Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

You call that booming?

You call that booming?

The Wall Street Journal outlines the latest way that Baby Boomers are hurting America -- although it's not their fault for a change:

Older workers, who typically fared better than their younger counterparts in recessions, have been hit just as hard by layoffs this time around. As a result, the fraction of people 65 or older who are working has leveled off after a long period of growth. As of July, it stood at 15.9%, down from 16.3% in mid-2008.

With the overall unemployment rate hovering at 9.5%, many older workers have now found themselves at the back of the line to return to the work force. "Many employers seem to think it is not worth their time or effort to train me in a position," says Kathleen McCabe, 59, a former apartment manager in Tulsa, Okla., who has been out of work since April 2009. "They assume I will leave for retirement soon."

The diminishing work prospects will require many older folks to make do with less—a discouraging outlook for firms hoping to sell them everything from restaurant meals to cars.

As of 2008, the latest data available, people aged 65 to 74 were spending 12.3% less than they did ten years earlier, in inflation-adjusted terms.

Maybe they blew it all on fresh-faded jeans and Grateful Dead boxed sets? Seriously, the economic ramifications are huge, but so are the political ones. We've already seen from the Tea Party -- the vast majority of whom are Baby Boomers or just a tad behind -- that the time quotient of early retirement, planned or not, coupled with anger can be a potent political force. I expect we'll see a lot more of these enraged Boomers descending on Washington soon -- if they are able to afford the bus fare.

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Will Bunch
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