Aug 15, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 537 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880. (AP)

1 big thing: Baby bust bites America's rural corners

James Lagasse, 84, watches a nursing home employee make his bed in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Photo: Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two trends in Maine show the precarious future for the U.S., which seems woefully unequipped to handle a rapidly aging population.

  1. 1/5 of residents are now 65+, with 15 states expected to follow by 2026, notes the WashPost's Jeff Stein.
  2. Nursing homes are closing and struggling to find long-term care workers. That’s not helped by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance — which have limited offerings for long-term care coverage.

The big picture: America's 85 and older population will spike 200+% between 2015 and 2050, while the under 65 population will increase just 12%, per the Post.

  • That trend includes aging health care workers, who are disproportionately older in rural areas.

Between the lines: “The U.S. is just starting this journey, and Maine is at the leading edge,” Maine Council on Aging's Jess Maurer told the Post. “As we are living longer, all the systems that have always worked for us may have to be changed.”

  • That includes the need for nearly 8 million more long-term care workers in the years to come, the Post cites.
  • It could also increase pressure for expansions of visas for medical professionals to immigrate to the U.S.
  • The systemic nature of this problem could also require a more expansive Medicare benefit for the elderly.

The bottom line: These trends have been coming for a long time, with our political system proving itself woefully inadequate for the challenge.

  • Now it's left to our children and theirs to pick up the tab.
Bonus: First look
Cover illustration: New Republic

In the latest TNR cover, Walter Shapiro looks at the increasingly high-profile Elizabeth Warren campaign, including reminders of the early doubters.

  • "During the winter and early spring, it looked as if Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren would be the next entry in this parade of presidential pratfalls."
  • But now it's "worth remembering the way that the political railbirds and TV talking heads seized on her missteps (real and perceived) in the early going."

Worthy of your time.

2. What you missed
  1. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was swayed by the White House on his decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from entering the country. Go deeper.
  2. U.S. consumers spent more in July than economists expected as retail sales rose 0.7% vs. the 0.3% estimated.
  3. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn to testify about potential obstruction of justice by President Trump. Go deeper.
  4. The Justice Department has applied to seize an Iranian oil tanker that's currently being held by the U.K.'s semi-autonomous state Gibraltar — hours before it was set to be released, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
3. 1 fun thing

The Chambers Brothers performing at Black Woodstock in 1969. CBS televised the festival. Photo: CBS/Getty Images

50 years ago this summer, roughly 300,000 people gathered for the Harlem Music Festival — famously known as Black Woodstock — a series of weekly concerts from June 29 to Aug. 24, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh notes.

Why it matters: The events marked a celebration of black culture, music and the politics of black pride, per the African American Registry.

  • Performers included Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King and Gladys Knight and the Pips.
  • The Black Panthers stepped in to provide security after the NYPD refused.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson told Rolling Stone that "the festival was a way to offset the pain we all felt after [the assassination of] MLK. The artists tried to express the tensions of the time, a fierce pain and a fierce joy."

Mike Allen