The most startling demographic projection as America moves from a population of 300 million in 2006 to a population of 400 million in the years 2040-50, is that the country will be made up of OLD PEOPLE, to a much greater degree. Think of the whole country as like Florida today. In 2006, about 6% of the U.S. population is over 75 (compared to 3% in 1967). By 2040, about 11.6% of the population will be over 75 (Source.) The 65-and-over population will leap from 10 percent of the U.S. population in 2006, to almost 72 million, or 20 percent of the total population by 2030 (Source).
The country NEEDS a large level of immigration -- young, new immigrants who can pay into social security to finance the twilight years of elders. We're all in this together.
The second most startling demographic projection is that the Hispanic population is almost certain to almost DOUBLE, from 44.2 million (14.8% of the overall population) to at least 24%, due in large part to immigration, legal or otherwise. Economic and immigration policies can have SOME impact, but there's no turning back on this BASIC trend. We'd better get sed to it, see the positive impact and build on it, rather than try to push back the sea with an angry, nativist reactionary approach than cannot succeed. The 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico simply cannot be completely protected and sealed off amid desert, sand dunes and places where locals don't even know precisely where the border is.
Robert Samualson argues convincingly that since Americans are living longer, healthier lives, they need to work longer, and the retirement age should be raised to 70. If most of us are going to live to well past 80, and to healthy well into our seventies, why should we be able to access full retirement benefits at 65? Some people on good pensions are retiring in their forties or fifties, yet they may live for another 30 or 40 years, meaning they would have worked less than a third of their lives. Is that fair to the younger generation that will pay through much higher taxes for their elders' indolence?