Census Bureau statistics confirm the changing age profile of the nation, and no amount of Grecian Formula can alter the fact that the population is graying. For a look at where that trend will take the country, MacManus focuses on Florida, which, she says, is what America will look like in the year 2000. Floridians are engaged in intergenerational warfare that will soon sweep the country, a battle of the kids against the wrinklies?mainly over social issues. The old want Medicare, gun control and school prayer, and less spending on education, the environment, welfare, AIDS; the young want the opposite, as well as taxes on Social Security. If Florida is a bellwether, young people will continue to see and resent the shrinking potential of the economy, and it hardly helps to see the lifestyle of the woopies, the Well-Off Older People. But the young had better become more politically involved if they want to fight the gray peril. Old people register to vote at a rate 23% higher than the young, contribute to PACs and retire and run for public office; they are also living longer (in 1990, there were 35,800 people 100 or older). In her thorough study, MacManus makes a plea for education to forestall the us-against-them scenario, pointing out that unless cross-generational understanding becomes a priority, age politics could make for an ugly future. -Publisher's Weekly.
About the Author
Susan A. MacManus is professor government and public ad ministration at the University of South Florida. She is speaks frequently on NPR.