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How the Social Security Commission will kill the American Economy

According to the New York Times, small investors are pulling their money out of the stock market.  Yep, seems like it’s a bit too risky for the boomer generation.  What with all of their retirement savings opportunities drying up:

To be sure, a lot of money is still flowing into the stock market from small investors, pension funds and other big institutional investors. But ordinary investors are reallocating their 401(k) retirement plans, according to Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm that tracks pension plans.

Until two years ago, 70 percent of the money in 401(k) accounts it tracks was invested in stock funds; that proportion fell to 49 percent by the start of 2009 as people rebalanced their portfolios toward bond investments following the financial crisis in the fall of 2008. It is now back at 57 percent, but almost all of that can be attributed to the rising price of stocks in recent years. People are still staying with bonds.

Another force at work is the aging of the baby-boomer generation. As they approach retirement, Americans are shifting some of their investments away from stocks to provide regular guaranteed income for the years when they are no longer working.

And the flight from stocks may also be driven by households that are no longer able to tap into home equity for cash and may simply need the money to pay for ordinary expenses.

On Friday, Fidelity Investments reported that a record number of people took so-called hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter. These are early withdrawals intended to pay for needs like medical expenses.

According to the Investment Company Institute, which surveys 4,000 households annually, the appetite for stock market risk among American investors of all ages has been declining steadily since it peaked around 2001, and the change is most pronounced in the under-35 age group.

Under 35’s?  Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet if the current proposals to raise the retirement age and cut Social Security benefits gets passed.  Contrary to the expectations of the corporate retirement fund managers out there, if social security gets more difficult to collect, my whole investment strategy is going to undergo a radical readjustment and not in Wall Street’s favor.

Suddenly, I will have to start a new savings plan to cover the costs of getting older when I can no longer bop around in the lab and up and down the stairs to the autoclave.  That is, if I even get the privilege of retiring from a job, which at this point looks less and less likely.  No, if social security becomes a distant dream, that segment of my retiremement scheme will have to be made up somehow.  And I WON’T be sticking my money in some risky stock market fund where there is no guarantee that my dollar of savings won’t be a dollar of withdrawal down the road.

Cutting Social Security means no more vacations, no more furniture, no more gadgets.  It means downsizing, selling the modest townhouse ASAP and finding some cheap little condo without high maintenance fees.  It means putting the money in the safest, least sexy place possible and just sitting on it.  For decades.  Seriously, life will become a LOT simpler.  After all, I have a kid I need to put through college and something’s got to give. I’ve never been a gambler and only participate in the 401K program under duress.  Give me a nice guaranteed pension and I’d be happy.  I’d rather be secure than rich.  Maybe that’s just me but I could be happy in Denmark where people can focus on living their lives and less on acquiring stuff.

Sometimes, I think that the people who are so hell bent on dismantling social security haven’t thought through this problem sufficiently.  They think we are so driven to outdo the Joneses that we’ll keep shoveling our hard earned paychecks into high yield investments.  Maybe some irrationally exuberant people will but the NYTimes article suggests that many of us have been too burnt to be careless with fire.  The outcome they are expecting seems to deny that the American worker has structured his whole life around social security and when it becomes unattainable, that security has to be compensated in other ways.  I don’t think current recipients should get too comfortable either.  Once the social pact is gone, the overstrapped still employed are going to start resenting the amount of money that goes into a program they can never benefit from.  Consider too that some companies are cutting out pensions entirely in the near future even though they provide them for current employees.  Future wages are already going down.  There is just not enough money to pay for everyday living and kids and saving for retirement and saving for some older person’s retirement.  Right now, it’s not so much of an issue but take away that piece of the retirement pie and there *will* be consequences.  The US economy is dependent in part on social security, which is why it was developed in the first place.  Seniors without incomes spend no money.  So, to save up for those senior years, money will have to be sequestered and some of us don’t have a lot of time to do it.

What’s really shocking about the “Catfood Commission” is that it’s being done by Democrats.  Even if the recommendations were acceptable, which they aren’t, this is not the time to be proposing them.  It smacks of the worst kind of politics when a respected program that everyone loves is held hostage for electoral gain.  Democrats are doing this.  It’s like taking the baby out of the basinet and holding it over a pit of Republican crocodiles, daring us to vote against Democrats.  It makes me LESS inclined to vote for the Democrats because if it happens this year, they’re going to keep doing it and one of these years, that baby’s going to fall or be so emaciated that it will be worthless, sort of like what happened to reproductive rights.  If Democrats want my help this year, they will dismantle the commission before November, recognizing that the economy can’t handle any talk of cutting benefits or extending the retirement age.

So, go ahead, bipartisan commission, make it harder for me to retire.  Hell, let’s be honest, make it *impossible* for me to retire.  And I will suck all of my funds out of the free market system.  I’ll stick to the bare necessities, continue to buy used cars, will forgo my next laptop, stop buying nice clothes and, like this year, turn down the family cruise this winter.  My bank account will become fat but the economy will stagnate as people all over the country remember what happened to people in the Roaring Twenties who sunk all of their retirement money in the stock market and risky investments.  My bank account and CD’s may make squat in interest but as long as they’re guaranteed by the government, I’ll live with it.

Until some new Idiot in Charge proposes a bipartisan committee to study the FDIC.

101 Responses

  1. John King, USA: Ben Quayle: Obama worst President in history
    Q:What would Ben Quayle recommend to do to change Social Security?

    A:”Well with Social Security, we would protect those that are in, or near retirement today, but for people of my generation and younger, we would actually have to reform it. Which would be to start to, gradually to increase the retirement age to up to 70 and allow a portion, their, people to allow, ah, take a portion of their Social Security and actually invest it into, ah, private accounts. These sorts of things need to be done, because our entitlement programs are unfounded liabilities, related to those are about are about 60 to 100 Trillion which will freeze out all other spending and eventually bankrupt our country.”- Ben Quayle

    • If the Democrats don’t challenge Quayle and others that are trying to find the NEW WILLY SENIOR CITIZEN HORTON, (NOW seniors are responsible for the debt they left…never mind that Bill Clinton LEFT a SURPLUS when he left office) then they are beyond redemption.
      This Trust fund Quayle jerk is trying to blame seniors for the deficit and every other budget problem and want to privatize it, so it too can look like your 402K. Social security is what workers, and their employers put in, it is not a handout and had the Republicans stayed out of the Social Security Fund, Gore wouldn’t have had to talk about a LOCK BOX to safe guard the FUND from their grubby little hands.

      • all of my social security funds for the last 12 years have been invested in private funds (the state of Louisiana opted out of Social Security and has stayed opted out) . The last time I checked, I have a few hundred dollars less than the universities and I contributed to the account. (That means negative returns and negative compounding.) Also, my performance on managing my investments has been way better than any one else I’ve talked to including the two people that represent the plan who basically know the positions of every one. I’ve managed to hold value simply by moving my US stock funds to the ASEAN region and India. When the market crashed, I lost %25 and that’s with me having moved everything into safe investments in the August before the October crash. I beat the market by an incredible amount too. For the last two years, I’ve down nothing but put money into bonds just to protect my principal and the minute I recover more money, I put it over there.

        Gambling with your retirement savings should be criminal not encouraged.

        • Like I said, I would have an equal change playing the lottery. BTW I didn’t win again on the big meg thingie one, but if I ever get it…vacation time DAK…

          Oh, did you hear, after his vacation he is going to do a BIG HISTORICAL SPEECH for the TROOPs, he was just too busy on vacation when the 100,000 troops came home, leaving the 50,000 troops ooops Advisors/trainers behind for lord knows how long.

        • Why, Thank You, dakinikat, for helping the market dismantle my industry and move it to Asia. I’ll be sure to mention your contribution to the pregnant chemist who lost her job. And to the BFF. And to the ex, who is now a traveling contractor spending part of his work year in Canada and Japan.
          Chemistry is thriving in India and it couldn’t have happened without thousands of investors like you who have helped liberate Anerican chemistry frm wage slavery. I purposely avoid these investments these days because I see what havoc they have created in my personal life. But I guess I must be grateful that you have made money.

          • Your company’s stock isn’t from ASIA. I’m investing in firms like TATA and Reliance Industries so I’m actually supporting local Asian firms over transplants, tyvm so they’ll be able to raise salaries that make it less likely for outsourcing from Europe and the US to be viable.

          • Who do you think our companies do business with? We subcontract out.
            They’re local businesses that score contracts with international firms.
            Well, at least you’re honest about it. If you want to know what it’s doing to American chemistry, you should read the blog, In The Pipeline. It’s extremely depressing.

          • If you raise the salaries over there, outsourcing becomes less viable. It’s the only way to deal with the problem. It’s like the ladies garment sewers in Vietnam are now organizing against firms like Nike. Nike’s bumps their factories around to bottom feed for the lowest paid workers. Those days are beginning to come to an end unless they start locating to war zones like Afghanistan. If you raise the standards of living in those countries, they start buying European and American goods and they want high salaries. Your company won’t be able to play that game much longer and it’s unfortunate they can get away with it. The one thing our government shouldn’t be doing is giving them tax breaks to do that or helping to fund it with cheap funds.

          • The reason research companies do it is because that’s where the investment money is going. It’s a vicious cycle. We participate in our own demise. I refuse to play that game. Investors are increasingly impatient for next quarter’s earnings when they should be stabilizing the work environments of the people making the discoveries. It doesn’t matter how much cheap labor you have. If your r&d departments are stressed with economic worry and perpetual disruption caused by restructuring, discoveries will become fewer and farther between. Following the money overseas exacerbates the problem and ironically, makes it more difficult fir investors to capitalize on future discoveries down the road. The discoverers won’t be able to discover and when the money comes back, we’ll all be gone.

    • My general impression of Ben is that he’s as much a pill as his mother and as dumb as his dad–the worst of both worlds.

      Is he in a primary race or is he the GOP candidate in the general?

    • JOhn King always does this: shiny baubles to distract from Obama’s own failures.

      Quayle may be outrageous, but the Democratic President appointed the Cat Food Commission.

      Don’t let the Kings distract you.

  2. Awesome post, RD. It should be required reading for everyone.

  3. So, go ahead, bipartisan commission, make it harder for me to retire.

    Yes, our lot isn’t expected to retire yet the government positions only require 20 years of work and those in politics are collecting multiple pensions while they are collecting their current pay. Some thing is very wrong of the latter scheme.

  4. Excellent post RD!! You know what the funny thing is? The way you MIGHT live if they wreck SS is the way I AM living right now. Its funny to talk to my Obot friends that are living the same way. To them, it’s the fault of the GOP in Congress, or Obumbles advisors, or a magical fairy from the land of Rumpelstiltskin, and not Obumbles. But they are saying the same things as well when it comes to what they are doing with their incomes. Less free money means more discretion when spending. And sadly for us all, indiscriminate spending is what the country needs to get back on it’s feet.

    This recovery being what it is comes at the worst time in my life seeing as I am trying to get married next year. That can’t happen on my current income and all the jobs I’ve applied to (that I am WAY overqualifed for as well as just qualified enough) aren’t panning out mostly due to the sheer weight of numbers of applicants. With further cuts on the horizon as a result from the MANY failed policy tracks of this administration, businesses will hire even less making it EVEN HARDER on those of us trying to START OUT. Do you get a feel now why I end posts with ‘Asshat’ when I talk about Obumbles?


    Hillary 2012

    • Weird. We seem to be regressing to a time when one needed “a living” to get married. Sort of like Jane Austen’s sorry second sons. They are doomed to perpetual bachelorhood unless their older brothers kick the bucket or they join the regiment.
      Maybe you can dump your current fiance for a rich heiress with 20,000 pounds. Oh, sure, you’d regret it for the rest of your life, but she’ll just suffer from some temporary physical breakdown and attract the attention of some rich, older sugar daddy and all will live happily ever after.
      Er, except for you and your spoiled wife.
      Serves you right for being born poor.

      • I have thought about becoming a male escort. I still have all my teeth, and I might be able to bag a rich heiress if I could ever get around some. Who knows? You might be talking to the first black male Anna Nicole Smith……

      • RD – have you any plans to run for office ? Yours is a voice that is needed where solutions are formed. In fact, there are numerous voices on this blog that should be encouraged to join the leadership ranks of this country.

    • Congratulations on having a beloved and I do hope thing get better for you. In dire times it helps to be loved and so in that you are very rich. I hope Hillary does run in 2012, we need someone that hears us, and to whom we are not invisible.

      • Thank you. This is one of those times that assuming we get through it (and I hope things change so that we can), it will make us stronger. But I can’t lie. For someone that has never NOT worked at least a job while in school or two since leaving (just becasue I like to work), it wears on both of our souls when I come back from interview after interview without success.

        In a funny way, this is one of the places that keeps me going. The vast majority of posters and the excellent writers give me hope that everyone in this country isn’t hopelessly lost. So I thank you again for that!! 🙂

        Hillary 2012

  5. Call me cynical but I’m not surprised the Catfood Commission is being brought to us by the Democrats. After the way the GOP ran away from Bush’s scheme in 2005, they wouldn’t touch it.

    The Social Security is the only big pile of money left that the Top 1% hasn’t stolen and they want it.

    • I agree with one the Greedos going after Social Security, just look at Quayle placing the blame Seniors for all the debt!

    • Only Nixon could go to China

      • Exactly, 1539. If the Chimperor, at the height of his popularity and with majorities of his own party in both houses of Congress, couldn’t do it, no Elephascist could do it.

        It would take a DINOcrat–or to use an older term I also like, Vichy Democrat–to do that.

        Plus, the Chimperor and Darth Cheney had screwed the whole kennel of pooches, so thoroughly, in positions you couldn’t find in the Kama f**king Sutra, that the Malefactors Of Great Wealth could not install another Elephascist Prez without rigging the elections beyond the point of plausible deniability.

        The Malefactors Of Great Wealth probably offered Hillary the deal first, but she told them to go directly to Hell, do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200.

        So the MOGW chose the Nowhere Man. We know Obummer was their choice because the MOGW’s Corporate Media got behind him in both the primaries and the general election. The only major exception was Faux Noise, which was, and is, so thoroughly branded as GOP-TV that had Faux suddenly started singing the praises of Obummer, the truth of what was happening would have become too obvious.

        Plus, the GOP never chooses an also-ran Senator as their Prez candidate when they’re serious about winning the White House (see Dole in 1996).

        To top it all off, just when it looked like the old flyboy might have a chance, the stock market suffers a major downturn–maybe coincidence, maybe not.

        Why would the MOGW go to all this trouble to gut SS? It can’t be the taxes, as you don’t have to pay SS taxes on income beyond a certain level. Likewise, they already have more money than Scrooge McDuck, so why would they want a little more so badly?

        I can only conclude that they want to reduce the rest of us to peasants so that they can be lords. They want feudalism with cell phones. They think they can keep bamboozling the rest of us into blaming uppity nonwhites, or uppity wimmin, or uppity immigrants, or uppity Muslims, instead of our directing the blame where it belongs.

        Alas, I’m not sure the MOGW are mistaken in that belief.

      • “Pleeeasse release me, let me go….” 😛

        Spammy got me for some reason–now that I think about it, I made a reference to the fat cats tricking the common citizens of the USA into blaming people from that religion that began in Arabia.

        Did I guess correctly?

    • Yes, Ralph. Brought to us by Democrats.

      Quayle is a distraction from that great big fact.

      Watch for more “Look over there—Quayle is crazy” crap.

      Maybe covering Quayle is supposed to make us think what Obama & the Democrats end up with, will be LESS bad than Quayle.

      They’re quite capable of that now.

  6. New York Times article on “fixing” Social Security.

    For Social Security, a Birthday Makeover

    Social Security, now celebrating its 75th birthday, is receiving mixed diagnoses. Some analysts think the program is on solid fiscal ground for decades to come, while others fear that the impending retirement of the baby boom generation precipitates a crisis. In either case, it is always worth considering innovations to make the program more efficient and equitable. The Op-Ed page editors asked six experts to recommend specific fixes that could be part of a comprehensive reform package for the nation’s largest social insurance program.

    I prefer the response of Ted Deutch, Democratic congressman from Florida. Out of six methods to “fix” SS, his is one of two which aren’t total BS.

    Of course, all of them are predicated on SS needing to be “fixed” and I don’t believe it does at this time.

    • The fix Social Security meme…

    • AMEN!!!! It’s one of the programs that works!! The temptation of that much money sitting around is just to much for the rich idiots to take. They HAVE to get their hands on it and it looks like they will stop at nothing to do that…..

    • False choices, false dichotomies — These current Dems are big on what used to be Republican misleading approaches..


      And the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media, especially the NYTimes) merely goes along with what the Power Elite want: Right now it’s to cut the social safety nets and muck around with SocSec “for the good of the nation,” which means for the good of their pocketbooks and portfolios, not the good the general population.


    • Argh! It ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  7. My DU-dies for next week somehow got published ahead of the schedule and since I got comments, I might as well keep them out

  8. Hell, let’s be honest, make it *impossible* for me to retire.
    That is the most optimistic scenario. The reality is more likely an expansion of the current employment situation; people in their 50s and early 60s, without a job and little hope of ever having full time employment again. That, combined with elimination of the “social safety net” and we are back to the early 1930s.

    • What is it about this scenario that Republicans find so attractive? Increased poverty would seem to mean selling less stuff. I don’t understand why making people poor and having them feel worthless and shameful is so important to them. Once they have all of the money, that’s it. They’ll have to find something else to entertain them.

      • But once they have all the money, where are they going to get more? Money seems to be a mania with them. For example, my gruesome female progeny (I really love her to death btw) was presiding at a birthday celebration this weekend – she was in charge of the worker bees. The birthday celebration cost – over 100K. How many birthdays can these people afford before their bank accounts start to hurt, and if they’ve bankrupted all the worker bees, where do they think they can replace the funds.

    • The New Deal will be completely undone.

  9. What is it about this scenario that Republicans find so attractive?
    That is the question. Even the reactionary Henry Ford understood that the “working class” had to have disposable income inorder to buy Fords.

    We are also replaying American History from Pres, Grant to FDR. Republican socio/economic domination of the govt ending in disaster for the country.

    This time period has one major difference, however, there is no opposition party.

    • The supposed opposition party has joined in on raiding the middle class and working class.

    • What makes anyone think they care whether or not people in THIS country can buy things?

      There are always other countries to rape and pillage. That’s the beauty of a global economy.

      Each nation is going to get to experience the cyclical nature of economics. You know, where once uppity workers start to insist on sharing stuff like profits then its time to move the money to more grateful serfs.

  10. Someone in B0botland wrote a road map of how they’ll go about cutting social security. Seemed accurate so I bookmarked to follow

    This is how “THEY” will cut Social Security:

    1) Saturate the Media with the meme that something MUST be done to “Reduce the Deficit” or there will be a catastrophe, and strongly imply that Social Security is one of the BIG causes for the deficit.

    2)Remove Pentagon/Military Spending from any discussion of cuts,
    and imply that anyone who even talks about cuts to Military Spending are crazy, drug addled extremists.

    3)Give all the politicians involved plenty of time to get out public statements that they support Social Security, and would never vote to reduce benefits.

    4)Form a “Independent Secret Commission” to design a “Comprehensive Package” to study ways of Reducing the Deficit. This package will be lengthy and complicated, but it WILL contain reductions to Social Security benefits. For cover, the package will also contain a few minor crumbs that ARE good for the economy. These crumbs will be minor in scale compared to the structural changes to Social Security.

    This “package” and will also contain some scam that opens the door for Wall Street to have access to Social Security funds. For cover, the package will also contain some easily avoidable “regulations” that will appear to restrict how Wall Street can use the Social Security Funds.

    5)The Marketing will be Up and Running when the contents of the package is revealed. The Media will be saturated with pieces that highlight and overemphasize the few good crumbs, and catastrophizing the effects of not passing “The Comprehensive Package”.

    6)The Progressive Caucus opposition WILL be marginalized (again), and the full force of the White House, the DLC, DNC, and their Corporate Marketing & Messaging apparatus will be used to brand them as “traitors”, “with the Republicans”, “against Wall Street Regulation”, “against the American People”, “against Saving Social Security” or “Opposed to Saving our Children”.
    There will be a saturation of anecdotal testimony of how certain crumbs will “Save our Family, therefore the whole package MUST pass.
    The Mighty Wurlitzer will be turned UP to FULL BLAST.
    Any and ALL opposition WILL be Shouted Down and Demonized.

    7)The Republican Party will play their assigned part in the Kabuki, and oppose the whole thing as “Big Government Takeover”. It doesn’t matter that their position makes no sense. It only matters that they oppose it so the illusion of a difference is maintained.

    8)This “package” will be brought to Congress to be voted on as a whole, complete package immediately after the Democratic Losses in November 2010. No honest debate will be allowed.
    No discussion of amending the package or deleting some elements will be allowed.
    Democrats will NOT be “voting to cut Social Security”.
    They will be voting FOR “Saving the Economy”, or “Protecting out Children (from the deficit)”.

    9) The Complete Comprehensive Package of Commission Recommendations WILL pass with a Party Line vote, or one or two Republican defectors if necessary to maintain the illusion of a Hard Fight.
    No Democrat will have to admit that they voted to Cut Social Security.
    Instead, they voted FOR a Reform Package that Saved the Economy.

    10) The politicians will flock to the cameras with statements like this:
    “I am on record as supporting Social Security, and of course I would have liked to NOT cut benefits, but we had to do something.”

    “This is historic reform legislation, look at all the good (crumbs) we got!”

    “We couldn’t let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good.”

    “This is the best we could do under the circumstances because we didn’t have the votes.

    “This is a Step Forward.”

    “Today, we saved our children from a crushing deficit.”

    Sound familiar?
    It should.

    If you think I’m a little over the top in my assessment,
    take a look at Chris Van Hollen’s (weasel, MD) performance when asked a direct question on cutting Social Security:

    They are coming.
    “By their works you will know them.”

  11. Here’s one of the people that fights for the little guy.

    • This video was on Candy’s news show and she quoted NOW’s president …daring and said she would like to see that in a rap song. WOW!

      • yeah, that’s where I saw it … and I loved the fact Candy closed with NOW accusing the White House of being a sexist bunch of frat boys.

        • And Candy said ‘MISOGYNY’, WOW, that took some ovaries!

        • Too bad NOW endorsed the Fraud and the current NOW president worked to get him elected and did not say much during the “health care” debacle. Too bad they didn’t really stand up for Hillary and that the ranks in NOW are so reduced and there is so much in-fighting that I doubt the organization has much clout. Sign me one disgruntled former state president of NOW.

      • O’Neill has a particular bone to pick with Geithner because he hasn’t been forceful about endorsing Warren. He has reportedly expressed some behind-the-scenes opposition to her because the brainy Harvard professor’s hard-charging style isn’t suited for the finesse Washington politics requires.

        A spokesman for Treasury said that selecting Warren isn’t up to Geithner. “It’s the White House’s decision,” the spokesman said.

        Still, O’Neill believes that Geithner’s lack of endorsement for Warren is indicative of the nature of Washington politics and President Obama’s administration of late.

        “Treasury is a notoriously sexist and misogynist industry and the good old boys don’t like her,” the NOW president said. “It’s the testosterone-fueled attitude that drove our economy off a cliff, and yet the president has advisers that are from that industry.”

        It’s a combination of [Warren’s] attitude and her anatomy,” she added.

        Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/warren_omission_XHtBp8O60ONG1irBW5TbGL#ixzz0xMOy0ii6

        • notice the description of what a professor is here then think about how they describe Obama’s professorial demeanor … find that an odd distinction

          • O’Neill has a particular bone to pick with Geithner because he hasn’t been forceful about endorsing Warren. He has reportedly expressed some behind-the-scenes opposition to her because the brainy Harvard professor’s hard-charging style isn’t suited for the finesse Washington politics requires.

            Yes, she isn’t a DC finessed person, she is the kind of person that does the work and does what is needed. Yup, Obama doesn’t fight, he hands the GOP everything and calls it a bi-partisan effort.

  12. What is it about this scenario that Republicans find so attractive?

    It must have felt good to write that. It’s too bad this is a fully bipartisan crash and burn. This piece by Dean Baker is right to the point. The American people don’t have friends in either legacy party. Both are thoroughly captured by the donor class.

    When Wall Street Rules, We Get Wall Street Rules

  13. One tiny detail you forgot. You won’t be working in a lab until you die. They’ll either force you out ala age discrimination, or your job will be outsourced to India.

    The women on my mother’s side typically live to be about 67, dying of breast and OvCa. Doctors say to me, screen this, test that (cuz of course they want their cut too). The way I see it, with all that our good Democrats and their Republican counterparts are taking away, the life I’ll likely have beyond 65 years of age won’t be worth living. I’d rather save my screen this/test that money and use it on vacation

    • I’m finding that the closer you get to cashing in on your retirement and pension plans, the faster they move to get you out. I think any one in the 50s is going to spend an entire decade trying to scramble to survive before they can get medicare and social security … and of course, that means their social security benefits will go down because their last 10 year period will include periods of no income or below average income.

      Try that one on for a tin hat hypothesis.

      • I hadn’t thought about that angle, but you’re absolutely on the ball. It’s evil, but effective, I suppose. Make it impossible for people in their forties and fifties to find a job, and then when they apply for social security, sorry, your qualification is based on your last 10 years earning power.

      • Reaganomics did away with pension plans and turned it over to Wall Street where fees are what prevail across bubbles and bursts. Interest rates don’t keep up with inflation for the good of banks–bail them out– and stocks–who would buy them en masse if interest rates were higher? All government directives. The candidates who want public funding can’t be bought. Hill and McCain were in that camp so the media has to make the Chicago politician seem like the second coming. Even Obama must have been taken aback by the tsunami of adulation for a third-rate politician.

  14. I donated to, campaigned on behalf of, and voted for an Independent candidate in the US Senate race in my state. That candidate was the most liberal, worthwhile person on the ballot, and didn’t get enough votes for even a mention in the results.

    We all know the problems, the people who are leading us to ruin, and can pretty accurately predict what more they will take from us in the future.

    Yet, the D’s and R’s continue to win the elections with rarely a serious challenger who truly wants to lead this country back to great getting the support of the people who are begging for them to come forward and stop this destruction.

  15. We should ask all these career politicians how many pensions they are collecting since most are well over sixty. I think it is a fair question, since they want us to work til we are 80!

    • the pre 1984 ones have Civil Service Retirement System which is basically one of the best and most comprehensive pension plans left standing these days. The post 1984 group have FERS. They get it as long as they can get in for five years which means all senators get it.

      • I imagine nearly all representitives will get it, too.

        3/4 of the current House has been in office 3 or more terms.

      • How much do they get though for 5 years of service?

        Frankly considering the nature these days of unemployment, THIS ought to be what American workers should be receiving. 20 years in one place rarely happens anymore and 401ks are a freakin ruse to pit workers against each other and feed the trust fund babies without requiring them tomix with the dirty working masses.

          • If the progressives had brains they’d be finding these things out though.

            Since the premise with the catfood commission is we all must suffer, I’d be asking why the people who spent the Social Security surplus amounts on things aren’t going to be expected to suffer right along with-or at thevery least offer up that the employers who are raking in record profits ought to be offering the same deal to THEIR employees.

            There has to be some point where we thether these guys future to our own somehow.

    • This is interesting. We have term limits here in Michigan. Our state representative was term limited out a few years ago. He used to be a math teacher. So…….he became the Dean of our local community college. This put him back on the teacher retirement path. The formula for teacher retirement is based on years of service and the three highest consecutive years of pay. He had a higher salary as a Dean of a college. It was such a win, win situation for him. He ends up with two retirements one from his stint in the legislature and one for teaching. How sweet it was for him! I was totally appalled for the double dipping. Those in power know how to take advantage of all those “trimmings”.

      The problem that I see is that while the Democrats are not so hot, the Republicans are infinitely worse!

      • Why is two retirement pensions so bad? If you earned them, then shouldn’t you receive them? Pensions are pretty miserly to begin with. They only make sense if you have no substantial debt. So, why not let people earn as much in pensions as possible? Is it possible that our resentment if double dippers has something to do with envy?

        • They work for just their terms and which can be one or two and they have full retirement. Some even collect three or more. So say you work in the legislature (two terms), then go to the State Senate (one or one and 1/2), then to congress (two two year terms) and then some other Office like a College say.

          So, we end up paying all the pensions as it they had worked their a life time and they get double benefits too.

          You couldn’t do that in one company, but it happens in government. Take Arnold who put some his friends at a higher pay rate, as appointees so that they could retire out at a higher pay…what is fair about that?

          • Pensions were originally an incentive and not a right. Instead of raising base pay, a company would hold a pension over a worker’s head so they could never leave the company. Now that jobs are so temporary, long-term employment and a guaranteed pension are pretty good deals.

          • I’d LOVE a guaranteed pension. The people I work with work so damned hard every frickin’ day. It’s hard to believe we could be tricked out of our retirements when the time comes to hang up our labcoats once and for all.

        • I had a problem with him coming back at a higher pay rate. He skipped a bunch of time where he didn’t work his way up to the higher pay rate.

      • I’m not. I wish more workers would organize and insist that their work over years contributes to record profits and so they should be paid commisterately.

        Why should a CEO walk away with millions for his retirement while the poor schmoe who put in 40 hours gets nothing but a pink slip when his tenures up?

  16. You R America, Riverdaughter.

    Carolyn Kay

  17. RD

    I think its great that you want to put Brooke through college but I have to ask why? Do you really believe in 10 years she’ll have a decent paying job to go to after she finishes? My state cut education and opened up truck stops. My daughter says that it seems to me she should give em what they ask for-truckers. I guess her thought is if she is going to have to work like a dog that she has no intention of saddling anyone-herself included, with debt.

    • You can learn to drive a truck at my community college. Worlds collide.

    • I ask myself that same question. To be honest, I don’t think Brooke will finish college. She’s extremely bright and creative. She wants to go into film special effects and animation. I can’t think of a better career for her. She has an exceptional grasp of three dimensions. So, I can’t see her in a typical career path. I think at some point, she’s going to get impatient with college and seek her fortune early. Either that or it will come looking for her. She will be famous or infamous someday. And there’s always a future for the motivated visionary. Think bill gates or Steve jobs. They didn’t finish college either.

  18. I’d love to see a law that says that if a company gives a CEO a severance package then it must have a severance package for each employee. Likewise for bonuses.

    The average CEO walks away with 5.38 million(according to Kellogg Light in 2007), why shouldn’t American workers also get “walking away” money?

    Additionally if a company is doing so well that it can reward its management team then why isn’t everyone participating in that companies success getting a bonus?

    • ugh companies’ successes or company’s success.

      I’m over at the AFL-CIO’s Executive paywatch making myself ill. The average CEO compensation is 9.25 million-over 200 times what a median income employee makes in the US. Joe average could save his income for 20 years and not walk away with 1/10 of what these guys get in a single year. Yet it’s Joe Average being told he must tighten his belt. Screw that.

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