Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It’s Demographics -- STUPID

Politicians have taken credit for demographics, and, as I have mentioned before, they prefer to ignore demographic realities now.  Case in point: the realization that the Bush Tax Cuts did nothing to improve employment and job creation – as shown in these Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Number of Jobs Added [millions]
Bush, Feb. 2001- Jan. 2009: 1.1
Clinton, Feb. 1993- Jan. 2001: 22.7
Reagan/Bush, I Feb. 1981- Jan. 1993: 18.7
Carter, Feb. 1976- Jan. 1981:10.3
Nixon/Ford, Feb. 1969- Jan. 1976: 11.3
Kennedy/Johnson, Feb. 1961- Jan. 1969: 15.7
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted Non-farm Payrolls

We all know about the baby boom, baby bust and related realities – but when was the last time they were a part of the Political Economic dialogue?

The Baby boom is the post WW2 period defined by the years between 1945 and 1966.  That is, in 2011, those who are between the ages of 45 and 65.  That is, we are discussing the Social Security shock which Bush 43 loved to rant about – the people he wanted to privatize so their savings would be destroyed by the current economic downturn which he caused. It is fortunate that the nation – THE DEMOCRATS didn’t buy into Bush’s stupidity. … But that’s another previously discussed issue.

The current discussion is about those job creation figures.  Let’s express them in terms of Baby Boom ages.

Number of Jobs Added [millions] by age of Baby Boom starting with the Vietnam era:
- Kennedy/Johnson, Boom in Progress and five years to go - 23: 15.7 new jobs added
Those who haven’t been drafted, or who have served, are now entering the job market.  The draft for Viet Nam actually served to slow the necessity for job creation – military aren’t counted, and many headed to college to avoid the draft & hence never entered the job market, thus no pressure for job creation.

- Nixon/Ford, Boomers are 3 - 30: 11.3 new jobs added as the Viet Nam era slows and some returning military transition into college where they join those who already entered, or are prepared to enter.

- Carter, Boomers are 10 - 35: 10.3 new jobs added …with the baby boom employed and starting families, in college or still in grade school.
- Reagan/Bush(41), Boomers are 15 - 47: 18.7 new jobs added … The bulk of the baby boom, the statistical hump, enters the work force and are employed created by the boomers who came before them.
- Clinton, Boomers are 27 - 55: 22.7 new jobs added … NOW we have the baby boom out of college (even those who when for PhD’s are in job market). The baby boomers are working, spending, and a baby bust has begun – with the resulting increase in discretionary income to squander.

- Bush(43), Boomers are 35 – 63 (working and retirement vested) : 1.1 new jobs added … Gee, retirement is a reality for the majority of the Boomers.  Need to put money aside in those last 20 years before Social Security … some have even opted for early SSI retirement at 62, or have retired at 55 (as teachers and others serving the younger Boomers – through choice or having accepted early retirement packages).

NOW REALITY SET IN.  Under Reagan/Bush America turned anti-immigrant.  There are no workers entering the economy seeking employment and those in the system are retiring and the nature of the remaining jobs has changed.  Consumer products are now imported – hence no  need for a domestic work force and therefore job creation is contracting to meet available workforce requirements.

This is where we return to “COLA” Cost of living adjustments for Social Security recipients.  We are seeing a GOP move, being considered by the Obama Whitehouse, to reduce the income needed to feed the economy … which is to say, the income that goes to the Baby Boomers who are now retiring as they turn 65.  This is a process which will continue for the next twenty years and which will peak within the next ten years.  Deprive COLA and surplus money to retirees within that period and the economy will collapse.  Pay attention to giving SSI recipients basic funds for the next twenty years, and a new generation will emerge that will carry the country forward with higher incomes and achievements.

One other reality which you’ve read here before: DO NOT LOOK TO NEW CONSTRUCTION as a measure of economic growth!   That worked until Reagan/Bush and even into Clinton, but there are no people to buy homes – the resale and renovation markets are going to prevail over the next decade.  After that, the Baby Boomers will be dying off and the housing markets will be glutted – housing prices will fall for structures that are not energy efficient and convenient to necessary services.  That house in the country will become very very cheap.  More so because there will be no young families, no schools – because we are in a baby bust.

In case you missed the point: Those born between 1967 and 1987 are NOT going to need to buy retirement homes. They will inherit and renovate them!

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