Why The Falling Birthrate Is Bad News For My 2-Year-Old Son

PLANET MONEY
Why The Falling Birthrate Is Bad News For My 2-Year-Old Son
by Alex Blumberg
December 07, 2012
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/12/07/166682253/why-the-falling-birth-rate-is-bad-news-for-my-2-year-old-son

The U.S. birthrate just fell to its lowest point since we’ve been keeping track. Here’s why that may be a problem for my 2-year-old son.

workers become more productive over time, says Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

“You know, a lot of these people run around going, ‘In 1960, we had five workers for every retiree, and today we have three, and in 20, 25 years we’ll have two,’ ” Baker says. “Guess what? Both workers and retirees have considerably higher living standards, at least on average, than they did in 1960.”

Not everyone is convinced by this argument.

“When they laid out the long-term financing of Social Security, they assumed a world that didn’t happen,” says Phillip Longman, author of the book The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What To Do About It.

“They assumed a world in which GDP growth would be 5 percent a year, in which poverty would wither away, in which we would be beset by the miseries of affluence,” he says. “And guess what? We didn’t grow up to be the affluent society. We grew up in a world in which kids are more likely to be poor now than they were 20 years ago.”

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