The baby gloomers

| Staff Columnist

Is there anyone left who cares about Brett Favre? Brett’s a future Hall of Famer. I get it. The guy is competitive and wants to win a Super Bowl. I get that too. But then there’s the drama: crazy text messages to a former reporter, issues with the coaches, and of course, the constant retirements. Then why come back? Is it really that big of a deal to stick it to your old team and elevate your legacy?

It’s that small little thing that people seem to forget: the money.

Favre signed a two-year contract worth around $25 million, with extra incentives given for games played and for passing yards accumulated. So sticking around for a few more years kind of makes sense once you grab a seat on the money train. The average age for an NFL quarterback to retire is in the early thirties. Favre is 41. Is Favre really helping his team, or is he holding them back?

Progress is what’s dragging our current economy down.

The economy is in all sorts of trouble; some experts believe it’s in a recession, some say a depression, and every now and then you’ll hear some clown say that it’s just fine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which most economists believe represents the vitality of the economy, has bounced back. So if there’s money flowing, then why is the economy really that bad? Is it because of the job market? Is it because the housing market and the subprime lending industry crippled everything? Or is it because of the baby boomers, those born from 1946 to 1964?

USA Today ran an article last week about baby boomers who are now homeless and who have lost everything. If that’s the case, who are all those old people still working? The Government Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the largest group of working people in our society consists of adults aged 44 and older. The baby boomers are the largest group of jobholders in our society. They are the graying America.

The interesting thing is that the original 401(k) program was introduced in 1978 by Congress, so there’s been plenty of time for this aging workforce to plan its retirement. Granted, the market took a giant downward turn a few years ago, but it has now recovered. That’s how the roller coaster goes. So what if they want to keep working instead of retiring, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that this impedes the career development of young people who should be moving into the workforce.

People search for a job when they graduate from college. Once they find that job, they’ll usually purchase a car, then a home and then stuff for that home. These are the consumers in the economy, the people who spend money, the ones who help with economic progress. When baby boomers get close to retirement, they save more, which doesn’t put a lot of money back into the economy. The other interesting fact is that older workers make more. When older employees stay at a company at a high cost, it affects the profit margin of that company. If an employee making $80,000 a year retires at, let’s say, 58, then a company can replace him with two college grads at $35,000 a year, saving the company $10,000 and netting them two employees instead of one. If that employee doesn’t retire then two people are still looking for work, and the company might have to look at different ways to save that $10,000.

It’s not my place to say who should work and who shouldn’t. But maybe before we get too old ourselves, we might really think about progress. Are we setting ourselves up to retire early, or are we going be the guy who everyone says is too old to play a young man’s game?

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