Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tarnished future for golden agers

This column by Duncan Black on bleak prospects for retirees is a longer form version of Atrios' newest hobby horse which might be summed in the shorter as: bail out the people. I've been saying stuff like this myself for a long time now, but nobody listens to me so it's good to see a very popular sucky blogger trot this into the public discourse:
We need an across the board increase in Social Security retirement benefits of 20% or more. We need it to happen right now, even if that means raising taxes on high incomes or removing the salary cap in Social Security taxes.
Read it all, especially if you're younger and are depending on a 401K plan to ensure your comfort in your golden years. Because if you are, you're likely to be disappointed.

Meanwhile, if you're on the cusp of retiring or in that over 55 and lost your job demographic, you're pretty much screwed and apparently invisible to the powers that be. And that's just SS benefits. If you add in the current mania to "fix" Medicare by foisting the costs back onto the olds, you're probably going to face an early death.

Which as Matty Yglesias points out is a great cost saving scheme:
… It really can’t be emphasized enough that this is the precise inverse of the entitlements problem. Failure to provide adequate social services to unemployed 61-year-olds not only saves money because you don’t need to pay for the benefits, it saves even more money when it leads to that guy dying at 71 rather than 74. To some, those are three extra years to spend with your grandkids. But to the Congressional Budget Office, that’s just more Social Security checks and more Medicare bills.
Oddly, I was just thinking the other day, this austerity fixation (being perpetrated mainly by millionaires) is the modern day equivalent of throwing us olds onto ice floes and sending us out to sea. As the kids say, sure looks like a feature, not a bug.

[photo via]

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