"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.