2030: What Happens To America

In Albert Brooks, 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America, the American population has started aging proficiently. While upon first look, this book appears to be a book simply about what Brooks predicts will happen in the future, it is actually about a lot more. I am sure that there would be no complaints if cancer was cured tomorrow. Well in 2030, this dream comes true. The cure of cancer brought about a surge of baby boomers, in the millions. This appears to be a good idea, I mean who would oppose population growth?

Although with millions of baby boomers, and one of the biggest causes of death eradicated, overpopulation began to set in. The resources that were originally supposed to hold baby boomers into around their seventies and maybe eighties, were now being used to keep these people alive until their high eighties and older. This began to cause resentment from the younger population, as they were no longer able to live the life that they would be able to after receiving their inheritance. Although on June 12th, everything changed.

A massive earthquake struck Los Angeles, devastating the population and leaving the currently unstable government without a way to response. The government was currently facing bankruptcy, and everybody was scrambling to find a method for recovery. From the earthquake came a resurgence of ideas that initiated comradery, creating national hope for the future. The way this book was set up, it was a very different type of text. Brooks introduced a future that most people probably believed was not possible.

Aside from the typical futuristic books and movies of robots, utopian society, or zombies, 2030 informs us of a probable future that could become reality. In addition to this, it tells us what potential consequences we could face. 2030 really is a fascinating story, and along with its interesting storyline, it’s view on the future of the American race is pretty interesting. The text makes it seem as if these things are already happening, and maybe we just do not notice it.

I think that some of the information in this book could easily be useful and applicable for political leaders now and later, college students entering the business world, and even older generations. One of the things that makes this story particularly sad is the fact that with the national debt that America faces, they lose their place as the number one nation, and gain the reputation that the county is unable to take care of its citizens. However, the way that Brooks writes the story, the characters have all different kinds of lives that cleverly merge together towards the novel’s conclusion.

The story begins with the introduction of Brad Miller, an eighty-year-old widow, that lives in a California retirement community all alone. Within the first few chapters of the novel the reader begins to see just how much the world has changed by the year 2030. Cancer has been cured since the year 2015, and technological innovations are allowing people to live longer than ever before. Later on in the story, we learn of the angry youth (Youth for Equality, Enough is Enough), the president (Bernstein), the curer (Sam Mueller), the Chinese visionaries (Shen Li), and the AARP.

One element that makes this story structured particularly well is the way that these characters are introduced. It creates a sense of suspense for the reader, as they wonder how all of these characters are connected. Since the chapters are pretty short, shortly after you get introduced to one character you are introduced to another. By doing this, Brooks keeps the reader engaged, having them focus on the previous character and the current character, all the while curious as to how each is significant to the other.

Brooks particularly emphasizes national issues such as the San Andreas Fault and the battle of the “Young vs. he Olds”. Also included in the beginning of the book is basic information relating to how things are different in the future than they are now. This begins with the cures to various diseases and the effect that these cures had on society. With the introduction of new medical drugs, more people were able to live longer. With more people living longer, the more money that has to be paid by the younger generations for social security. At this point in the book I was intrigued by how much had changed over a span of fifteen years and how many new problems had arisen.

Considering how many lives have been taken from cancer, how many heartache and pain it has caused for families and friends, I was very interested to see how this would all play out. If anything, the fact that enough people have died from cancer for it to be considered a method of controlling population growth was personally mind-blowing. Well one problem was that not only did the younger generation find themselves having to pay for the surge of retired elderly people, but they also had to inherit their trillion-dollar national debt.

Overall, they earned less, were taxed higher, and received less help from their elders. In response to drawback from the younger generation, the government simply raised the legal age of retirement and offered low-expense insurance. While this may appear to be a good response, Kathy Bernard probably wouldn’t agree. Kathy’s father was shot at work by teenagers, and the insurance company did not cover the expenses. California was hit with several earthquakes during 2030. These four earthquakes were of magnitudes of 9. 0, 8. 7, 8. , and 8. 0.

Over fifty thousand people died and many buildings were leveled to the ground. These buildings seemingly were not created for earthquakes of that magnitude, and toppled even before the “big one”. The big one was had been predicted for over a year and each of these buildings was supposed to be earthquake resistant. As a result of this earthquake the roads has become considered unsafe to drive. Seeing all of the damage, the insurance companies quickly became overwhelmed by the situation and declared bankruptcy as an escape.

Since the government was broke, they decided to look to other countries for assistance. In a way, the government wanted to maintain control but not be able to support people, which did not go over well. Brad Miller found himself in a situation where his condominium was flattened and he was forced to go to a shelter with four thousand people and only one suitcase and no money. Brad became depressed, his home was destroyed, he had no money, and ultimately did not want to rely on anyone for assistance. Eventually he decided to call his son, and ask if he could live with him.

In response, his own son put him on a retirement ship called The Sunset. As third world diseases begin to break out in the city, they have a collective nervous breakdown, and the murder rate shoots up in response. President Bernstein is the first Jewish president elected over a female candidate who made a racist remark. This relates to our first Black president, Barack Obama, and the 2016 presidential campaign with Bernie and Hillary. Bernstein has an emotional affair with his young looking 70-year-old Treasury secretary, Suzanna Colbert.

She is easy to talk to and became his go-to when making decisions instead of his wife and chief of staff, John Van Dyke. His mother is in a very expensive, taxpayer-funded coma at a time when people are defaulting on their government healthcare premiums and the plug isn’t pulled if there is brain activity. Also, he tries not to piss off the seniors with any decisions because they have a ton of power. Betsy leaves him in the end and Susanna doesn’t leave her husband. On top of all this he is responsible for finding a solution to the crisis in California without money.

Money can’t just be printed because it would cause hyperinflation, and China refuses to loan the U. S. any more exorbitant amounts ($3 trillion) because it is a “bottomless pit”. Then China asks for something that has never been done before. It tells the U. S. it will put up most of the money to rebuild Los Angeles using its standards and in return own half of it and gain citizenship after one year. The Chinese were actually prepared for a devastating earthquake unlike California. What I don’t understand is why Los Angeles was the only city fixed, what about the rest of California? Being from Long