Monday, October 15, 2007

The Silver Tsunami

The headline screams: First US Baby Boomer Applies for Social Security. The story begins:

Retired school teacher Kathleen Casey-Kirschling on Monday became the first ripple in a "silver tsunami" of retiring baby boomers applying for pension benefits that threatens to overwhelm U.S. government finances.

Run for yer lives!

It is not the Iraq war that threatens to overwhelm the government finances. Nope. It is the darned baby boomers daring to get old. Perhaps the government should offer them some short-cut option to that terminal sleep?

Speaking of sleep, my local public radio station has a program about -- the horror! -- children not getting enough sleep. Why this provokes a whole program with experts and all I'm not sure. I don't think schools run 20 hours a day by law, say. Neither do I think that parents are in general unaware of how much sleep children need.

Well, I do know what the point of stories like these are: to press our worry and fear and guilt buttons so that we will attend to the stories and either the advertisements attached to them or the fund-raising needs of the public radio.

The way the baby boomer story is written also serves to make us more open to, say, the privatization of Social Security than we would be if the story didn't call the aging baby boomers "a silver tsunami". It is a tasteless phrase, given the death toll of the most recent tsunami.

And yes, I'm having one of those dark nights of the soul when it comes to political blogging. Thank you for noticing. Add a fanged smiley here.