Neil Howe: The Fourth Turning Has Arrived

In 1996, demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe published the book The Fourth Turning. This study of generational cycles ("turnings") in America revealed predictable social trends that recur throughout history and warned of a coming crisis (a "fourth turning") based on this research.

Fourth turnings are defined by disorder and great changes brought on by a breakdown of the systems and operating principles that dominated the prior three turnings.

Our society has entered a fourth turning (consisting of the twenty-year periods leading up to and out of it immediately.)

It is a season you have to move through before you are born again -- so to speak -- as a society, and regain institutional confidence. You have to go through a crucible to get there.

I think the fourth turning started -- probably, if I were to date it now -- in 2008: the realigning election in that year of Barack Obama against John McCain. And, obviously, simultaneously with that, as we all recall, an epic, historic crash of the global economy from which we still have not recovered.

We are sort of hobbling along in kind of a low-earth orbit, with continued high unemployment and excess capacity -- not just in the United States, but around the world. And, of course, all the rules of economic policy seem broken and lie in fragments on the floor. People are wondering what the heck do we do in this new era?

Each of the generational cohorts living within this turning (e.g., Boomers, Gen X, Millennials) have roles to play.

This is a period when, in each of these turnings, each generation is moving in their new phase of life. Boomers are beginning to retire, they are beginning to redefine the senior phase of life. X’s are beginning to assume mid-life roles as the dominant parent generation and leaders. These are people born in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And, Millennials are fully beginning to come of age and redefine young adulthood. And, meanwhile, a very small generation is just beginning to come on stream, which remembers nothing before 2008. 

We can already see these generational divisions forming, and it is interesting how each generation is to some extent defined by the thing they have, they just have no memory of, they just barely have no memory of (e.g., Boomers are defined by the World War II that even the oldest of them cannot remember).

History gives us patterns that predict how these generational archetypes will collaborate, compete, and collide with one another as we enter into crisis. Understanding these in advance will give us a big advantage on the types of policies and solutions most likely to yield success. And we sorely need these, as the problems we're heading into have no easy answers:

There are patterns here which we recognize, and it is very important not to have historical amnesia. To look back and see where we have been, see where we are going, and more importantly, to understand the dynamics behind these social trends have familiar parallels. We just need to have the historical imagination to look far enough backwards and forward to see where else they have happened or to see where they possibly will happen again.

I am nervous. I am nervous about the future right now. I think we have a lot more deep issues, deep crises, to save in the economy. I am also very nervous about what I see geopolitically.

We cannot possibly afford the government we have promised ourselves. And, that will be a painful process of deleveraging, and it is not just deleveraging the explicit debt that we have already actually formally borrowed, it is all the implicit debt. And, I think we will deal with it, because we have no other choice.

But, my point is this: No one simply solves a terrible problem on a sunny day when they can afford, at least for the time being, to look the other way. Problems like that are faced when people have no other choice, and it is a really grim day. And, it is white-knuckle time, and horrible things are happening with markets around the world, or horrible things are happening, at least historically; we have seen that geopolitically around the world. And, that is when people are forced to act.  

Strauss and Howe's research provides another lens through which to view how the next twenty years will be remarkably different from life as we've been used to. It's one worth looking through.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Neil Howe (60m:25s):

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Interesting discussion, yet another layer in fabric of our time.  While thought provoking, nothing in the discussion really rang true for me.  It seems that there are a number of broader arcs overlaying the generation cycles discussed that are having a greater impact.
The old empires of europe and america are failing as a small cadre of privately held central banks and multational are still trying to hold onto centralized power.  Europe and america are going broke as third world giants are starting to ascend the international stage.  Capital intensive centralized solutions are giving way to localized solutions as a globalized consciousness wakes up.  "Think global, act local" is now a reality, as connectivity is transforming the world.

Hucksters, corporations and "entrepreneurs" are still trying to frantically get out in front of the latest "trend" trying to monetize new oportunities.  Meanwhile workplace participation is at all time lows despite a falling "unemployment" rate.  I would agree people are now becoming do-it-yourselfer's but both out of immediate necessity and but also from a long term board system failure that come at end of a two thousand year old cycle.

We are being made new by the changes, we are transforming the world just as we are becoming transformed by the world.  Resource depletion is setting a new table that transcends generational cycles of the past.  Recent american history (last 200 years) is an aboration that seem unlikely to repeat itself again anytime soon in any fashion.

You haven't read The 4th Turning.  For me,  I enjoyed the podcast…despite Chris's lukewarm reception to the idea/concept/idea the guests views represent, I especially dialed in on the idea that each generations solution becomes another's problem.  I was surprised, pleasantly so, regarding Howe's grasp of economics in both historical and present terms, and their implications.  4th Turnings mean bad things, and I've learned we don't discuss bad things in detail here at PP without controversy - but we should.

I've read the book and refer to it constantly.  I believe in cycles definately.  To the previous commentor, its not about bad things, its just that we are at a point in the cycle where we hit a crisis.  Life will continue, we must remain positive despite what's going on.  In my interpretation, one day we will all collectively become quite uniform once again, as they did after WWII.  They were called the 'grey suits' cause they all looked exactly the same.  If you image a movie set in the 50s with men rushing around in cities all looking the same.  Something like that will happen again.  We will conform collectively, and work together.  It is definately a tiny bit odd to say that there is a cycle, because that in itself is paranormal.  Its like something bigger than us is at play.  But I'm definately a fan of this idea.  Good on you Howe, great book. 
I am actually writing a similar book to Howe's yet quite different again.  Nearly complete.  My cycle encompasses the 'Great Year' and a pattern.  I've been wanting to tell Howe about it for a long time, hope you get the message and are open to the idea.   

But it is next on the reading list. I found this article helpful to give me a basic insight into what I will be reading about later. I am a tail end babyboomer (1959) and like some others have previously said, I find myself in limbo about where I belong - the boomers or X'er's. I do agree with the assertion that there is evidence of many positive inter-generational relationships. This will need to be further cultivated to help effect solutions to what is sure to be difficult times ahead.It was also said previously that there was too much general agreement on PP. We gain nothing if that is all we are doing. We should be able to discuss bad things in detail without generating controversy.
My take is that this site has gained a reputation as one of the better sites around, part of that reputation coming from professionalism of both the content and how the site is managed, including discussion management. To use an analogy, PP is like a fine restaurant, and when in a fine restaurant, it is generally understood that good manners be used. Conversely, PP is not a fast food joint, where, like some other financial sites out there, the comments are "anything goes" and the insults fly. When it gets like that, what is the point? There are a lot of extremely intelligent people here who have real insights to share and it would be really nice to see that intellect used constructively in discussions of even difficult topics. We all benefit from it, when it is done well.
We are at a really important junction in time, where hard choices and decisions are going to need to be made to navigate through tough times. If the people who "get it" - such as the many people who frequent this site - cannot have the hard discussions that will challenge our thinking and lead us to making the right decisions for ourselves and our families/communities, then we have little hope of effecting positive change. If we can't do it, who can?

I agree with treemagnet.  I was interested in Howe's observation about the congeniality between Millenials and their Boomer parents, which I think we all can see.  It suggests to me a greater likelihood for a foreign trigger of the Crisis.  And it may offer hope of a less violent path through.  We all know that debt and unfunded liabilities will have to be renounced…but it will be a lot easier if we have overseas fall guy.

When I read the book, history finally made sense because there was a context for names and dates to fit within. I'm glad I listened to this podcast. I had forgotten how governmental institutions will be rebuilt in the regeneracy. That is a component in my personal community building that I've overlooked. So far, everything I've done has been in spite of government.
Neil's advice for the future tended toward financial aspects. To me, investing in Japan right now is akin to watching a soufflè bake knowing your kid always slams the door. Will it be done in time? Worry about investing when the High comes around. 

I wish he had focused more on community building to improve the odds of getting through the crisis. I see all the generations being useable and necessary for a vibrant community. Each generation has something to offer. Each should be utilized. Each should be welcome. As we get further in this cycle, the needs will become more obvious. If you know what to expect, you can plan accordingly.


Exponential curves impress me more than circles.
They are more powerful than the curves I knew as a young man.

I have not read the book.  I do like the thinking that brings in diverse disciplines, I have always liked reading cultural historians, which comes across in the interview.  My favorite is William Irwin Thompson who can be a little arcane, who takes a deeper and broader view of human history and culture.
I guess the stumbling block that I have with the basic premise of this twenty year cycle, which appears to be presented as a normal part of the evolution of human culture, where one generations solutions become the nexts problem, in MHO, is the signature of a dysfunctional culture (perhaps this is addressed in the book), and is nothing like "normal".

There are cultures where this intergenerational "forgetting" is not the norm, where there is not strife between generations.  I don't think that we are condemned to  repeat this cycle ad infinitum. These are all symptoms of a sick culture that is trying to heal and course correct, but for a set of complex reasons is unable to do so. There are underlying reasons for this dysfunction, which are being addressed and healed in our time, which to me is amazing and very exciting.

This thinking seems to be tangled in the symptoms of a disease which has been taken as normal, while missing the transformative deeper movements that are emerging in our times.  Perhaps I have missed something, curious to hear feed back.  Right now this book is not on my reading list.

I did read this book right after it was first published and another time later.  I own it and have recommended it to a number of friends.  I had read their book Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584-2069, which explains the 4 generational cycles in detail and was excited to read T4T.  I did find it constructive in helping me view the micro-event responses (generations moving through time) occurring.  For me time is a spiral, we move around the circle but the location is always a bit different.  Sometimes we move up the spiral, sometimes down the spiral.  Long-term there is no such thing as only upward progress.  And with any plotted line on a graph, the view of the movement depends on how close in you are to the details.  The fact that there are larger cycles coming to a transition at this moment in time doesn't preclude generational cycles having some impact on what is occurring.
This is a little like understanding epigenetics and the influence of environment on genes.  We inherited some things that don't change and we inherit a lot that can change with environmental influences (nutrition, exposure to pollutants, etc).  Our generations have some aspects that are "hardwired" and some that adapt with the events we must handle.  If you aren't aware that boomers, as a group (not necessarily every individual), tend to be seriously attached to their view of the world and do not move easily and can be downright dictatorial, you've not been paying much attention.  That works well for some crises and not so much for others.  If you read the book Generations (and it is no easy effort) you will understand much better what is in T4T and how it may influence the crises we are in.

Each generation has much to offer as we stumble and trip through this series of messes.  None of the generations have all of the answers or all of the best management skills.  We must stop letting media talking heads on both sides pit generations against each other.  While I agree that unfunded liabilities and government bennies that have been promised but not paid for must be dealt with and all will need to sacrifice, some of the words and tone I've seen here and elsewhere isn't going to bring us to consensus quickly and my sense is sooner than later would be better.  We must see the issues as a whole and not individual parts and certainly not as another generations need to give up.  That isn't something humans do well and Americans are particularly bad at it.  We certainly do need to stop worshiping our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) as the last folks in the U.S. with any good ideas on governance and get on with creating something better given the world we actually live in.

based on your posts, I think.   I know its just one book, but what a book! Grover, I don't know who said it first, but my favorite expression for Japan is 'a bug looking for a windshield'. 

I haven't read the book, but I plan to this summer. Treemagnet and Treebeard I don't think you are necessarily at odds. We may be in both types of cycles, one small, the other large. I find it interesting how historians use musical terms to describe the cycles and flows of society, eras, and nature. The "rhythm" of life, living in "harmony," a "metronome." Listen to Beethoven's fifth symphony. It is built through the use of  isomorphism from the very first motif, this motif being the first small "cycle," which becomes the building block for the entire work.  We may be experiencing a smaller cycle within a larger. So Treebeard you may be looking at the much larger cycle, and Treemagnet focusing on the smaller. 
The archetypes correspond to C.G. Jung's basic archetypes of the individual, and the collective. Hero/Shadow, Anima/Animus, Journey/Death and Rebirth, etc… these are not just personality traits and symbols, but life cycles within the individual, collective society, and the universe. 

I  find it interesting how much of the interview centered around the boomers and millenials. Xers were mentioned, but not really discussed in a meaningful way (this is where Jung would point out that the shadow side is pushed back into the unconscious). Often the Xers are lumped in with the boomers, and sometimes boomers don't want to be classified as such and try to take on the X label. Jan, I love your posts, but I would like to say that you firmly fall within the years of the boomers, but with that said you may feel your narrative more aligns with the Xers.  

I think the fact that the boomers are holding onto their jobs well past the age of "retirement" is causing resentment in the Xers, not the Millenials. Is it that the boomers are holding onto the jobs to prepare themselves, or is it that they don't want to relinquish their control? The comment that the boomers have no intention of being called senior citizens is somewhat revealing. The hero archetype is one that is collectively dominating our culture right now. We (especially in America…the world "hero"<sarc>)   have completely fallen in love with it, and those who have the most control have fallen in love with it the most. The indications of this is most evident in the emphasis we put on our leaders (CEO compensation in particular).

I am seeing more community involvement as well, which is really wonderful. I am also seeing more ground up solidarity in the workplace as well, so the beauracratic top-down decision making is being challenged.

In the end, I feel the labels that we use to classify individuals only divide us. Maybe the fourth turning is a time (however that unfolds) to shed these labels so we can see each others as fellow human beings within a interconnected universe, and not as the labels we classify each other.   


  If you aren't aware that boomers, as a group (not necessarily every individual), tend to be seriously attached to their view of the world and do not move easily and can be downright dictatorial, you've not been paying much attention
I shall proceed to prove your point.

Where do you see cycles in this? Just show me how this is utterly wrong and I shall retire to my rocking chair and suck my toothless gums and wear a silly grin.

Some are mindreaders and say that I am happy about this. To them I reply "Try to read your own mind first before reading mine."

And I have in no way discounted the exponential curve that science and technology are displaying.

The only relief that I can get from my models is to observe my immediate world. To shrink my horizons right down.

The trouble is that I have become used to the expanded view that my civilization offers me. In the Zambezi valley I saw a woman toiling on a bare patch of dirt, with a baby on her back, another by her side and another on the way. Her horizons had a radius of 100 meters and whatever she could remember was the length of  her T axis. Civilization  offers us too much to toy with the Blue Pill.

Just show me that my model is wrong and I will go quietly.


Arthur, your charts really have nothing to do with my quote that you reference.  Hard to tell if you are being serious or something else.  The screwed up current messes have been developing for most of the last century with a serious speed up since WWII.  That really has little to do with the generational cycles Howe is describing.  You are describing the crises, Howe is describing generational personalities and how they, in aggregate, tend to deal with the crises they are dealt each time around and where they tend to be in the generational decision-making when the crises reaches a tipping point.  If both books are read, this is a lot clearer than can be gained in a brief interview.
The reason we can't sort through the problems and identify the causes and not the symptoms and determine which can be fixed/solved and which can't and we must therefore adapt to, is we talk at each other more than to each other and love to blame others rather than ourselves in aggregate.  And a lot of people currently "in charge" are busy protecting the status quo, taking pot shots at the other political sides, and trying to keep the little peoples happy enough they don't really start figuring out what is going on.  That has also repeated in prior declines of civilizations.

The cycles of history/time are the patterns of civilizations and they certainly do repeat themselves.  This time may have different crises and different technologies but we are still headed down the same road.  We are not the first civilization to experience climate change, resource depletion, devastating wars or a shift in the demographics of births and deaths and we won't be the last unless we continue to live with our heads up our butts arguing about the symptoms and not the causes because this time we've created the globalization beast that left uncontrolled will do enough damage to seriously thin all populations.  The world won't end but it may have different life forms.  The cycles of generations, as Howe describes, is defining a repeating "personality" for each generation that tends to be reflected in how they deal with the issues they are experiencing and where they are in time when the SHTF.  It is not the definitive answer to what is happening now, it is one way to put a frame around it to see it better.

I like exponential curves too but you can get lost in the woods of the ups and downs, focusing on the nosebleeds rather than figuring out how to stop the wagon to get off.

So, if you could do anything you wanted - say…five things.  What five things would you do to address the economic mess we find ourselves in.  Paint with a broad brush, but no world peace stuff.  Curious as to your fix -from a boomers perspective.  Its a question I've asked myself - easier to ask than answer! 

I am seeing two points of view emerging in the discussion.  Among many others.
One view is that the turnings are relevant, important, and generational influences are to be reckoned with and not ignored.

The other view is that the turnings are inconsequential or at least small relative to the upcoming exponential growth in population, resource depletion etc… as outlined by Arthur's favorite graph.  Although as I read his posts about it I feel sad and think it is his least favorite graph. As I recall from prior posts it leaves him very concerned about his family and their futures. Population growth may outpace the turnings.

NB:I thought Arthur was being self effacing in referencing the quote about boomers being dictatorial, I assume he is a boomer.


I agree that cycles can be useful heuristic tools but will what happened 50, 100 or 200 years ago really be  relevant as we enter the age of climate chaos and peak cheap oil/declining net energy?
It is hard to not think that this time it may be different and previous historical patterns won't play out in the same manner.

In any case, it is not an either/or proposition.  One can take into consideration cycles and exponential curves in trying to make sense of what lies ahead.  The greatest mistake probably is to be over-confident in thinking it is even a little knowable.



Yes, many layers.  I liked that comment best.  Some of this stuff is based on - in some sense - physicality and the various truths of our existence on earth, and how that interoperates with memory, belief systems, thinking, and experience.  Others are strictly physical effects.
Many different things are happening at once.  Think of each "thing" as a wave, in physics, with its own power and cyclicality.  Sometimes the waves reinforce each other, sometimes they cancel, but they definitely all interact.

For instance, the "turning" effect is based on the lifespan of a human being, and the generational memory that goes along with that lifespan.  Its no accident that Glass-Stegall was flushed after all those who had actually lived through the Great Depression were in retirement homes or gone.  WW1 came about after people with any memory of the last general european war had all died off.  Revolutionaries are passionate, their children moderate, and their grandchildren apathetic.  Possibly it also says that even those who remember history are doomed to repeat it too.  [Just because Bernanke knows about the Depression doesn't mean he can simply wave away the massive debt bubble pop that was the true cause]

Then there are resource depletion effects.  Coal powered England's industrial revolution, but - it eventually depleted, and how do we imagine this affected their wealth curve?  Its always more expensive (and it makes you more vulnerable) to construct an Empire to get stuff rather than simply dig stuff out of the ground at home.  So that "critical resource depletion" curve is overlayed on the human lifespan curve.

Then there are demographic/population effects.  Rich nations population growth look vastly different from poor nations populations.  And young populations act much crazier than the older ones.  That's why Greek protesters are mostly civil, while the Arab Spring protests - much less so.  Its not about Arabs per se, I claim its about the fact the Greeks are (on average) 43, while the Egyptians are 25, and the Syrians - 22.  (Boy, that's young).  So the demographic curve is overlayed on the lifespan and resource curve.

Then on top of that, add a national development curve.  Agriculture, industrialization, service, finance, decay and collapse.  And aggregate that into a regional dominence curve.  "Wealth moves east-to-west" with a 100 year cycle.

Then overlay a 4-year interest-rate central bank-managed boom/bust cycles on top of that.

And how about the 60-year debt supercycle?

Then governmental repression-revolution cycles; how long does a dictatorship survive?  What are its cycles?  Lenin to Stalin to Brezhnev to Gorbachev to … a new cycle.  Or maybe that's just the Turning effects, with government simply being a local expression.

And of course each nation has its own set of these, and they impinge on each other - the effects of this web of signals, some canceling each other out, some reinforcing each other's power, are what cause things to happen in the world.  Arab Spring blew up Egypt, while Spain's Spring - ho hum.  Why did one light fire while the other fizzled out?  Egypt must have had a bunch of waves reinforcing each other, while Spain had some canceling each other out.  Imagine being able to track all these effects.  Hari Seldon's project.  Wouldn't that be fun?

Anyhow, for me the Turning concept is just one wave with a particular cyclicality and power.  If you haven't taken physics perhaps that means nothing - perhaps suffice it to say this just provides society with a particular bias during this phase.  There are a lot of other waves happening at the same time, and much like genetics, none of them dictate individual outcomes, but they do provide the backdrop onto which our struggles must occur.

You still create your own reality, but all these things taken together make some things easier, and other things harder.

Or put another way - if your body genetics are such that you tend to put on weight, you can still affect the outcome - although it is likely you will be limited to "being average" rather than "getting a six-pac."  And perhaps you can use the understanding of the current bias to accurately assess whatever your accomplishments are during the 4th Turning similarly.  Keeping your savings intact: great success!!  And…OMG, my chickens actually lay eggs!


Your graph is based on a model that projected consequences of resource depletion. Wasn't this originally created in the 1970s? I somewhere saw the same graph with actual measures a few years back. Based on the measures, the model was remarkably prescient. The line that startles me the most is the "births." Once the social systems break, having large families will be (presumably) the answer to old age security. I hope to be a point on the "death" line before that happens.


You are correct that we're not doomed to repeat this cycle. If each generation goes through all the same "coming of age" rituals and moves into the same life stages with the same expectations, there is no cycle. That is how it was in native American societies and during the Dark Ages of Europe. I doubt there is much of a generational cycle in Amish communities now.

For those of us living in the "modern" world, where and when you formed you first memories influences your outlook. Your experiences throughout life have been different than someone 20 years older or younger. Those born in your generation generally share the same conditions you did. As you get older, do you think your generation will have the same reaction to stimuli as another generation would? Why wouldn't you want to "fix" the problems you encountered growing up? Are you raising your children the way you were raised?

I'm guessing - probably not. That is what gives rise to the generational differences. The 4T theory has a double two stroke engine brewing. Neil said there is a Spring-Fall, Summer-Winter cycle going. At first, I thought he misspoke when saying that. Late wave Xers may have early wave Boomer parents, but most Xers have Silent parents. Most Boomers have GI parents and Millenial children. Think about it.



@davefairtex.  Yes, it is many layers and many long and shorter term cycles coming together.  A bit like high tide and the hurricane land fall at once times 1,000.  And for some people it might be OMG, eggs come from chickens!
@treemagnet.  You ask for five things so the following is long but my effort to respond.

  1. Decrease the size of government.  Big government isn’t the problem.  Big government married and dictated to by Big business is the problem.  Socialism isn't the future in the U.S., it is Fascism and we are galloping along very nicely.
    1. Pass a constitutional amendment getting corporate money out of politics and specifying that corporations are not people with the same constitutional rights as people.
    2. Take existing GAO review of government duplication and implement changes to eliminate duplication and streamline government activities.  We don’t need 3 to 4 government agencies (federal and state) setting rules for people producing food to sell for instance.  We don’t need several food programs for people who are in poverty.  Just one, covers only food, consistent across regions and not forever.  Any assistance is accompanied with job training and help moving to where the jobs are and maybe basic cooking skills and help recognizing the difference between potato chips and potatoes.  Here local governments really need to work to have good access to food throughout their areas.  Also part of this is minimum wage being high enough that the working poor don’t need assistance.  And just to throw in a zinger, I would rather pay for family planning than food stamps.  And I would love it if people didn’t think that making children was the highest expression of themselves.  Just saying.
    3. Re-structure the tax system.  Corporate flat tax at a competitive rate (to be actually debated but I think somewhere around 12-15% would be a good place to start), no incentives, no subsidies, no write-offs.  Personal tax rates decreased so that SSI and tax rates combined are equal to actual (not effective) tax rates now at all levels, no subsidies, no write-offs, and no incentives.  Non-earned income should be taxed the same as earned income.  No deductions for more than 2 children.
    4. Pass a law that gives corporations only 3 opportunities to break the law or create major pollution problems by any person in the corporation at the decision-making level.  Once they hit three, their corporation charter is revoked.  No discussion.
    5. Create a firewall between corporations and political appointments that actually closes the revolving door.
    6. Re-structure Medicare making it a basic policy.  Supplemental policies can’t pay more than half of the 20% or deductible.  Eliminate fee for service throughout the system not just for Medicare which means re-structuring health care and finding a meaningful way to ensure everyone has basic coverage.  If they want more than can buy additional coverage.  We do not have the best health care system in the world; we have the most expensive, most poorly structured and most likely to benefit a few system.  People should not expect Medicare to extend their or their parents lives indefinitely because they have not dealt with death.
    7. Re-structure SSI.  Other income from any source (including pensions & investments) impacts SSI drawn after $40,000.  If above that the person can’t receive more than was paid in for them by themselves and their employers.  And that isn't as much as most people think unless they are really high wage earners.  They can withdraw over time or in quarterly payments of not more than 10% of total paid in each quarter.  Or they can leave it in if they are concerned about other income falling at some point and then apply for SSI.  Let people make some decision about how much they want to withdraw, especially in the first decade or so.  They may be able to live on less than they would receive under the standard rate and may need it later in life.  Raising retirement age or eligibility for Medicare isn't the solution.  Making the system more flexible is.
    8. Close most of the military bases overseas, stop trying to be police for the world and stop bullying everyone else.  Stop unbidded contracts, especially in military and state department procurement.
  2. Eliminate the gerrymandering in districts by using the same system already used by several states to stop the political packing for party benefit.  Move to one person, one vote in every state.  No party designations required to vote anywhere.  I live in a state where I can vote in either primary.  My voting registration does not record a party.  Since I don’t support either, that is a good thing.
  3. Eliminate the Fed.  I don’t think I need to explain this.  Have the government go back to being accountable for printing money, not the Fed (which is the worse of all worlds.  Totally unaccountable, not really in the government but many think it is) feeding it to banks at zero interest to loan it out at 7-25% interest and voila we have more money chasing stuff (simple definition of impending inflation).  Eliminate pay day loans.  Require banks to maintain cash on hand at reasonable levels, i.e. much higher than now.  Eliminate any government entity that shifts debt created by banks out of their hands so they can loan more and someone else can be responsible for the mess and bad decision-making.
  4. Globally eliminate the WTO and the World Bank.  The ideas weren’t too bad initially but boy the result stinks.
  5. Have a serious discussion nationally about the instant gratification we’ve become addicted to and how harmful it is.  Whether debt or consumption.  Have a serious discussion about what our out of control wants is doing to other countries and resources around the world.  Have an honest discussion with ourselves that we have created a mess we are going to have to live through, it isn’t going to be short-term, or painless, or easily fixed by one or another politician promising things they can’t keep.  It isn't the result of the last election or the previous one but a whole series of elections.  The discussion should include living with less consumption, less junk, less debt, less electricity, less driving our cars and more solving problems with our neighbors and enjoying simple pleasures.  Understand there is no quick solution to the economic mess we are in.  It has taken nearly a century of decisions to get us to this point and we are going to hurt a lot before it is over.  Even if we start making better decisions tomorrow.  We might also stop indulging in conspiracy theory inventing and demagoguery toward people who don’t agree with us.  Both are a waste of time.
BTW, I have no idea what world peace looks like but a little less war mongering would sure be nice.  We have been on a serious war wagon since WWII and just look where it has gotten us.  Having said all of the above, I frankly think we need a smaller country and fewer states in the U.S., consider breaking into a confederation of regions much like Switzerland.  I think we will move in that direction over time but it will probably be the next, or the following set of generations that will get us there.  We in the U.S. have to stop worshipping our past before we can look for new solutions for the future.