Call to the bioscience community

Nobody wants to talk about what we’re going to do to handle the massive influx of 60-somethings hitting the economy these days. On one hand, many of these boomers are still contributing significant amounts of intellectual capital to the workplace and money to the economy. And because most of these “seasoned citizens” are healthier, they’re like to be able to go on doing that well beyond the magical old retirement numbers of 62 and 65.

President Bush acknowledges government programs will reel under the tidal wave of boomers. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will stagger under the weight of claims for which there is no money.

The U.S. comptroller says it’s gonna take a miracle– that we’ve got to look at “overhauling the country’s non-system of health care, revising tax policies, shoring up pensions and designing strategies to boost savings for retirement.”

Given the dynamic energies here and the race among states to attract and finance the bioscience community, wouldn’t it be nice if its members would set an example for the rest of the business community? Bio-executives could use their massive collective brainpower to envision steps that private companies can take–design innovative programs to boost employee savings and encourage the same tough-love independence in employees that they themselves showed to get their companies up and running.

What about a special retirement savings account into which the boss could put a small bonus each time an employee did an exceptionally good job? The key is to make the solutions win-win-win–for the company, the employee, and the straining economy.