The topic of age in politics has been coming front and center recently. Certainly, every verbal blunder and physical misstep President Biden makes gets front-page coverage from the conservative media. And the recent events with Senator Feinstein where she had to be prompted to vote (Feinstein gets confused in Senate Appropriations hearing, has to be prodded to vote | CNN Politics); and with Senator Mitch McConnell freezing up at a press conference (Video: Mitch McConnell Freezes, Leaves Press Conference (nymag.com) ) have highlighted the growing calls for a retirement age for legislators.
With no mandatory retirement age for members of the US Congress, the 117th Congress – House and Senate – is the oldest, on average, of any Congress in two decades. The average age of senators in this Congress is 63.9, and the average age of a House member is 58.3. And Congress is getting older and older; in the 107th Congress, which meant from January 2001 to January 2003, senators were, on average, 4.6 years younger and House members were 4.4 years younger. 2 charts that show just how old this Congress actually is | CNN Politics. The age range of serving US Senators is from 90 years to 56 years. The age range of serving members of the House of Representatives is 89 years to 25 years. Of our “boomer” generation, there are 230 baby boomers in the House of Representatives and 68 baby boomers in the Senate. The majority of the rest of us Boomers have retired or have moved on to fewer or different responsibilities, mostly without the pressures and responsibilities of the occupations of our youth.
Contrast the age of our serving representatives with the mandatory retirement age in the following occupations:
- Military – 62
- Federal Employees – 67
- Police and firefighters – 57 (with some exceptions)
- Air Traffic Controllers – 56
A majority of firms in the S&P 1500, and more than a third of S&P 500 firms, have policies in place that mandate the retirement of their CEOs at age 65, including General Electric, Altria, ExxonMobil, and Intel. CEOs & Mandatory Retirement Age – Quick Leonard Kieffer (qlksearch.com)
As somebody who is well past each of the above ages for mandatory retirement, I think it is well past time that our representatives also are issued a mandatory retirement age. How is it even conceivable that a Senator be allowed to serve, when that Senator must be reminded how and when he or she should vote for a motion in front of him or her? How in touch can a member past the age of 70 be with the pressures and issues of his or her constituents aged 35 years or less?
Add to those concerns the fact that we “Boomers” are fast shedding our mortal coils and the Millennials, GenXers, and GenZers are ready and eager to take over for us and maybe (for better or worse) have some new ideas and priorities to contribute to our problems.
The number of baby boomers dying per year is expected to increase dramatically as the nation’s baby boom cohort ages. In the United States in 2019, the death rate was highest among those aged 85 and over. Today, there are about 2.6 million deaths every year, but this number will rise to over 4 million a year by 2050. Deaths of baby boomers are projected to reach more than 3.6 million in 2037. How many boomers die each year – Search (bing.com).
While at the same time, according to the web search results, 4,000,000 million young people are turning 18 each year in 2021 and 2022. More than 15 million people have turned 18 since the last presidential election. How many people turn 18 yearly – Search (bing.com). As of 2019, Millennials (those born between 1981-1996) have surpassed Baby Boomers in being the largest generation, totaling in at 72.1 million people residing in the United States. Surprising Baby Boomer Statistics Every Generation Should Know | LoveToKnow
Certainly, with we Boomers aging and dying, the political landscape with change dramatically. For instance, in 2016, Donald Trump commanded the support of only 28 percent of voters under 30, according to Pew Research. His disapproval rating among Americans under 35 currently hovers around 70 percent. And millennials’ antipathy for our Republican president isn’t personal; the Fox News grandpa-in-chief might be especially unappealing to the rising generation, but the kids don’t have much use for the GOP’s kinder, gentler reactionaries, either. Less than 30 percent of millennials wanted Republicans to retain control of Congress last year. And in broader measures of generational opinion, both millennials and Gen-Zers evince higher levels of support for liberal ideological premises and policy proposals than any older cohorts. The Republican Party Has an Older Voters Problem (nymag.com)
I think it is past time that or contemporaries in power cede that power to the next generations.