The Ageing of the American Population Essay

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The Ageing of the American Population

Of the total federal expenditures in 1995, Social Security together with Medicare(federally founded health program aimed at helping the elderly, founded in 1965) was the largest, accounting for about 34 percent. In 2005 this figure is predicted to be as high as 39 percent. This is caused by the "graying" of America and the increased number of elderly who will collect benefits for a longer portion of their lives, coupled with a reduction of the number of workers available to pay for their benefits. Increasing costs of living and higher standards of living (as reflected in higher wages) also are consequences.

In short, if no action is taken in the interim, by approximately 2013 the federal
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As the group makes up more and more of the population, its visibility and political influence will probably intensify.

The situation is caused by an increasing number of retiring Americans, the fact is that we are now living a great deal longer than did our grandparents. The makers of the Social Security system designed it with their present life spans in mind. When they created the program in 1935 and chose 65 as the retirement age, the average life expectancy of a child born in that year was only 61. Today, the average life expectancy is 76 years, and by 2030 it is expected to approach 80 years of age. As increasing numbers of Americans claim Social Security benefits and do so for a much longer period of time than was originally planned, and as fewer workers are available to support those transfer payments, the strain on the Social Security system threatens to rip the program apart.

This dramatic rise in the number of elderly American citizens will stress the Social Security System as well as other organisations designed to assist the elderly. Experts project that soon after the year 2000, the federal government will have to take serious steps to insure the continuation of the Social Security program: reduction of payments, taxation of benefits, an increase in the age at which people become eligible, or some combination of these strategies. If

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