ERIC Number: ED255423
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Death and Taxes: The Public Policy Impact of Living Longer. Population Trends and Public Policy, Number 5.
Scommegna, Paola M., Ed.
Life expectancy trends are examined from a policy maker's perspective. Since the late 1960's, life expectancy among the U.S. elderly has increased at unprecedented rates, from 70.2 years in 1965 to 74.5 years in 1983. Although unforeseeable events, such as outbreaks of new diseases, are not reflected in the projections, current projections assume that U.S. life expectancy will continue to increase at some fraction of the 1970's rates. The impact of longer lives on the current system of public programs for the elderly could be disastrous. Federally-funded medical research has played an important role in declines in mortality; however, while death is delayed, aging is not. Federal dollars toward heart and cancer research outnumber funds for gerontology 20-to-1. More federal research dollars must be focused on slowing the aging process. It is estimated that by the year 2025, 50 percent of the U.S. federal budget will be spent on programs for the elderly. For example, increase in life expectancy will affect the cost of the Veteran's Administration programs and federal employee retirement plans. Because women are expected to continue to live longer than men, research should be focused on diseases that affect men. This might allow men to live longer lives and continue to provide for their wives. (RM)
Descriptors: Aging (Individuals), Death, Economic Factors, Ethics, Federal Programs, Females, Futures (of Society), Gerontology, Government Role, Males, Medical Research, Older Adults, Population Trends, Public Policy, Research Needs, Retirement, Retirement Benefits, Sex Differences, Taxes
Circulation Dept., Population Reference Bureau, Inc., P.O. Box 35012, Washington, DC 20013 ($3.00, prepaid plus postage and handling).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Population Reference Bureau, Inc., Washington, DC.