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001)
—James J. Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, The University of Chicago, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2000)
—Janet Yellen, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Member, Federal Reserve Board (1994-1997), and Chair, Council of Economic Advisers (1997-1999)
—Daniel McFadden, Cox Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2000)
—Sylvia Nasar, John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism, Columbia University, author of A Beautiful Mind
—Robert Whaples, Department of Economics, Wake Forest University
A Forbes.com Top Ten Business Book for 2004