After immersing myself in demographics, I've found one constant: any pension/social security scheme that is based on younger folks paying for older folks can only work when the demographic development of the given country is generally positive, i.e. there are more younger folks than older folks.
The moment when life expectancies increase (but the retirement age remains the same) and/or when the demographics tip over so that fewer and fewer young folks enter the workforce, is the moment where all such schemes start their slow but irreversible slide towards insolvency (if retiree benefits are not adjusted downwards) or must be topped up with general government income to compensate for the shortfall (requiring either high levels of debt or reductions in other government outlays).
These are not opinions: these are the facts. You can't argue with them, you can't deny them, you can't ignore them.
Not if you're honest about the problem.
Of course, no politician is.
This is the real reason behind the fatally flawed health care reform bills that have passed both the House and the Senate and which will be reconciled into an abomination that will cause much suffering before the Gods of the Copybook Headings return in vengeance to set things right.
Here is a link with more details.
The real reason behind health-care reforms is the need for the current generation of politicians to hide their duplicity until they can get out of politics...there is no other reason.
Social security, while not strictly speaking a Ponzi scheme, remains unfunded. Health care reforms as envisioned remain unfunded. The costs are massive and unfunded.
Which means that the American taypayer will be paying the bill. These are the kinds of unfunded obligations that bankrupt companies when using the IFSR because they have to place a current value on unfunded obligations that make it impossible for them to operate.
The same principle applies here.
This is the path of national bankruptcy.
This is the path that Argentina, once the fifth richest country in the world, followed into populism, government largess to buy elections, policy incompetence, corruption, insolvency, and ultimately populist fascism ala Peron and Evita.
Wonder what sort of musical our great-great-grandchildren will be listening to about the Obama Administration and the decline of the United States and the rise of populism as the core of American democracy.
Probably in the form of a Chinese opera.