Sunday, August 29, 2004


Just in time to put a crimp in the grand old party....

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was Friday's leadoff speaker at a two-day conference about challenges that the global economy faces because of rapidly aging populations.

As he did first in February, during testimony before Congress, and several times since, Greenspan issued his warning that the White House and Congress need to come up quickly with a plan to trim the Social Security and Medicare benefits that 77 million baby boomers are scheduled to receive when they retire.

He said haste is critical. There is no way benefits currently promised can be financed by government, he said, and Americans born in the 20 years after World War II need to be put on notice so they can start putting away extra retirement savings during their working years.

Even under the most optimistic economic assumptions of growth and productivity, government resources will be inadequate to provide the baby boom generation with the level of benefits their parents got, he said.

''If we have promised more than our economy has the ability to deliver, ... as I fear we may have, we must recalibrate our public programs so that pending retirees have time to adjust through other channels,'' he said. ''If we delay, the adjustments could be abrupt and painful.''
(from AOL News)

Even though it was probably timed to be lost in the weekend news wasteland, the story will probably get play on a few of the Sunday morning news shows. Even though a majority of Americans would probably never see it, it still becomes a legit part of Toobworld's make-up.

So in the TV Universe, that "abrupt and painful" adjustment will probably climax in this way:

By 2020, the American government, reacting to serious problems of homeless and jobless people, created special Sanctuary Districts in most cities where such people could be cared for.
Unfortunately, while established with benevolent intent, the Sanctuary Districts quickly degenerated into inhumane internment camps where the unemployed, the mentally ill, and other outcasts were imprisoned.

On the September 1, 2024, residents of Sanctuary District A in San Francisco took over an administrative processing centre, holding six centre employees hostage. The residents managed to gain access to Earth's planetary computer network, and many were able to tell their stories of imprisonment to the outside world.

As a result, the American public became aware of the great injustice that had been hidden from them.

The so-called Bell Riots ended when the governor of California ordered federal troops to retake the processing centre by force. Hundreds of sanctuary residents were killed, although none of the hostages were harmed. History records that protest leader Gabriel Bell sacrificed his life to save the hostages. (It is for that reason that the riots are named after him.)

In the wake of the Bell Riots and the senseless death of so many people, American public opinion turned against the Sanctuary Districts. The sanctuaries were abolished as the United States finally began to face serious social problems it had struggled with for over a century. ('Star Trek' - "Past Tense")

As for Greenspan himself, that fiscal boogeyman is 78 and was recently confirmed for a fifth term as the Fed Chairman. So he doesn't have to worry too much about his retirement prospects.

And as for me, I need to renew my Old Glory insurance. For when the robots come for me - and they will! - I want to be prepared!
('Saturday Night Live')


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