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Will America Grow up Before it Grows Old: How the Coming Social Security Crisis Threatens You, Your Family, and Your Country Hardcover – October 8, 1996

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Demographics is destiny" writes Pete Peterson. The destiny in question is the looming fiscal crisis that he believes faces the United States early next century when the baby-boom generation retires, leaving only the much smaller baby-bust generation at work to keep the country's Social Security coffers full. Peterson, who is chairman of the Blackstone Group, a private investment bank, offers up some truly frightening numbers to support his dire prediction. He cites, among other statistics, the government's official projection that in 2040 the average worker will hand over 35 to 55 percent of each paycheck for Social Security and Medicare, compared with 17 percent in 1995. His solutions include raising the retirement age, hiking taxes, and limiting costly terminal care.

From Publishers Weekly

The conflict between the baby-boomer generation's expectations and the nation's fiscal realities (Medicare, Social Security funding, etc.) is treated with straightforward pragmatism by Peterson (Facing Up: How to Rescue the Economy from Crushing Debt). Addressing the question of how America will "prepare and pay for the growing dependency of our rapidly aging population," including boomers whose retirement is 15 years away, he counsels a return to personal savings and investment and increased productivity in the workplace. He acknowledges that reductions in benefits and entitlements will be required if thrift on a national scale is to be achieved. Whether one accepts Peterson's apodictic pronouncement that "Social Security is a vast Ponzi scheme in which only the first people in are big winners," his proposals for a graying America to return to an earlier generation's collective restraint are worthy advisories to which attention should be paid. Peterson is director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (October 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679452567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679452560
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,007,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on April 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book addresses the problem of growing government entitlement programs for Americans in light of limited resources for providing them.

Yes, everyone should be aware of the funding problems. Mr. Peterson should be thanked for bringing out a book on the subject. The color graphs are quite attractive. The writing is quick and easy to read, but even though he says he is not an alarmist, that's the impression he gives. There are many assumptions which readers usually swallow whole and that's what is wrong with the presentation.

The book states that Americans do not "save" enough and that the Japanese save more. It infers that the Japanese are better off. In comparison to the amount Americans have in terms of goods and services, the Japanese have much less to consume.

First, Americans as a whole save as much as any people in other industrialized countries. Our saving is not just at the bank, but involves mortgage payments, insurance premiums and employer pensions. Very few people in Japan own or are buying their homes. If we counted ALL savings of Amnericans, it would equal savings of people in other countries.

If in fact, greater "saving" is responsible for a growing economy and a higher standard of living, why has Japan with its high saving rate been in a recession for the past seven years? (During the same time period the U.S. economy has been growing more prosperous.)

The graph on page 24 shows how many American workers are needed to support each U.S. social security beneficiary for selected years between 1955 and 2040. In 1955 it took 8.6 workers, in 1995 it was 3.3 workers per retiree and by the year 2040 there will be only two workers per beneficiary.
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By A Customer on December 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book and it scares me to death. People my age must realize that doing nothing is tantamount to giving our futures away. We must come to terms with the fact that there are 76 million Baby Boomers approaching retirement age, and there is no national plan to accomodate their pension and health needs. And to complicate matters, the problem is already occurring elsewhere around the world. Just read Peter Peterson's newest book, Gray Dawn.
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