Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sid Salter on Turning 60

Longevity runs in my family on both sides. My father lived to a few weeks shy of 76 years. My mom made it 82 years. My grandmothers lived to be 93 and 101 respectively. One grandfather died at 76 and the other at 81.  Those numbers tend to be encouraging as I celebrate my 60th birthday this week – or at least with no scientific fact to support my belief, I choose to be encouraged by them. But those numbers represent the up side of my realities.

The down side? Demographics researchers report that for the third consecutive year Americans aren’t living as long. Life expectancy in the U.S., reports Johns Hopkins University Professor David Bishai, has declined from a high of 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2016.

Do those few months matter? As I learned battling cancer in 2017, the answer is a resounding “yes” if the months in question are yours. The remarkable thing is that American life expectancy in 1950 was about 68 years. Advances in medical science, the eradication of several diseases, and increased public awareness about healthy lifestyles combined over the last 70 years to give the average American another full decade of life.

But Dr. Bishai, who studies health economics, observed in a 2018 essay: “The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the death count for Americans under 65 rose by 20,566 between 2015 and 2016. Based on population growth alone, one would have expected only 6,131 additional deaths. The other 14,435 Americans died prematurely of causes that could have prevented.

“The U.S. is not bumping up against natural limits to life expectancy. The extra American funerals were for American sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, neighbors and co-workers dying in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Their death certificates list mostly overdoses from opioids and other substances, cirrhosis, suicide and homicide.”
Despite that stark news, Americans are somewhat sheltered heading to their golden years, aren’t they? There’s Social Security and Medicare, right?

The National Bureau of Economic Research reports that “between 1960 and 1995, the official poverty rate of those Americans aged 65 and above fell from 35 percent to 10 percent (and) Social Security is often mentioned as a likely contributor to the decline in elderly poverty.”

Medicare is also an undeniable factor in that equation. And after 45 years of letting the federal government take about 15 percent of my earnings to cover entitlement benefits promised to my parents and grandparents, I am now in the huge Baby Boomer generation careening toward eligibility for those same benefits. The inevitable question among my age group is one of how long the Social Security and Medicare programs as we know them can continue to exist. The answer is just as inevitable.

Reality is a national debt that is hurtling toward $22 trillion – and that number ignores anticipated future entitlement outlays for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, so the national budget hole is actually more like $200 trillion.

But let’s use the $22 trillion number. Today, U.S. federal tax revenue is $10,141 per citizen while the national debt equals $66,747 per citizen.

Then there is the “graying” of our country. As Baby Boomers age and the nation’s birth rate has declined, the U.S. has dramatically aged. In 1970, the U.S. median age was 28.1. In 2016, it was 37.9. Let’s see now - an older population with fewer workers paying into the entitlement system and a growing number of retirees drawing benefits or entitled to do so.

Our nation faces some extraordinarily hard choices over the next 15-20 years, a period which for me likely coincides with the previously-cited life expectancy numbers. That is, unless my genes follow those of my 101-year-old grandmother and I have another 41 years to go with no time off for good behavior.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

No one is guaranteed the next 5 longevity or not

Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with Senate republicans, we should end Medicare and social security payments and give further tax breaks to those who work and corporations. The money will trickle down to those in need who didn’t plan and if not, that is Darwinism at work.

Anonymous said...

"No one is guaranteed the next 5 longevity or not."

So by that logic, don't plan to stop at the next stop sign because you're not guaranteed to live that long anyway.

Anonymous said...

Another completely nonsensical comment from the troll @9:41.

Anonymous said...

11:27, I'm sure you'll grow up one day and realize that not everything is free. Someone is paying for it. At some point we have to quit spending money we don't have and I'm sick of paying for your sorry ass! Grow up and get a job!!!

Anonymous said...

11:02 - Plan on the other driver not stopping if ya want longevity. I mostly agree with 8:47. I'm 60, my dad and made it to 96 years of age. His dad made it to 78 years of age.

If you want longevity you have to look out for yourself!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile...the 13th check starts compounding at age 55.

Anonymous said...

I could have sworn that Salter was not a day over 70. Maybe it's the gut and hair-do. Such a stellar radio face.

Anonymous said...

Next week Sid Will write about the Shutdown. It was too much of a lift this week and he was hoping it would go away.

Anonymous said...

9:41. I agree ....but I would like the $$$$ My employer and I contributed from age 21 when I began paying and 70 when I retired plus the amount I have paid since I retired. I have paid the maximum since I began full time employment. I will even agree to the interest on the contributions be at a meager 2.5%.

Anonymous said...

I haven’t seen Salter in years, but he used to look like Humpty Dumpty. He was extremely obese. If he still is, I doubt he has the longetivity he thinks he has.

Anonymous said...

Oh, now, y’all be nice...although some of your mean comments were, admittedly, funny, and it is a fact that Sid is fat as a ham. I just hate it when people who post truthy zingers are called “trolls.”

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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