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Archive for September 9th, 2012

But the really, really big significance of the Working Retired is that, basically, everything we have been predicting for the last decade or so, regarding the collapse of Social Security, was wrong.  There won’t, in fact be ten retirees for every worker, because the retirees will be working, too.  The enormous Social Security burdens we’ve been haranguing about will be reduced, to some degree, by this trend — and largely on the part of people who want to do it.  According to Eugene Steuerle, and economist with the Urban Institute, if everyone worked just one year beyond expected retirement, we’d completely offset the anticipated shortfall between benefits and taxes in the old age insurance portion of Social Security.
  —  Mark J. Penn
From his book: “Microtrends
[Reality Check: What Penn is describing is that more and more older workers are “choosing” to continue working because they can’t afford to retire on Social Security retirement income.
A corollary to this is what we’ve seen over the last 40 years: a vast increase in the numbers of males (particularly white males) applying for Workers Compensation and riding this government program until (and past) retirement age.  Part of this is genuine injury, but the increasing rates correspond with the periods of domestic recessions.  That is when companies lay off older workers to retain those with lower salaries and fewer health issues (normal aging issues, not injury on the job issues).
Over time, the “word” has spread that there is a way to not work and still get some income to see you through until retirement (on Social Security).  That method is to get on Workers Compensation before you get laid-off or as soon as possible after being laid-off.
This trend is most evident in the announcement that the number of claims for Workers Comp exceeded the number of new jobs filled in recent months.  This “excess” is claimed, by the Republicans, to be proof that the Obama Administration is failing on the economy.  In fact, it is a realistic appraisal of the job market by older employees who seek an “income bridge” until retiring on Social Security.
Union pensions no longer exist for a sizeable portion of the work force (only 10% of American workers are in Unions), and corporations have shifted the responsibility for personal pensions from themselves to the individual employee.  That only leaves Social Security for the vast majority of American workers.  But — you have to be old enough to claim eligibility for Social Security.
For older workers facing long term (indefinite) unemployment (due to wage based lay-offs prior to reaching SSA retirement age), the economic pressure to try to get on to Workers Compensation rolls only increases with each year and with each recession.   —  KMAB]
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