Well, another presidential election is nearing, and politicians on both sides are doing what they usually do: that is, they're dodging the issue of federal spending for the soon-to-be-retiring-in-droves baby boomers.
Here are two eye-opening paragraphs from Robert J. Samuelson:
The aging of America is not just a population change or, as a budget problem, an accounting exercise. It involves a profound transformation of the nature of government: Commitments to the older population are slowly overwhelming other public goals; the national government is becoming mainly an income-transfer mechanism from younger workers to older retirees.
Consider the outlook. From 2005 to 2030, the 65-and-over population will nearly double, to 71 million; its share of the population will rise to 20 percent from 12 percent. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- programs that serve older people -- already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget, projects the Congressional Budget Office.
The rest of Samuelson's column is devoted to a quixotic scheme to encourage liberal and conservative think tanks to come up with honest solutions to the problem.
If you look at my posts on entitlement spending, you'll see that I've blogged this issue before.