The United States faces a significant demographic challenge. In 1960, the U.S. birthrate stood at 3.62. Today, it hovers around 1.64, which is less than half of what it once was.
We don’t need to speculate about the future consequences; the experiences of countries like Japan have already provided a preview. The aging American population grows by approximately 10,000 daily, with the percentage of those 65 and older having tripled since 1920.
These older individuals often have underfunded retirement plans. To ensure sustained economic growth, job creation, rising asset values, and the capacity to meet our mounting social assistance obligations, the U.S. needs a cohesive federal strategy. Here's a proposal tailored specifically for the Bay Area:
1. Infrastructure Development
Construct more homes, educational institutions, and essential infrastructure. A decrease in homelessness results in reduced strain on government aid and law enforcement. Additionally, a rise in housing can lead to stabilized costs. Companies are attracted to regions with skilled labor and affordable housing—ensuring employees can live comfortably.
2. Tax Incentives
Offer tax incentives and financial concessions for essential developments. While some criticize tax breaks as favoring wealthy developers, the pragmatism behind such incentives cannot be overlooked. While government-led housing projects can be beneficial, it's essential to note their inefficiencies—like the exorbitantly-priced toilet project in Noe Valley, San Francisco.
3. Technological Advancements in Governance
Modernize governmental operations using technology. This would not only reduce bureaucratic red tape but also expedite processes, from building permit approvals to tax collection.
4. Promote Affordable Family Living
Increase the construction of affordable homes. Housing constitutes a significant portion of family expenses—sometimes as high as 40%—and is a primary inflation driver.
5. Simplified Immigration for Skilled Workers
Streamline the immigration process for educated or skilled workers. Personal testimonies, like a five-year long, costly, and intricate legal immigration process, highlight the need for reform. Unless addressed, the Bay Area and the U.S. at large might experience slowed growth, slashed social benefits, or even increased taxes.
This perspective stems from economic reasoning, sidelining political bias. The need of the hour is pragmatic action over divisive politics. The choice, ultimately, is ours to make.
- By Mark Palermo, President-Palermo Properties Team