The Sunday editorial on pensions may have been the best ever. But it may be too late. We were warned about this in the ’60s when two esteemed economists, John Kenneth Galbraith of the U.S. and John Maynard Keynes of Britain, told us, just by projecting the demographics of the time, that the population would age so significantly that 40 percent of the population would be supporting the other 60 percent who had grown elderly by now. But we were preoccupied by civil rights and war. Nothing was done to prepare for it.
In 1973, Alvin Toffler wrote "Future Shock,” in which he predicted that by this time in the 21st century, technology and science would shock us by making products of the ’70s obsolete, while leaving us with generations of labor unprepared to do the jobs that exist now. No one paid attention to it. Not officially. We were too busy, diverted by pastimes and sports.
Well, here we are. I don't know if we can change fast enough. But clearly, if 83 percent of national spending is directed to it, we are already a socialist democracy. If our debt is 75 percent of GDP, we can't do it much longer. We also can't afford a war. Only a huge tax increase of 50 percent or more, or deflation of our currency, where bread costs $20 a loaf, could fund a way out. But no one will support either of those solutions. Stand by. Again.
Joseph Reichert, Belleville