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September 3rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #957 'Growing older, but not unemployed'

Reporter's Note: President Obama continues to get ready for his big jobs speech, and I continue to help by writing my daily letters with advice, anecdotes, and attitudes with which to run the country.

Dear Mr. President,

Did you see this story about the 61-year-old college football player? Suddenly all my running this year seems a lot less impressive. Can you imagine lining up across from some of these huge, young athletes these days? I’m not sure you could pay me enough. Of course, he’s a kicker so with a little luck he should avoid any serious collisions, but the mere thought of having my spine cracked by a 20-something gives me the shivers.

I suspect, however, that we’re going to see a lot more stories like that if the economy stays the way it is. Plenty of older folks, faced with fears about the solvency of their retirement accounts and ever-advancing life expectancies are beginning to sniff around this idea of staying engaged, involved, and employed longer. After all, they’re not sure they can afford to retire, chew Viagra, and argue about denture adhesive all day. (Although, that does sound like a pretty sweet gig, doesn’t it?)

Anyway, I wonder what impact that might have on our abysmal job situation.

It seems like we could be heading toward another recipe for trouble. Take a big bucket of young people need jobs but can’t find them, add a lot of worried old folks, toss in notions about extending the retirement age to cut back on entitlement spending, and voila: You have a little specialty I call Generation Gap Ragu!

Ah well. I guess I’ve strayed a bit from talking about a 61-year-old field goal kicker, but my mind wanders now and then. Uh oh. Sounds like I’m getting older.

Going for some long runs this weekend. If you want to go along just give me a call, or at least we can meet for a couple of cold Gatorades afterward.

Regards,

Tom.