Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

What's happening: 1/5 of residents are now 65+, with 15 states expected to follow by 2026, the Washington Post reports. And 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.

Go deeper: The global aging trend is leading to millions of empty homes

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
58 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.