Demography Unplugged with Neil Howe

Election Looming, Armenia vs Azerbaijan, and Dementia Rates Rising in Boomers

September 30, 2020 Neil Howe
Demography Unplugged with Neil Howe
Election Looming, Armenia vs Azerbaijan, and Dementia Rates Rising in Boomers
Show Notes

In this latest issue of my weekly podcast, we discuss the current state of the election. RCP has Biden holding a steady edge at 50% to 43%, and his betting odds are gradually improving at 55% to 44%. The NYT released a new report on Trump's finances claiming he pays minimal taxes and has millions of dollars in personally guaranteed debt. The story has three possible implications. Either: (a) Trump has not been a successful businessman; (b) Trump's tax avoidance has veered into tax evasion; or (C) the tax code's generosity to real-estate developers is grossly extravagant. It seems unlikely the report will have a major impact on the election, but it could sway swing voters who touted Trump's business success.

OECD's newest report is better than expected. The newest estimates on GDP were revised and show less damage than previously assumed. In June, world GDP was estimated to drop -6.0% but was revised to only -4.5%. The US had one of the biggest turn arounds. In June, US GDP was estimated to drop -7.3% but was revised to -3.8%. 

Economic indicators remain positive. The Markit PMI flashes were released for September. Manu rose to 53.5, driven by strong factory activity. And Services fell slightly to 54.6 but still showing strong growth. The Kansas Fed Manu Index came in at 18 for Sept, while the Dallas Fed Manu Index came in at 13.6. Both readings point to strong regional growth. 

Japan elects a new prime minister. Yoshihide Suga won the party election for prime minister with 70% of the vote. Suga is a close ally to Shinzo Abe and served as Abe's Chief Cabinet Secretary for nine years. He has promised to continue Abe's economic reforms. And he has declared four unique policy goals: fertility treatments, re-invigorating bureaucracy, creating a digital policy agency, and cutting the costs of mobile phones. The narrow scoop of these policies fit in with his image as a detail oriented technocrat. 

Violence breaks out between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, both countries have fought for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region between their borders. Though a ceasefire has been in place for over 20 years, the conflict has never been fixed. The new outbreak in fighting has brought other countries into the fray. Turkey has sent Syrian rebel militias to help Azerbaijan, while Greece and Russia have pledged support to Armenia.

Boomers are scoring lower on cognitive function tests than previous generations of Americans at the same age. Beginning with the Lost Generation, average age-adjusted cognition scores rose steadily across successive birth cohorts, but these results suggest the positive trend may be reversing.

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