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Ok, I'm in a inquisitive mood and I was hoping you guys would be able to help me out.
Here's what I've been thinking about.
In the debate about Social Security much is made about the baby boom putting a strain on the system. A large number of that generation will be retiring at once and they are fewer workers available to provide funds to support them.
I wonder though, wouldn't this be a temporary event? Once we have a spike of people reaching retirement age won't we eventually reach a point where that boom will be over and the costs for Social Security will fall again? If so, how long would this last until we're through that period? Would the accumulated surpluses pay for that time period? How much extra would it cost to make it through this boom? Would this be less than the cost of the current proposals?
The government has been borrowing money from the SS trust fund for ages, eventually all that money should be paid back. Would a short period of time where the Social Security system borrows from the general revenue be fair, to be paid back once the boom is over?
Right now our energy needs are being met with the accumulated storage of energy as fossil fuels. We are cashing in thousands of years of net energy gainat a fairly rapid pace. I think its fair to say that we are using fossil fuels faster than they are being replaced through natural processes.
Simply finding another source of stored energy will lead us down the same path eventually. Considering this, what forms of energy can we expect to be reliable in perpetuity? I thought -- gravity, the planet's rotation and the radiation from the sun? We're screwed if we lose one of those anyways. Are there other "prime" sources that you can think of? And would these sources be enough to maintain our current energy usage? Is it just a matter of reliably harnessing these energy sources in a large enough quantity?
Let's say there was 5 lbs of a substance, and that one pound could power a civilization for 10 years. This substance landed on the planet in usuable form in an easily accessible location. After 45 years or so, as we neared the end of this supply, we would have to consider looking for alternatives. Comparatively, excavating fossil fuels, with the amount of effort and time involved would look overwhelmingly expensive.
Do we not find ourselves in a similar position? Is it merely that we have an unrealistic expectation about the cost and availability of energy? What would our economy look like today had fossil fuels been so convenient?
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Dissolve into Evergreens