Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Matthew Hoy (whom I don't read much anymore, but felt like checking out today for some odd reason) repeats a common complaint about Social Security from the right. Listen here:

I've said before that Social Security is broken. It's a simple issue of demographics -- in coming years there won't be nearly enough workers to support the growing number retirees. Many officials have set the date that Social Security stops being able to pay its obligations at sometime in the 2040s or 2050s, depending on the economy at a particular time.

Now, aside from the economics of the whole thing, isn't there a simple answer... Immigration? The west is aging, but the rest of the world is "younging", and it would seem that increased immigration is a simple solution that benefits both parties: the United States gets workers and the immigrants get, well, the United States. (or Canada, or England, or whatever.)

I realize that this isn't exactly an opportune time for this, but by the 2040s or 2050s, either the war on terrorism will be over or it will have become an infrastructure thing akin to the war on drugs. Assuming that the boomers are a one-time-only thing (and what happened to the echo boom?) immigration can be reduced again when their numbers decrease or when some weird singularity-related event happens that makes increased immigration unnecessary.

(Oh, you don't know what "the singularity" is? It's a term in SF for when people become functionally unable to predict the future because it's simply too far away and too much will have happened between now and then. It used to be farther away. Technology used to move slower too.)

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