Pat Buchanan

This was the Silent Generation, born in Depression and war. It never produced a president, and never will, unless Ron Paul catches fire pretty quickly. The Greatest Generation gave us six presidents, starting with JFK and ending with Bush I. Our three most recent presidents -- Bill Clinton, Bush II, Barack Obama -- are all baby boomers.

And here we come to the heart of our next economic crisis.

If one adds up all the children born between Jan. 1, 1946 and Jan. 1, 1965, the era of the great American baby boom, the total comes to 77 million babies born in the United States.

Why is this so significant now?

Because this year, 2012, the first wave of baby boomers, all those born in 1946, like Clinton and George W. Bush, will reach 66, and eligibility for full Social Security and Medicare benefits. The boomers, en masse, will start moving off payrolls onto pension rolls.

Let us assume the 77 million boomers are down to 72 million. This means that over the next 20 years, boomers will be retiring and reaching eligibility for Social Security and Medicare at a rate of 3.6 million a year, or 300,000 a month, or 10,000 every day.

Three hundred thousand a month leaving the labor force may help to explain its shrinkage. And as the boomers are the best-paid, best-educated generation we produced, the loss of their collective skills, abilities and tax contributions will be as heavy a blow to the nation as the funding of their Medicare and Social Security will be a burden to the taxpayers they leave behind in the labor force.

Since Roe v. Wade, abortions have carried off 53 million of the generations that were to replace the boomers. While those 53 million lost have been partially replaced by 40 million immigrants, legal and illegal, our recent immigrants have not exhibited the same income- or tax-producing capacity as boomers.

In 1965, LBJ announced his plan to convert our ordinary society into a Great Society. Since then, trillions have been spent.

The fruits of that immense investment? The illegitimacy rate, dropout rate, crime rate and incarceration rate have set new records, as the test scores of high school students have plummeted to new lows.

Our labor force is shrinking, the number of dependent U.S. adults is growing, our social programs are failing, and our best educated and most productive generation is retiring.

To borrow from Merle Haggard, "Are the good times really over for good?"

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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