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Posts Tagged ‘Social Security’

Today is the last day of my second year of retirement…  And, life is still good!
My parents always told me that people will never know how long it takes you to do something.  They will only know how well it is done.
  —  Anonymous
It normally takes seven to seven and a half years of retirement for the average American to “recover” all of the funds paid into their Social Security retirement funds during their forty odd years of work.  After that, it’s all gravy…  Just sayin’.
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If something is presented as an accepted truth, alternative ways of thinking do not even come up for consideration.
   —  Ellen Langer
[To start off, #IncompetentDonald hasn’t made America great again.  He wouldn’t know where to start or how to go about doing it even if he really wanted to make it happen.  So, to now claim  he’s “done” it (made America great again), and now wants to be re-elected to keep it that way, is even more laughable.  (Yes, we haven’t even had the mid-terms and #DonTheCon is already running for re-election.)  It reminds me of “W” standing in front of his “Mission Accomplished” banner at the start of the Iraq war (1 May 2003).  We are still there (in Iraq and Afghanistan) over 15 years later…  If you are not in the 1% which the Republican tax cut greatly benefited, ask yourself: “Will I be better off without healthcare and with reduced Social Security and Medicare coverage?”  That is surely where we are headed if Republicans retain control of both Houses of Congress.  John McCain is gone.  Obamacare will go down if there is another Republican controlled vote to kill it.  The tax cut has already worsened the federal debt AND deficit, and despite their claims they will protect Social Security, Republicans are already targeting “entitlements” (SSA and Medicare benefits) in their rhetoric.   How long will it be before they are reducing benefits in their legislation?  America, it is long past time to wake up and smell the coffee.  —  KMAB]
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The existing safety net for older Americans – a mixture of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – was built for a society that no longer exists.  When Congress created Social Security in 1935, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 61; now it is nearly 80.  When Congress created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, it was still common for people to die of acute medical issues, like heart attacks; now many survive those traumas and go on to live, with some assistance, for decades longer.  In 1960, the U.S. was overwhelmingly young: just 10% of the population was over 65.  By 2040, 1 in 5 of us will be eligible for that senior ticket at the theater.
As more people live longer, the social and economic systems designed to care for them are changing.  In midcentury America, women had yet to join the traditional workforce en masse and so were widely expected to keep doing what they’d always done: provide unpaid care to children and ailing relatives at home.  Moreover, in the 1960s, a large portion of families had access to stable, fixed pensions in retirement, and about a quarter of all workers were covered by generous, union-negotiated contracts.  Staying in the same job for decades was common.
None of that is true anymore.  Some 40% of households with children under 18 are now headed by women who are the primary breadwinner.  Those women can no longer stay home to care for children or ailing relatives without risking their family’s financial stability.  Meanwhile, fixed pensions have all but disappeared, and union membership has fallen by more than half.  Nearly 1 in 3 nonretired Americans has no retirement savings at all.  “Our current system doesn’t reflect how we’ve changed as a society,” explains Dr. Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation, which advocates for older adults.  “So it’s being asked to do all kinds of things it wasn’t designed to do.”
Much of the U.S. economy rides on how this crisis plays out.  Spending on long-term care is expected to more than double from 1.3% of GDP to 3% by 2050 as demand increases alongside an aging populace.  America’s entrepreneurial system is coming up with myriad new ways to serve this growing demographic of gray-hairs.  But in an era of deregulation, companies that profit from the natural, but often unsettling, process of aging and dying aren’t always scrupulous.  The result is a social tension: As health care companies seek to reap not only efficiencies but also profits from a jury-rigged, outdated and overburdened system of elder care, how do we protect those who are often most vulnerable to exploitation?
When things don’t work, the results are ugly.  In nursing homes and assisted-living centers, ever more ubiquitous arbitration agreements leave the elderly without access to a basic civil trial.  Hospice care, beloved by many, is seen as a potential profit center by companies seeking government contracts while providing diminished service to those at the end of their lives.  And Medicaid, once intended to be a last-ditch safeguard for the poorest of the poor, is creaking under the weight of new obligations.  Medicaid is now the default payer for 61% of all nursing-home residents in the U.S., according to a June 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation report – a demand that’s likely to continue to increase.  Meanwhile, adult children already contribute $7,000 to $14,000 a year to caring for an aging parent, according to a 2016 AARP report; that number will likely see an uptick too.
  —  Haley Sweetland Edwards
From the “Special Report”: “Dignity, death and America’s crisis in elder care
Time Magazine, 27 November 2017 issue
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No greater tragedy exists in modern civilization than the aged, worn-out worker who after a life of ceaseless effort and useful productivity must look forward for his declining years to a poorhouse.  A modern social consciousness demands a more humane and efficient arrangement.
   —  Franklin D. Roosevelt
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We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.
We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.
We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.
We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.
We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.
We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.
We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.
We believe — I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work.
We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.
We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.
And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies.  We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.  We will fight for it!
  —  Elizabeth Warren
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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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We are for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.
  —  Ronald Reagan
October 27, 1964
[I guess these days, Republicans (Perry, Paul and others) running for President in 2012 feel they can kill Social Security because  poverty is not the same thing as destitution and retirement is not the same as unemployment by reason of old age…  —  KMAB]
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