The American population is getting older faster--those 80 and over will nearly double by 2038--while the percentage of those under 65 will drop, resulting in a substantial whack to the federal budget as Social Security and health care expenses surge and taxes shrink, the Congressional Budget Office warned Wednesday.
Still, facing that budget crisis, CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said that the public continues to push for spending cuts, possibly robbing federal benefits they would get as they age.
At a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Elmendorf said that the public’s attitude is an “obstacle to progress” in settling the nation’s budget crisis, set to get worse if the GOP and President Obama refuse to cut a new spending deal an the government shuts down.
Americans, said Elmendorf, “don’t like federal spending in the abstract.” They also hate taxes, he said. But, he said, they get “great value on the benefits they receive.” He added that most of the growth in health and benefit programs in the current and future budget are “written in checks that go outside the beltway.
CBO’s 2038 projections on the aging of America and the obvious budget impact, spelled out in a new report, was stunning:
-- The number of people over the age of 65 is expected to rise by more than one-third.
-- The share of those 65 and older will grow from 14 percent to 21 percent.
-- The share of those 80 and older will grow from 4 percent to 7 percent.
-- Those 20-65 will fall from 60 percent to 55 percent.Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.