Annual health care expenses for someone over 65 are about three times those for someone under 65. With the number of retirees growing more than 50 percent by 2020, health care costs will explode, even if we get a handle on premium increases.Minnesota is know for its very generous social and welfare programs, but not so much for politicians that have any strategic smarts or ability to make tough choices. If we stay the course, there won't be enough tax revenue to keep the lights on much less provide the bare minimum.
In contrast, Minnesota's workforce will grow just 6 percent between 2010 and 2020, and 3 percent the following decade. We boomers will still be around. But retirees tend to have less taxable income and buy fewer taxable goods and more nontaxed services. Tax revenues simply won't grow as fast over the next 20 years as they have over the past 20.
It's a big bill that, frankly, we won't be able to fill by doing more of the same. This isn't a partisan issue. It can't be a partisan issue, if Minnesota is going to face the twin challenges of demographics and globalization.
There is a test here for the new congressional leadership in Minnesota. To fail the test is to fail the citizenry.