Generations are analytical constructs, and developing a popular and expert consensus on what marks the boundaries between one generation and the next takes time. Pew Research Center has established that the oldest “Millennial” was born in 1981. The Center continues to assess demographic, attitudinal and other evidence on habits and culture that will help to establish when the youngest Millennial was born or even when a new generation begins . To distill the implications of the census numbers for generational heft, this analysis assumes that the youngest Millennial was born in 1997.
In its 2013 Report on the Health of Canadians , the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation had similar findings regarding the health behaviors of baby boomers. The vast majority (85%) don't consume enough fruits and vegetables (crucial components of a longevity diet ), with about a fifth consuming far too much sodium, putting them at risk of high blood pressure. More than 40% report being active less than the recommended 30-60 minutes at least three times per week, and almost 30% said they are "often or always" stressed. In addition, 12% report being heavy drinkers, and 21% still smoke.
Moreover, this mushroom growth will continue even before the baby boomers swamp Social Security. Under intermediate actuarial assumptions, benefit outlays are projected at $ billion ($ billion a day) for calendar 2006, before any baby boomers retire, and $ billion ($ billion a day), an increase of percent over 2001's figure, for calendar 2011, when boomer retirements have just begun.
Then, too, just as the Greenspan Commission's 1983 benefit taxation with trigger income levels unadjusted for inflation is a stealth means test, tinkering with the price index for the COLA is itself an intrinsically insidious way to cut benefits. Rather than cut them directly, it finagles the arithmetic on which their adjustment for inflation is based.
Finally, fiddling with the inflation rate for the COLA may in fact not make all that much difference. Buried toward the end of the February 28 Washington Post piece on Greenspan's remarks was the interesting news that whereas a 1996 commission found that the Consumer Price Index overstated inflation by percentage points a year, another study done in 2000 found that improvements in the index made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics had whittled the overstatement down to percentage points a year, an improvement of almost 50 percent.