The life expectancy in America has risen to beyond 80 years old. It is excellent news. Life is precious. A healthy long-life is a double valuable. We all gain from it. We get an average of four more years of contributions from part of the community who are wise and able. You may think that the longevity miracle calls for a celebration.
Not so. Politicians consider it as a demographic time bomb in terms costs of health care and some cases, general care, like food and shelter. Politicians and economists think alike, anticipates financial burden on the society.
I don’t believe that’s the right way to think.
I think a good deal of unhappiness mounts from the intergenerational resentments and anxiety. Although most of the Americans looks through economic efficiency, the great news is, these sentiments are not shared widely shared. The youth (the grandchildren and great-grandchildren) are hoping a new role of elderly (their grandparents and great-grandparents) to make an active contribution to the society. As long as the old make contributions, it is not a social burden.
I would rethink old age.
Currently, in America, public high school education is free. We should extend that to four more years of college education. That would free an enormous number not entering the workforce, and this should accommodate an extra four years elderly in the workforce. So, demographic changes will not hurt the economy rather help it, using experienced and productive people. If we need to retrain them to reallocate job, we should happily do it. Politicians do not have to worry about taking care our elderly. Maybe the economy will change for better and educated young will add tremendous value to the society and the country. It is a win-win.