Aging in America 2011 - Public Policy Implications of an Aging Population

Posted on May 02, 2011 by Suzanne Gregory

By Tim Dutton, Executive Director, Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE)

The fact that the number of older adults will more than double over the next 40 years has considerable public policy implications. This statement of the obvious does not diminish its importance and that was the topic of a session that featured Professor Fred Lynch, Phyllis Segal from Civic Ventures, John Rother from AARP and Larry Polivka from Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University.

Some stunning statistics reinforce what we already know about the dimensions of the national aging shift.  Here are a couple:

  • Forty percent of older adults are totally dependent on Social Security
  • Medicare is the public policy that is most immediately relevant due to rapid                  increases in costs of health care combined with baby boomer eligibility.
  • Increases in retirement security over the past 75 years has been in the context of          steady economic growth and that is no longer the case.

Some of the intriguing observations and speculations from this group include:

  • Boomers are certainly not monolithic. By example, this group is made up of                  the progressive and well-heeled on one side AND the Tea Party on the other.
  • What if Social Security were more flexible so that it provides incentive for people to retrain and move in and out of the labor force at all ages?
  • There is a chance that Boomers will rally around the defense or re-conceptualization of Social Security and Medicare. Even those who are disinclined to favor Federal programs have been heard saying, "Keep government out of my Social Security and Medicare."


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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