And that might be due in part to consumers’ increasing expectations. As the baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – hit retirement age, they’re expected to delay retirement until later in life, even though their average age is 66. As they live longer, they’re expected to have more health issues and require more medical care.
Even they won’t be spared the financial pressure caused by the cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare, both of which are facing growing annual shortfalls as millions more boomers enter retirement age. (And with increasing life expectancies, that may be the peak-career-expectations barometer, as well.)
There’s something else brewing as well, notes Orli Sacks, a marketing professor at Ball State University, in Indiana. In a recently published survey on consumer psychology, “the study from another of my surveys showed that when people read bad news about Social Security and Medicare, they are more likely to respond with fear and depression. It really, really helps those levels of anxiety and depression go up. So I think it’s a double-whammy.”
US officials are already busy on the “strategy front” for the 2018-19 budget season, which is under way in Washington. Other national news organizations are also engaged in handicapping the political and health policy fight that is coming, as they interviewed people about whether the cuts would affect them.
In December, President Trump proposed a cut of more than $500 billion from Medicare to pay for tax cuts and infrastructure. He’s also sought to privatize Social Security and cut Medicare benefits. Some of those proposals could pass the Republican-controlled Congress, but not the Senate or the White House would have to sign off.