The Real Beginning of the End of the 20th Century, or, Batten Down for the Silver Tsunami


First Baby Boomer applies for Social Security–first check to arrive in Feb. 2008. Reuters reports:

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said the agency is bracing for some 80 million Americans to apply for retirement benefits over the next two decades.

"We are already feeling enormous pressure from baby boomers being in their peak disability years and now we're preparing for so many of them to file for retirement," Astrue said at a press conference with [Kathleen] Casey-Kirschling [the first Baby Boomer collecting–yes, they held a press conference to note this momentous occasion].


Social Security, which referred to the looming crisis as a "silver tsunami," is facing enormous financial pressures from the generation born in the aftermath of World War Two. The latest report by the program's trustees said by 2017, Social Security will begin to pay more benefits than it receives in taxes. By 2041, the trust fund is projected to be exhausted.

"There is no reason to have any immediate panic," Astrue said. "I and most people who are really familiar with the situation are confident that there will be some pain along the way, but we will get there and Social Security will be there for future generations."

You got that? No reason to have any immediate panic. Nick Gillespie on some other ways Baby Boomers have ruined America here. A classic April 2005 debate on the possible future of Social Security between Tyler Cowen and James Glassman here.