Chairman Ben Bernanke warned the U.S. Congress on Thursday that failure to take action soon to deal with the budgetary strains posed by an aging U.S. population could lead to serious economic harm.

“Unfortunately, economic growth alone is unlikely to solve the nation’s impending fiscal problems,” Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee.

Bernanke acknowledged that official projections suggest the U.S. budget deficit could stabilize or shrink in the next few years, but cautioned: “We are experiencing what seems likely to be the calm before the storm.”

Left unchecked, the costs of so-called entitlement programs, such as
Social Security and Medicare, are set to soar as increasing numbers of the baby boom generation retire.

Of course, we could try to deal with this problem by having people live longer.

UPDATE: Yes, of course they’d have to retire later, too. Follow the link, please.