Monday, April 3, 2023

FiveThirtyEight asks 'Why Are There So Many Boomers In Congress?'

After some long, involved entries, I'm ready for a simple short post. FiveThirtyEight gave me one this morning when it asked Why Are There So Many Boomers In Congress?

Congress has gotten steadily older over the past few decades, and that has major implications for the issues the legislature cares about.
The short answer to the question is demographics — America has growing older, despite falling life expectancy during the pandemic — and the power of incumbency. I'm sure my fellow fans of Strauss and Howe would not be surprised by this result; those authors saw something like this coming at about this time 30 years ago. I'm also sure that they would notice that FiveThirtyEight is using Strauss and Howe's names for the generations as well.

I agree with FiveThirtyEight's quick summary of what our gerontocracy means for policy. It's good for issues relevant to seniors, but maybe not so good for those important to younger Americans. That's good and bad for me personally. I'm 63, so the current Congress would be more likely to pay attention to health issues, like my diabetes, and retirement. On the other, they might not take climate change and technology as seriously as I think they need to, while a younger group of legislators would. Sigh.

The end of the semester approaches and I need to spend more time on my work, so stay tuned for another short post tomorrow.

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