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Atrios links to Greg Anrig's take-down of a Time magazine article criticizing Obama's economic proposals. Anrig correctly points out that Justin Fox, the article's author, commits the common journalistic idiocy of assailing ideas for not being new while ignoring the fact that past experience has shown them to be effective. Anrig highlights this passage:

These add up to what you could call the stock Democratic response to tough times. They're not necessarily bad ideas, but they're not what you could call new or transformative either. Obama throws in a few populist panders -- he favors a windfall profits tax on oil companies (which could discourage investment in new energy resources), and says he would oppose raising the Social Security retirement age (which if phased in over a long enough period would be the fairest, most sensible way to ease some of the system's long-run funding challenges). Near the end of the speech, there was a hint of Obama's "yes, we can" vision: a plan to give $4,000 a year in tuition aid to college students who pledge themselves to community or national service after graduation.

Taking off on the Social Security retirement age, which Anrig points out is slated to be 67 by 2022, Atrios notes that:

As for the Social Security retirement age, 67 is old for people who don't work sitting at desks in nice air conditioned rooms. Sure plenty of people, even ones who work more taxing jobs over the course of their lives, are healthy and spry at 67. But plenty of people aren't.

To elaborate, the issue is not just how physically hard a person's job is -- though that is hugely important. But through a lifetime of work, how good has the person's medical care been? Poor care can subtract years from a working life, and as we know, in this country poor care tends to be associated with exactly those kinds of physically taxing jobs. Before Time reporters call it a "populist pander" to suggest that raising the Social Security cap is preferable to raising the retirement age, they need to be thinking what that means to people who work hard, brutalizing their bodies for decades with inadequate pay, inadequate benefits, and now an evaporating promise that they will one day be able to have a retirement that involves anything better than going straight into a nursing home.

It goes beyond that. My closest friend's father is about the same age as my father, but while my college professor father rarely mentions retirement, my friend's electrician father has been counting down the months until he can retire. And one key factor motivating his countdown is that he's a shift worker and is periodically required to work the graveyard shift. Working from midnight to 8 AM is one thing in your 20s or 30s. Think about doing that in your 60s. Think about doing that in your 60s when the tasks you'll be called on to do at 4:30 AM are potentially hazardous.

For the past few years, my friend's father has used most of his vacation time to get out of working graveyard. He can't plan ahead to take a trip, he can't choose when he needs a break. And that's the kind of thing reporters, and pundits, and too often politicians don't think about when they suggest that raising the retirement age would be "the fairest, most sensible" thing to do. Taking years more out of someone's life, making them work until their bodies are too worn out to have any kind of enjoyable retirement -- this is more fair than making millionaires pay Social Security on the third, fourth, and fifth hundred thousand dollars they make each year?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well... (22+ / 0-)

    Social Justice is an old-old idea ... and yet entirely new!

    Outraged Conservatives: Stop Picking on McCain's Trollop

    by Bronxist on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:54:26 AM PDT

  •  excellent post (43+ / 0-)

    Needed reminder that so many Americans are "people who work hard, brutalizing their bodies for decades with inadequate pay, inadequate benefits, and now an evaporating promise that they will one day be able to have a retirement that involves anything better than going straight into a nursing home." Would that the ever-comfy air-conditioned pundits would heed it.

    Thank you.

    •  And there's also the fact (15+ / 0-)

      that many people on social security are supporting their grandchildren.  For a grandmother who ends up taking care of her children's children, because her children are too messed up to do it, an extra year of work before retirement might be next to impossible.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:20:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, that's me! (4+ / 0-)

        I turn 67 in December, and have had my grandson to raise  for ten years.

        I'll tell you true, though, I am lucky to have a pension.  I could NOT work at this age - body hurts and mind is not nearly as sharp.  UGH!

        The big political problem is that (small) business would also have to pay more.  Now if over  the current top only the employees and not the employers had to pay.... that might go down better.

        •  No, it wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Canadian Reader, Calamity Jean

          If it were a problem for the small business to afford paying increased payroll taxes on employees making over $90K (how many struggling small businesses pay employees that much?), they could ask those employees to take a pay cut...because that's what it would be in any case. If the additional tax were "paid" by the employee rather than the employer (who is paying all of it anyway, it's just a matter of bookkeeping whether it's "paid" to the employee and deducted, or paid directly to the government), it would increase the employee's income tax liability, since they have to pay income tax on top of social security tax on their half of the payroll tax.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:19:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I can see your point -- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heiuan, Cyber Kat

          maybe the increase should just be on the employee end.  And Obama, at one point, was talking about a donut hole approach, in which people whose incomes were just over the cap wouldn't pay more, but those with much higher incomes would. That might work for small businesses also since they're probably less likely to have a lot of really high income people on their payrolls.
          I'm not a religious person so I can't with any honesty  say "God bless you" for your parenting of a 2nd generation of children.  But I know through my work that there are quite a few of you out there raising children when you thought you had completed child-raising, and we greatly appreciate your willingness and involvement!  (I'm almost 60 with an active 8-year-old to raise -- my own, not a grandchild -- and I know how tired I get.  And this was entirely my choice!).

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:21:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Even if they aren't brutalizaing their bodies... (24+ / 0-)

      It is rather a challenge these days to actually stay employed into your 60's, whether you are working a physically demanding job or not.  I mean I'm in IT, and I'll be lucky if I'm not laid off in my 50's having been deemed obsolete.  

      I think the truth of the matter is that most people would be content to work until they are much older.  I mean even if they don't like the work, it keeps them busy, and it pays better than retirement.  The trouble is that it's difficult to keep with any career once you're into your 60's.  

      It was different when most jobs were cradle to grave style jobs where you'd go to work for a single company for most of your life, and then retire, having your retirement benefits paid by your former employer.  That's almost non-existent these days.

      •  Ding! Ding! Ding! (11+ / 0-)

        Been there. Done that.  

        And once you get laid off over about 58, try finding another job in the same field or paying more than a fraction of those high paying office-type jobs.

        •  Right... (7+ / 0-)

          I mean the normal response is "get retrained".  Get retained for what?  I mean even if you get retraining nobody wants to hire a 60 year old with no experience to do anything that pays above minimum wage.  

          So not looking forward to that...

        •  In some fields, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alizard, Calamity Jean

          much younger than that. I was in the fashion industry. My job disappeared overseas when I was in my late 40's, and I knew that even if I could find another one, it would probably be for less money, and working for someone even more abusive (a very common problem in that industry) than the guy who'd downsized me. And there's always a surplus of eager young things willing to takea lower salary in order to get a leg up in the business; contrary to popular opinion, creative talent is cheap and abundant.

          I was lucky enough to get a retraining grant, and now I work an enjoyable, though low-paying, blue-collar job. However, my eyes aren't getting any better, and getting up at 6 am starts to present its own challenges once you're past 60. I always though I'd keep working until I physically couldn't anymore, but that Social Security that McCain wants to privatize is looking better and better.

          The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

          by sidnora on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 04:57:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  a very important point, sterno (7+ / 0-)

        I mean I'm in IT, and I'll be lucky if I'm not laid off in my 50's having been deemed obsolete.  

        People who get laid off in late middle age, and can't find other employment, can't wait until 67 to retire...

      •  Old and in the way (5+ / 0-)

        Great point sterno and this diary points out the real problem with increasing the retirement age. My husband got booted from his job at 56, now we are struggling to build back to what he was making and (please please please) get some medical benefits.

        He's gone from a job that didn't require a lot of physical to one that is all physical. He has had very hard physical jobs in the past and wasn't totally out of shape, but it takes time to build back up.

        Most of our friends are blue collar guys. Miners, mechanics, construction. All of them began falling apart in their early fifties. Knee surgeries and back problems are taking their toll. The most we can look forward to is making it to Social Security and finding a small job to suppliment it. That's the reality of our lives.

        My sis is 68 in a month, she works part time to add to her S S that was $700 a month, now it's closer to $900 because she can draw on her own, not her late husband's. Can you live on $900 without a job? What if you couldn't work at all?

        Edwards Democrat voting for Obama would like to remind you, "Concentration Moon, over the camp in the valley" Frank Zappa knew.

        by high uintas on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:23:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (8+ / 0-)

          Medical benefits are one of the big things that I think people are missing in this discussion.  If you've got a 401K, you don't have medical benefits.  So if you get laid off before you're old enough to claim medicare, you have to some how find an insurance company that will take you.  Insurance companies don't like 50+ year olds for precisely the reasons you outlined above.

          If you worked at a company with a defined benefit plan and insurance, you'd face early retirement, not being laid off.  So you'd still get benefits even if you had to live on less.  But now, you take your 401K and try not to let the door hit you in the ass.

          I'm all for having a flexible economy where workers are expected to change jobs, etc.  I'm all for not making us dependent on our former employer to make sure they keep our benefits intact.  But that's why we need universal health care and social security.  There's a certain amount of stability that's good and necessary for the health of the economy.  If you don't want that burden on employers, fine, but it still needs to happen.

    •  We have a friend who is a stone mason. (9+ / 0-)

      He builds big stone walls, chimneys, and fire places in huge expensive homes.  You try carrying stones, bricks, and buckets of cement up and down ladders and see how it feels at age 20, let alone after 40 years and being in your sixties.  

      Republicans don't have 60 votes, and it doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

      by dkmich on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:50:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Retirement age was originally selected (7+ / 0-)

    as the age that your average person was too old to work.

    SSI was an insurance policy....insurance against getting too old to work.

    But the euphemistic meaning of retirement has changed.  Now it's not a euphemism for being too old to work.  It's a euphemism for NOT being too old for a period of leisure activities.

    Given the changes in both work and people in the last sixty years, 67 is not too great an age to set the date for full SSI benefits.  72 isn't too great an age, either.

    Working from midnight to 8 AM is one thing in your 20s or 30s. Think about doing that in your 60s

    But SSI isn't for people who want to stop working because their work blows.  That's part of the problem...SSI isn't for you to be able to stop working, it's for you because you can't work.

    "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

    by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:56:38 AM PDT

    •  Uh, yeah, and when (32+ / 0-)

      you're in your 60s and working from 8 to 4 one week and midnight to 8 the next puts a significant strain on your body and your mental focus and you are prone to make errors, you can't work with live electricity. Not safely anyway.

      •  Maybe not. But you can still work. (0+ / 0-)

        Even the people who don't have skilled trades still work.  At least, in large enough part to justify the age for full benefits to be raised.  

        "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

        by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:04:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, how about (21+ / 0-)

          the wife of the man I mentioned. She works as a custodian. She's been missing a lot of hours of work because of a knee problem. Because her injury wasn't directly sustained on the job (but definitely exacerbated there) she could lose her job because she is physically unable to do it. Your answer for her?

          But more importantly, listen to yourself! You're arguing against people getting to retire until they're physically incapacitated. Is that really the standard we want to apply in this country? You work until you're so broken you cannot continue at the most basic physical level? You work as a skilled laborer until you cannot do that, then you step down the job ladder progressively for the rest of your life? In your model, does everyone end their working life as a WalMart greeter?

          Sorry, that's not my politics.

          •  Um. No. (0+ / 0-)

            You're arguing against people getting to retire until they're physically incapacitated.

            Obviously not.  Nobody was talking about the ability to retire at all.  We were talking about a government benefit.  You can always retire, if by "retire" you mean "stop working".  It's a personal choice.

            But if by "retire" you mean "Obtain government money", obviously, they can't.

            You work until you're so broken you cannot continue at the most basic physical level?

            Well, no, I was going to set an age....like social security....that most are too old to work.  

            Where would you set it?

            "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

            by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:24:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  55 (14+ / 0-)

              Americans work too much for too long for too little as it is. We should all enjoy free time more and cease to be wage slaves.

              Who will stop this war of lies? Keith Olbermann May 23rd, 2007

              by Ed in Montana on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:31:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That would be a different program (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ed in Montana

                That philosophy isn't what built social security.

                Social security is to replace part of the wage income that you are too old to earn.  It's got nothing to do with who is a wage slave.

                "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

                by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:33:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  SS is an agreement we have (16+ / 0-)

                  with the government that when we turn a certain, predetermined age, we get to retire and start collecting that money the government was taking from us while we worked. Regardless of one's physical capacity to work.

                  It really has nothing to do with only giving it out to people that can no longer work, nor was the age supposed to be based on one's physical limitations. There was always the element of "here, you've earned it".

                  Part of the American dream and all that.

                  •  But there still is a problem (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ed in Montana, dburbach

                    When Social Security was first created, most people didn't live long enough to collect it.  That is part of the reason that it worked so well.  If you pay in, but never collect, the government can support it.  it really did become that final safety net for the oldest Americans so that they did not become a burden on their children.

                    What has happened is that it became extra 'mad money' for way too many people.   This was what it was never meant to be.  Yes, I do know and understand that Social Security is the only means of support for some older Americans, and I don't want to throw them out on the street.     At the same time, there are too many people who failed to plan for their retirement.  

                    My Grandparents planned very well for their retirement, even though they had 5 kids and did not have office jobs.   They saved well and Social Security became extra money for them, really giving them a very comfortable retirement.

                    But there are also other Americans who decided not to save when they were younger, but live for the moment.  Look around your own neighborhoods at all the people getting new cars every two years, always wearing the newest fashions and never thinking about tomorrow.  What do you think is going to happen when they are in their 60s?    I am giving up luxories now to save for my retirement (20% of my salary) I certainly don't want to have to support those people who did nothing, or worse yet, purposely decided not to save.

                    An answer might be means testing, but how can you do that?   How can you look at two people who might have each earned $60,000 per year while working where one saved nothing and the other saved $6,000 a year.  It would seem to me that the one who did nothing should be penalized.

                    I think we need to change the whole philosophy with Social Security and make sure that people understand that it needs to work as the final safety net.  It is not designed to help you from stupid and irresponsible financial decisions that you made when you were younger.    

                    If it is, then I have been stupid for the last 15 years saving up all my money rather than spending it on expensive SUVs and other crap.  My partner and I deal with this issue with his family all the time.  They make really stupid selfish decisions and then want us to constantly bail them out because we have money.

                    There really is a reason that more Americans really need to read and understand the story of the grasshopper and the ant.

                    I am not trying to get all Republican on you, but even Obama has talked about there needing to be more personal responsibility

                    Stagflation, here we come

                    by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:22:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Penalized? (5+ / 0-)

                      Try living off of SS alone. That's penalty enough. For those prudent enough and fortunate enough to have enough income to actually save, their retirement will prove a lot more comfortable. Reward enough, and yes, something that should be emphasized.

                      BUT, given that household income has stagnated for the last 30+ years, while every thing necessary to live like cost of housing, cost of a basic automobile, have increased by 3-4-hundred percent relative to what it was when SS was first implemented and to people's relative earnings, has been particularly hard on those in the lower income brackets.

                      Housing used to cost people back in the 30s something like 20% of their income, today it's like 40 to 60% or more for some. That's why one income used to be enough and how small town America was built.

                      Why do you want to blame a system that is struggling do to conservative fiscal policy on the people just trying to survive from day to day?

                    •  "Failed to plan for their retirement"... (5+ / 0-)

                      What you mean is, life happened. Sometimes all it takes is one bad break to ruin all the plans they might have had for retirement. Most people don't get to 60 with as little as one bad break.

                      Losing a job. Getting sick. Having an unplanned child. Having a child with medical problems. Divorce. A fire, flood, or tornado. Trusting a smooth talker who turns out to be a con artist. Working in an unsafe or polluted work environment. Having their employer bought out by a corporate raider who sells off all the assets and hollows out the pension fund, then dumps the company. Some of the choices people make are much to their credit, too: Caring for an aged parent. Taking a lower-paid job because they're trying to do their bit to make the world a better place. Digging deeper into their savings than they can afford to give their kids a college education or a house down payment.

                      Yes, there are people who don't handle their money well... quite a lot of them. Nevertheless, you need to recognize that your grandparents were lucky as well as smart.

                      They do deserve credit for being sensible themselves (and for teaching you common sense about money, too). But they could easily have been just that sensible -- and ended up with nothing.

                      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is.

                      by Canadian Reader on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:42:59 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How about working 40+ years, (4+ / 0-)

                        doing it all right, saving, putting away money into an IRA and 401K, only to watch it slip away like sand through an hour glass as the dollar tanks, and the investments the IRA and 401K are in shrink.

                        My husband and I did just that.  He was going to retire this year, but now the money we planned to have is no longer there.  Maybe it will come back up, but maybe not.

                        He's not in the best of health and I'm the one with the job that provides health benefits - which keep going up (the portion I have to pay) about the same as my salary.  That's not taking into consideration the rising costs of gas, food, etc.

                        Our house was reassessed for town tax purposes at the height of the housing boom.  Now we're paying taxes on a house that's worth 20% less than the assessment value.  We planned to move to a less expensive area, but now we can't do that either.

                        OWW4O
                        (Old White Woman 4 Obama)
                        OWW40's Unite!

                        by Cyber Kat on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 01:59:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Social Security is based (0+ / 0-)

                      on how much you earned over the course of your career, not how much you saved. As the Repugs are so fond of reminding us, it's your money. It's paid as a premium on insurance that you or your dependents qualify for when you reach a certain age or experience some other loss of earning power (disability or death).

                      If you don't earn enough over the course of your lifetime, you get nothing. I have a friend who was supported by her husband for about twenty years, and so was not paying SS tax during that time. Her marriage broke up and she went to work. Then she suffered a major stroke, which left her hemiplegic in a wheelchair, unfit for work that has any physical component. She was refused SSI payments on the grounds that she hadn't generated enough earnings over the course of her life. She lives on welfare. And she's still looking for a job.

                      I would think that someone who was earning a good salary for decades, but chose not to save, will be adequately penalized by being forced to live on the SS payments.

                      The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

                      by sidnora on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 05:14:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  My father retired at 55 (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ed in Montana, Cyber Kat, 4Freedom, JeffW

                and dropped dead a year later of a massive heart attack, weeks before his 56th birthday.

                He wasn't there to give me away at my wedding, and he never got to meet my kids.

                But he had a BLAST that last year he was alive, golfing -- his big love -- nearly every day and visiting family he hadn't seen for years, after working himself nearly to death since he was 17.

                I wish he had retired at 50, but if he'd waited until 62 or 65, he would have never had any retirement at all.

              •  And how would you pay for that? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ed in Montana

                Given current life expectancies, plus time in education on average you'd work for just over 30 years out of more than 80.  All the more of a problem right now because the 25 - 55 age group is particularly small.  

                How would you possibly pay to support all those retired workers?  Other than making the 25 to 55 year olds work 70 hour weeks to pay for it all?

              •  My dad would never have collected social security (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ed in Montana, high uintas, Cyber Kat

                He was a public school teacher, and under the terms of his union contract he retired at age 55.  He started collecting social security at age 62

                He died when he was 64.  He'd have never collected social security -- the monies he'd paid into the system as a worker for decades -- under this new draconian version of social security.

                In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. H.L. Mencken

                by hockeyrules on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:00:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I'd suggest (11+ / 0-)

            Inland's politics are somewhere very far south of Progressive.

            Right around that fourth ring of hell where all the heartless greed heads were damned.

            A Republican couldn't have said it more arrogantly or with less insight:

            But SSI isn't for people who want to stop working because their work blows.  That's part of the problem...SSI isn't for you to be able to stop working, it's for you because you can't work.

            First, it's not 'part of the problem'--part of the actual problem is you have so called commentators on a progressive blog as deluded as your worst Republican nightmare cousin. Everyone should have a right to stop working when they get old (and I'd happily stipulate 60 as being 'old' ) and not have to worry about starving to death. It's working while poor and retiring in poverty that's the issue. That certain individuals in our society (Inland, Republicans) can't bring themselves to admit that retiring and not being in poverty is a reasonable  goal for our society in and of itself IS THE PROBLEM.

            Beyond that it's not really an 'entitlement' it's our own money coming back to us...true nuff the pay outs come from a Treasury trust fund, but that fund is paid into by us from our SS Tax.

            Benefits paid to today's retirees come from payments made by today's workers. These payments are in the form of a payroll tax on incomes up to a certain level. In 1937 the maximum taxable level was 3,000 dollars; by 2005 the level had risen to 90,000 dollars.

            It's a 102,000 for 2008

            Benefits need to be adjusted upwards and given the shitty circumstance of the 401ks that are out there, I'd suggest widened.

            The Reagan years saw the destruction of the pensions and the rise of the nearly useless 401ks. Without increasing benefits--not decreasing--increasing--you are going to see waves upon waves of very old, very poor, working people all over this nation. It will be fucking ugly.

            How do you pay for increasing the benefits?

            Tax the fucking rich-LOTS more than they are being taxed for SSI. After $102,000 you don't have to pay anymore into SSI. If someone finds this 'unfair' because the 'rich' don't need SSI, then can cry me a river. Most of us are working jobs that make rich folks richer. It's our labor that makes them what they are. Paying more in SSI is simply a way of evening out that lopsided playing board of life.

            The folks in Dante's ring would agree with Inland however, that 'being fair' about wealth redistribution is a "problem". Of course, their greedy, grasping attitude is why they are in hell.

            The fourth circle consists of the hoarders and spendthrifts who are forced to push boulders against one another.  ... This punishment makes them aware of the same sin in others and the futility of it all, because you can’t take it with you in the end.

            You can lead a conservative to facts--but you can't make him think.

            by DelicateMonster on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:55:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People don't save (0+ / 0-)

              I am sorry, but I am 37 and I see way too many people my age who save nothing for retirement.  

              They drive more expensive cars than I do, they wear more expensive clothes than I do.  They go out to lunch more often than I do.   Now, you are telling me that I am stupid for saving money?

              I am not talking about the true working more here.  I am talking about Americans who have household incomes over $80,000 and up and who do nothing to save.  

              Yeah, sometimes that means you need to tell your kids you cant take them to the movies this week, or it means you might have to keep your car 6 years versus 3 years, but it is called responsibility.

              What you are telling me is that I am being stupid for being responsible and I am being stupid for saving my money because the next generation should be paying for my mistakes.

              The next generation should not be stuck paying for my financial mistakes anymore than they should be stuck paying for Bush's stupid fucking war in Iraq.

              Stagflation, here we come

              by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:29:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's a fluid issue (6+ / 0-)

                You can make plans at 37 to save enough to cover your butt and if you are lucky it will work out for you.

                When we entered the workplace, pensions still existed and wages for the most part made it possible to save a little. Then came Reagan and the loss of the pension system. I know too many who lost everything they had worked for during that time.

                401Ks. Even with the loss of our job w/pension and the money that somehow evaporated into mergers, law-suits, and the fancy hand work of the 80s, we had almost 100k in our 401K on Sept. 10, 2001. Guess what happened?

                We built it back up, had a personal savings account and then the Mr. was fired after 21yrs at the age of 56. COBRA cost $1208 a month and unemployment was $1195. Savings? Poof

                How many times can you lose it all and build it back in one lifetime? No one is saying you are stupid for saving, hell, we are back to saving again.

                But, you're 37 and I'm 57, believe me when I say you have no idea what can happen in 20 yrs. If I had it to do over again I'd be saving everything in gold bars and hiding them in a very safe place.

                Edwards Democrat voting for Obama would like to remind you, "Concentration Moon, over the camp in the valley" Frank Zappa knew.

                by high uintas on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:45:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's good that you're saving (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sidnora, alizard, DelicateMonster

                You should keep saving.  

                But DelicateMonster never said most the things you are arguing about.  I believe the point being made was that social security should apply to higher incomes than it does today, not that people shouldn't save, and that the next generation should pay for someone's financial mistakes.

                Your neighbors who are not being very smart about their money will find themselves with nothing but SS when they're old, while those of us who save may have happier retirements.  That's the benefit of saving like you're doing.

                I don't quite understand your argument..nobody is saying saving is a bad idea.

              •  Clues brings up most of what I'd say in response (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                alizard, phonegery

                no one is suggesting 'savings' is bad, what I'm saying is a decent pension should be as much a 'right' as a living wage, education and health care. It's not impossible at all, nor is it somehow going to make those who are inclined to save less inclined to save...the object is to provide a safety net that is not dirt level poverty.  

                You want something nicer when you get old, of course you'll save. But for folks that can't, or didn't for whatever reason, I see no reason they should suffer abysmal poverty while billionaires get tax breaks. I can promise you, much of a 'self made' person's wealth is simply redistribution from the poor folks that have worked for him/her up though whatever marvelous mechanism they might have stumbled upon to siphon profits. A lot of times wealth is simply 'inherited' so you have family dynasties--literary generation after generation of grossly wealthy citizens who do not contribute a single penny to SSI, while  reaping the prime benefits of a business (that they may not even know how to run) forcing the folks working for them to pay for their own retirements as well. How is that fair? When we let corporations rip out pension plans with nary a peep and allowed ourselves to be sold on the lie of the 401k, we basically forfeited a system of communal good for the fucking company store.

                SSI can provide an alternate mechanism so all of us don't have to live like wage slaves or on the streets when we hit 60+; regardless of what we've managed to save in a lifetime of labor.

                You can lead a conservative to facts--but you can't make him think.

                by DelicateMonster on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:01:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So how do those people get retrained (5+ / 0-)

          for these alleged new jobs? You're going to have to spend money for retraining, and if they've got a family to support they're going to need money too.

          "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:19:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lots of opportunities as WalMart greeters? (4+ / 0-)

          Or other McJobs.  These are often very tiresome, low paid, few benefits.

          What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is. ~ Dan Quayle

          by CParis on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:24:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, that's a drag (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            JeffW

            but it's a job that even people who weren't once electricians take.  It's not better for an young person than a old person, it's not better for a person who was never an electrician.

            But apparently, the young people who were never electricians are supposed to take that job AND pay taxes so the old ex-electrician can retire rather than waste his time on it.

            "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

            by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:28:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What about (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          opinionated, Brooke In Seattle, JeffW

          block/bricklayers, concrete finishers, carpenters, etc. How many 67 year olds can be working in extreme heat/cold, doing that type of work? And why should someone who has worked this hard all their life be expected to work at MacDonalds or WalMart for minimum wage just because they are physically incapacitated? Raising the SS tax cap is the only sensible answer.

          "Remember . . . hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." - - Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption

          by wv voice of reason on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:41:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Only if someone is willing to hire a 65 year old. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle, Just Bob

          Lotsa luck.

      •  Plus factor in the loss of certain functions (7+ / 0-)

        Do you really want a 67-year-old piloting a plane...or driving a bus...or driving a truck filled with hazardous materials?

        As you get older, your reaction times slow down, and also other problems creep up; the CA DMV set strict guidelines for things like blood pressure levels for professional drivers because drivers were keeling over from heart attacks during working hours. I know of at least one of the spouse's colleagues who was found dead in his bus, having suffered a heart attack while on a layover, and wasn't discovered till the bus didn't show up at its relief point. (I wish the state would crack down on the amount of overtime that drivers can work -- too many of them are willing to put in 6-7 day weeks with the accompanying wear and tear on their bodies and their family relationships.)

        "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

        by Cali Scribe on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:18:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  SS is not SSI - (13+ / 0-)

      The SSI program makes payments to people with low income who are age 65 or older or are blind or have a disability.

      The Social Security Administration manages the SSI program. Even though Social Security manages the program, SSI is not paid for by Social Security taxes. SSI is paid for by U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust funds.  [SSA.gov]

      OWW4O (Older White Women 4 Obama)

      by dus7 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:05:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My mistake. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ed in Montana, brjzn

        I thought retirement benefits were SSI.  What's the acronym?  OADHSI?  

        "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

        by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:06:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and your mistake in another way (12+ / 0-)

          because social security was not for those who can't work, as you state it, but to raise the retired elderly out of poverty.
          It doesn't quite do that anymore, and for some older folks after decades of work, it's all they have.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:16:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In poverty (0+ / 0-)

            because they can't work.  That's why they are impoverished, right?  Old age benefits insure against that.  Outliving your ability to earn a wage.

            That's why it's an old age benefit, not a general welfare program, not a disability program.

            "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

            by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:18:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You need to do a little research. (6+ / 0-)

              If you check out various historical documents and the enactment of social security you see very little that suggests it was only for those people who "can't work."  (I found only one comment that contained references to  the "infirm," or too old to work -- and that was in a statement that was describing the whole concept of having social insurance to cover all kinds of contingencies in people's lives -- not just a statement specific to Social Security).
              The documents and the bill itself refer to people who are retired, or people who are of a certain age.  There's even a statement about how Social Security might encourage people to retire earlier, thus freeing up jobs for younger people.  
              Certainly doesn't sound like it was only intended for people who "can't work."

              If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

              by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:47:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, no. (0+ / 0-)

                Anybody who is trying to tell me there's no connection between social security and the ability to work due to age is going to have to explain the system's features, namely.

                contributions by wage earners

                a minimum age

                a benefit based in part on wages earned

                No relationship to wealth

                No relationship to income

                You can talk all you want about how it was sold.  I'm telling you how it was designed.

                "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

                by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:42:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Part of the reason (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            darrelplant, ebohlman, Tamar

            was to ensure that people could retire and free up jobs for young people at a time (the Great Depression) when a lot of young men were having a hard time getting jobs.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:39:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Social Security Administration, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas, marina, JeffW

          like most of us, just calls the programs "Social Security" and "SSI" - 'SSI' being 'Supplemental Security Income' which, of course, is for elderly, blind, or disabled low-income persons.  

          OWW4O (Older White Women 4 Obama)

          by dus7 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:18:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Another reason I like it here. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dus7, 4Freedom, Just Bob

          Your acknowledgement the "mistake" is another example of what IMHO separates the D Kos from others, i.e., the member's ability/honesty to admit they were either wrong, made a mistake, or there may be another way of looking at things. Thank you for maintaining these standards. Your conduct is inspiring and affirming.

        •  RSI (0+ / 0-)

          Retirement and
          Survivors
          Insurance

          "OASI" was the old abbreviation.  It was replaced over 30 years ago.

          Renewable energy brings national security.

          by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 06:44:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  People too young for Social Security... (9+ / 0-)

        ...but too disabled by age WILL wind up on SSI or SSDI. The problem is that SSI/SSDI is poverty wages. You can't live on it.

        You cannot specify a "one size fits all" retirement age. Some people will be able to work until they are 100, some will start getting frail at 60.

        This is yet another symptom of how badly our whole social safety net is in tatters. We are going to need the kind of initiative that happened during the 1930s to fix things. If we have the political will. Which we probably don't.

        McCain = Death.
        "I'm tired of being afraid." -- Michelle Obama

        by Pris from LA on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:15:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  IIRC 65 was also factored in b/c life expectancy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, Stranded Wind

      was vastly different; people are living  much longer now. According to demographers, fastest growing segment of Murrkan population is > 85 y.o. and subset of THAT group---and growing fast--- those centenarians!

      Mother, once a librarian, dob 6/1/1907. No shift work, not much physical effort ( if one overlooks shelving millions of books in her working lifetime!).

      Aloha   ..  ..  ..

      •  I forget what the avg draw on Old age benefits wa (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dburbach, dolphin777, Stranded Wind

        used to be...something like eleven months.  Not surprising, if retirement age is actually too old to work.

        "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

        by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:07:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opinionated, dolphin777

        How much of that increase in life expectancy is due to a shift from manual jobs to riding desks?

        You're in a way simply reinforcing the article's point.

        •  I've read that increased life expectancy mostly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CParis, max stirner

          due to improved sanitary conditions, better diet vs medical "break-throughs"!

          Aloha   ..  ..  ..

          •  Then why (6+ / 0-)

            do life expectancies vary so strongly by career?

            Also, consider that your income and to some extent directly your career impact all three of your factors:

            Sanitary conditions: likely to be worse in manual jobs (think what you might be breathing in; difficulty of cleaning a desk compared to factory machinery etc.) Also, well-paying jobs allow you to afford better housing which can be a significant factor in sanitation . Moreover, manual labor leaves you with less time and energy to spend in the house.

            Diet: well paying jobs allow you to choose based on nutrition more freely, since cost is less of a factor. Also, more time and energy to prepare meals.

            Medical breakthroughs: In this country, these only benefit those with good-quality health insurance.

    •  SSI is insurance, but not for what you think (14+ / 0-)

      Social Security is an insurance program, but it was started to insure against poverty in old age, unemployment, and protection for widows and fatherless children.

      The idea of insurance for "getting too old to work" is a bit odd.  Everyone gets too old to work.  What people needed (and need) to be insured for is being poor when they are too old to work.

      And being 60, 65, or 70 and having a heavy manual-labor job working weird hours is not "having a job that blows", it's being too old to work.  If someone has spent 45 years of their life hauling boxes in a warehouse, they should be able to retire.

      American workers work longer hours than anyone else, with much less time off than anyone else.  You wouldn't think to find someone on a progressive blog arguing that 45 years of manual labor isn't enough for a lifetime.

      •  Just because the blog is progressive (6+ / 0-)

        Doesn't mean the commenter is.

      •  Misconception. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ed in Montana

        Everyone gets too old to work.  What people needed (and need) to be insured for is being poor when they are too old to work.

        Obviously, everyone doesn't get too old to work...some die young and get nothing for their payments, as Bush points out.

        Nor does SS insure against being poor, since it pays regardless of means.

        And being 60, 65, or 70 and having a heavy manual-labor job working weird hours is not "having a job that blows", it's being too old to work.

        It's being too old to work that job.  When the program was instituted, almost the entire nation worked heavy manual labor jobs.  Yet, the retirment age was 62.  Now, heavy manual labor jobs are a very small proportion of the economy and people have better health longer.  It's just a fact.

        American workers work longer hours than anyone else, with much less time off than anyone else.  You wouldn't think to find someone on a progressive blog arguing that 45 years of manual labor isn't enough for a lifetime.

        Well, maybe YOU wouldn't.  But some of us  understand that the question of who gets SS paid for by taxes is answered by a vacuous question like "who has worked enough for a lifetime"?

        "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

        by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:16:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a vacuous question. (12+ / 0-)

          I think your premise that people should work until they are "broken" is abhorrent.

          I also think that when you enter into an agreement with an employer, or your government, the agreement should be honored.

          My employer promised me certain retirement benefits for over 15 years, and considered them part of my salary.  Removing them is a retroactive paycut.

          The government promised me certain SS benefits in exchange for my paying into the system all these years, and now people like you want them to go back on that as well.

          When you're in your 20s, things like this aren't a problem.  Your old age is so far away, you can barely conceive it, much less worry about it in this much detail.  For a person in their 50s or older, there is not nearly enough "runway" to correct your plans every time someone sets off to screw you out of something in this manner.  When multiple entities attempt to do that at once, it's really to much to handle.

          And the answer is..work until you're broken.  (Of course nobody ever says what KIND of work anyone would hire a tired 65 year old person to do..but that's a whole other topic.)

          •  It's a vacuous question. (0+ / 0-)

            I think your premise that people should work until they are "broken" is abhorrent.

            That's a straw man.  THe question is who gets a government benefit from the social security program.  

            As it stands, the very idea of social insurance was, and is, a progressive one.  The idea that the government should give money to people who CAN work so that they can STOP is not.  

            The government promised me certain SS benefits in exchange for my paying into the system all these years, and now people like you want them to go back on that as well.

            Seems better than taxing workers more in order to turn the program into something it was never meant to be.  

            When you're in your 20s, things like this aren't a problem.

            What's the "problem" in not receiving benefits while still able to work?  The twenty year old has the same "problem".  Maybe more.

            "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

            by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:40:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If it was never meant to be that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JG in MD

              Why is that what was promised?

              Social Security was designed to be a baseline to prevent people from starving or freezing to death from age-related poverty.

              There are still a lot of workers that are threatened by that at age 65, because their jobs are physically wearing and their benefits are poor to non-existent.

            •  Oh no! Welfare Grandmothers! Call Fox News. (6+ / 0-)

              That's a straw man.  THe question is who gets a government benefit from the social security program.  

              As it stands, the very idea of social insurance was, and is, a progressive one.  The idea that the government should give money to people who CAN work so that they can STOP is not.

              Talk about strawmen!  You make it sound like welfare for the idle elderly.

              How about the idea that the government should give BACK money that people have paid into the system after a lifetime of hard work, so that they can grow old with dignity and get a bit of well-earned rest?  Let's try phrasing it that way, instead of "the government GIVING money" to people who REFUSE to work.

              What's the "problem" in not receiving benefits while still able to work?  The twenty year old has the same "problem".  Maybe more.

              Explain to me how a 20 year old has the same problem, maybe more.  "Able to work" means two entirely different things for your average 20 year old and your average 65 year old.  In a failing job market, how does it help a 20 year old to keep 65 year old people who'd like to retire in their jobs another 10 years?

              The whole premise of your argument seems to assume their are wonderful jobs available for all, if only everyone would just work them.  It also assumes that older workers don't deserve their SS payments - that it's some form of charity from the government.

              The entire argument is misguided.

              •  Um. No. (0+ / 0-)

                You make it sound like welfare for the idle elderly.

                That's precisely what it is not meant to be, and a reasonable "retirement age" is what keeps it from being so.

                The whole premise of your argument seems to assume their are wonderful jobs available for all, if only everyone would just work them.

                No, I assume nothing of the sort.  But the burden of unemployment falls on the young, too, and there's no reason to try to turn social security into some sort of minimum income for people who are unemployed but only if they are older.  

                "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

                by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:46:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Bad Planning (0+ / 0-)

                My biggest argument against you is that may too many people approaching retirement, without enough funds on their own, are there because of bad planning.

                People need to take more responsibility for their own lives.  I agree that there are true working poor that need help, but upper middle class households dont.

                The truth is that you can't get a new car every three years.  You can't go and buy yourself the newest fashions every Spring.  You probably can't afford to go out and spend $10-$15 a day on lunch.

                Yet, I see so many people doing that.  This does not make me some right-winger, it is just someone that beleives in personal responsibility.   I work hard and save a lot of my money, over 20%.  I am giving up a lot of things that I would like to do because I know that I need money in old age (I am currently 37).  

                I am also not saying that people need to work until broken, but people need to start being more responsible in their younger years if they want to be able to stop working before they are broken.

                Stagflation, here we come

                by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:51:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  references please? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  alizard

                  Can you back any of that up?

                  I can come up with a whole bunch of examples that disprove your assumptions, but right off the top of my head:

                  Delta career workers.  Many of these people have 20 years or more with Delta and have done sane and sensible financial planning for their retirements.  They've taken all the good advice available at the time, they did NOT plan to rely on SS income, but using that, in combination with their promised pensions and personal savings (401ks started late in their careers..so not much time to build that up, but many tried)...They diversified, they saved, they worked extra years at jobs that were unrewarding, and for which they received multiple paycuts, just to preserve their pensions for retirement.

                  So then what happened?  Their pensions were stripped, the SS age was raised, and their 401ks are in the toilet, largely due to the bad practices of the Bush Administration.

                  You can't sell me on a story about bad planning when there are so many people in equivalent situations to this.  At least not without some facts.  So where are your references?

                  By the way, all references are not equal.  We all keep seeing the media reports about American companies crying about not being able to find "qualified workers" at the same time they're dumping workers with years of experience and offshoring jobs..so please, if you're going to back up your claims that people aged 55-65 haven't planned for retirement, find something substantial to use.

                  •  OH GOODY (0+ / 0-)

                    I am so glad you brought up Delta, because guess what, my current Boss's husband is a retired Delta Pilot.

                    Guess what, she is re-retiring this year and she is not even 60.  She and her husband (who are both strong liberals) have planned well their whole lives so that they could do this.  They have a very nice portfolio for their retirement, and this is not family money as they both came from middle class backgrounds

                    Yes, when Delta went bankrupt it did affect them as they lost that pension.  They had retired in mid-50s and had to go back to work for a few years to get finances back in place.  They hadn't anticipated that loss, but it was not their only source of income.  But, now that they are back in place, they are going to retire once again (and again, under 60).

                    The reason is, THEY SAVED and PLANNED.  They did not spoil their children.  They did not buy overpriced cars and they lived modestly.   They will also be the first to admit that planning is everything.

                    Trust me, we have had many conversations on this.

                    So I am SO happy that you brought up Delta employees.

                    Oh, and by the way, SS age limits were raised years ago, and it doesnt go to 67 until people born in 1960 who would currently be only 48.  That is more than enough time to save.  And for everyone born between 1943 and 1955 it is 66 years old.

                    Stagflation, here we come

                    by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:41:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So your argument (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      alizard

                      is that people don't plan, unless they're Delta pilots, in which case they do plan?

                      And you're also arguing that, because you know someone who spoils their children, people don't plan, but because you know someone else that doesn't spoil their children people DO plan.

                      And further, you're arguing that because you know someone who spoils their children and does not plan, that it would be unfair to raise the cap on which wages are taxed for Social Security?  Also, that because you know some spoiled children, that everyone should work until they can't physically take any employment offered them.

                      Ok then.

                      •  Wow, you really blow things out of proportion (0+ / 0-)

                        You are the one who demanded that I back up my claim showing that planning helped with retirement, I did that.

                        I can also show you my in-laws who don't plan for anything.  They refuse to get good jobs and then complain that they don't have money.  They encouraged their children to drop out of school and then wonder why they can only get minimum wage jobs.

                        I could show you my partners father who turns 70 this year and is bitching that he still has to work.  Why does he have to work?  Because he refused to work full time when he was younger. Additionally when he did work, he only worked under the table because he didn't want to pay child support.  When you work under the table you don't pay tax so you don't get the benefits.  Do you think I feel sorry for him?

                        But I guess you are saying that I am an idiot because I save money.  I work hard and save a lot.  I follow a lot of the rules set out by financial planners.    But the people who buy overpriced cars and live above their means and refuse to try and take any personal responsibility are the smart ones.  Why they hell should anyone try and save money when the government will bail them out?

                        Again, I have not argued that we should not raise the cap.   What I am saying is

                        1. if we raise the cap we need to acknowledge that SS is a 'welfare' system, and not a system where you get out what you put in
                        1. We also need to make sure that people understand that Social security is designed to help, not to cover all you expenses
                        1. If we are are going to raise the tax on the rich (and trust me, making $102,000 in 2008 does not make you rich), then we need to put more penalties in place for those middle class who refuse to save.    If you work for a company that offers and matches 401k benefits but you dont contribute to your own retirement, you should be penalized.

                        The arguement that I am making is that while there are truly older Americans who do need our help, there are many others who are they because of their bad planning.

                        As I used in another post, we really need to look at the story of the grasshopper and the ant.  And since this is a fable of Aesop, I think we can all agree that it long preceeds any notion of modern capitalism.  It is those type of people that I have issues with.  And yes, I do see a lot of people in their 40s and 50s who could save for retirement, but dont.

                        Stagflation, here we come

                        by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:28:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No, you misunderstood me (0+ / 0-)

                          I wasn't asking you to back up your claim that planning helps retirement.  That's pretty much self-evident.  I was asking you to back up your claim that many people are approaching retirement without enough funds because of bad planning.

                          The evidence you cited for it was poor -  personal experience doesn't make good evidence for a claim like that.  And when you go on to propose that the entire country follow one direction or another based on your experiences with family or friends, it's just not good enough.

                          Even in your latest reply, you are citing friends and family experiences to make the claim that there's some epidemic of people approaching underfunded retirements due to poor planning.

                          I guess I'm pushing back at your posts because you are arguing sloppily, which tends to set me off.  Sorry about that.  It's clear you have some very strong ideas about Social Security and retirement, but I think you are arguing strongly against points that neither the diary nor I have attempted to make.

                          But I guess you are saying that I am an idiot because I save money.  I work hard and save a lot.

                          Nobody has said this is a bad idea, in fact a lot of us have said this is a good idea.

                          We also need to make sure that people understand that Social security is designed to help, not to cover all you expenses

                          This is a no-brainer.  Everyone knows this.  Nobody would argue with this.

                          Some of your other points are actually debate-able, and would make interesting discussions.

                          if we raise the cap we need to acknowledge that SS is a 'welfare' system, and not a system where you get out what you put in

                          SS has never been a system where you get out what you put in, but then neither is life insurance (if you die young).  It's a system where some people will get out what they pay in, some will get more, some will get far less.  It's also a system where poorer people pay in disproportionately.  Raising the cap apportions the load more fairly, and as you mentioned, the cap isn't even hitting the top working class salaries these days, much less the rich.

                          It's also a system where the government has raided the money and used it for other things, some of which help to make the rich richer.    If it were as simple as putting money in a bucket and taking it out later, with interest it would be a whole lot easier to discuss.

                          Lastly, I'm glad you used the ant and the grasshopper story, because I've recently used that myself.  I've always been an ant and having been through numerous failed class action suits about my pension, and having lost a great deal of the investment in my home, I am familiar with the story.

                          While the grasshopper whiled away his summer days, the ant was busy storing food for the winter.  The grasshopper mocked the ant for being industrious and never having any fun, but the ant kept working, storing away his cache, grain by gain.  Then as the weather changed, and the cold wind began to blow, a large dog came by and dug up the ant's hill, and then a crow arrived and began to eat all the ant's grains, one by one, leaving the ant with no food for the winter.  In the end, the crow turned and seized the grasshopper by one leg and began to carry him off into the sky.

                          "At least I had some fun!  What have you got to show for your work now?", yelled the grasshopper back to his sad friend.  

          •  I agree people should not have (0+ / 0-)

            to work till they are broken. But it is true taht people are getting "broken" at an older age. the 67 retirement age is comming at us in 15 years (or so), life (and health) expectancy may be in the 90s soon after then.

            When life expectancy is 90 +, do you really want to keep 67 as the retirement age? I think that still leaves plenty of years for playing golf or whatnot.

        •  I can see your point (4+ / 0-)

          Social Security wasn't meant to be the only means to finance people in a comfortable retirement. It was meant to keep seniors from being compltetly destitute and burdens on their children.

          Corporate financed PENSIONS were meant to help finance individual retirement, but these were done away with with the rise of 401Ks during the Reagan years.

          401Ks were never designed to replace pensions. Instead, they passed the primary burden for retirement savings from coporations and onto to the individual employee.

          Who will stop this war of lies? Keith Olbermann May 23rd, 2007

          by Ed in Montana on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:39:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Precisely. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ed in Montana

            It was meant to be a modest benefit, and in no way "comfortable".  

            When health care became a huge expense for the elderly, and poverty wasn't just caused by a lack of wages, we provided that too.

            And it's been outrageously successful...so much so that the age cohort with the least poverty is the 65 and over.  The age cohort with the most is that other one that doesn't work, children.

            "I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it's 'not too important' when they come home."---Senator Joe Biden

            by Inland on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:43:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree with you. (5+ / 0-)

      You've got a faulty premise here. This is just a small portion of the Wiki entry for SSI;
      snip
      History

      The Social Security Act was drafted by President Roosevelt's committee on economic security, under Edwin Witte, and passed by Congress as part of the New Deal. The act was an attempt to limit what were seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. By passing this act, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate the protection of the elderly.
      snip

      It's a social program to ensure that everyone who works for a lifetime will be able to live a reasonably comfortable life after work; widows who may never have worked and children were considered very much in it's creation.

      If people want to keep working they can choose to do so, but there are many people who can't work or choose not to work for a variety of reasons.

      It's about quality of life, not work till you die.

      •  SS is also insurance, not another entitlement. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        SS funds could be invested for better returns. With funds this huge, the Treasury could better finance itself and yield a better return for SS recipients in long US bonds.

        You shall have one world government, whether or not you like it, by consent or by conquest. Former FDR aide, James Warburg

        by 4Freedom on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:04:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Please. And when they die from cancer or a heart (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opinionated, Brooke In Seattle

      attack at age 64 - 72, they can have worked all of their lives without any time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Remember, earlier generations were married with kids and jobs by the time they were 20.  Now 20 might as well be 12, it is so sheltered.

      Republicans don't have 60 votes, and it doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

      by dkmich on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:52:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If a person is willing and able to continue to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, Brooke In Seattle

      work to 67 or 72, or whenever, that's great.

      However, one benefit of allowing older people to retire at an earlier age is to make room for younger workers entering the work force.

    •  I've always thought of SSI (0+ / 0-)

      as insurance against poverty for retirees. It's more important now since there is so little company provided retirement, and most 401ks are in the shit hole.
      I think that if you'd paid into the system, you retire when you want, whether you can still work or not

  •  I am a college professor, and I will probably (20+ / 0-)

    be able to work into my 80s or 90s. Mosat folks are not that lucky. I have done other kinds of work, and I would not like to be doing heavy physical labor at 67.

  •  Hah! (21+ / 0-)

    If 67 is old, then what does that say about their candidate?

    "It's been headed this way since the World began, when a vicious creature made the jump from Monkey to Man."--Elvis Costello

    by BigOkie on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:58:30 AM PDT

  •  My father worked swing shifts for 40 years (20+ / 0-)

    doing quality control in a paper mill - he just retired this past February at 62 because he couldn't do it anymore.  And in a paper mill you frequently have to work double shifts.

    I can't imagine working 16 hours in the middle of the night at my age, let alone  someone in their 60's!

  •  Pundits (25+ / 0-)

    The true elitists.

    A revolution is coming... whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability. -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Anton Sirius on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:59:39 AM PDT

  •  Laura you make a great point about older workers (22+ / 0-)

    The transformation of our economy into service-based has caused many people to forget that there are plenty of men and women who WORK for a living.  Climbing poles or carving poultry or cleaning hotel rooms may be okay when you're 25 but it can be a bitch when you're 55, if not damn near impossible for some people.

    •  Disability as well (8+ / 0-)

      There are plenty of younger people with chronic illnesses or injuries that have similar experiences. It is easier to get your benefits by showing your birth certificate than it is by showing repeated medical records to show that you are indeed disabled.

      It seems to me if we were serious about providing medical care (not just medical insurance) to all Americans, the nature of employment would change considerably. And for the better IMHO.

      John McCain does not care about your kids health.

      by musicsleuth on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:07:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I received Dx of arthritis when age 27; was (12+ / 0-)

      disabled in my 50s. It took applying and re-applying to SSA, finally an Admin Law Judge hearing to get benefits!  Presently 71 y.o.

      My son works constuction, is now 51, and recently becoming aware of increasing rheumatic symptoms. In his honest moments, tells me not sure how much longer he can go on working!!  And this is in the climate of Hawai'i, much kinder than many climates.

      Aloha   ..  ..  ..

      •  Have you both been checked for food allergies? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opinionated, dolphin777

        Inflammatory conditions always have a cause, and inflammation is the beginning of most kinds of diseases and ailments. Allergies, especially food ones, have been known to trigger rheumatic conditions.

        Look into herbs like tumeric for alternatives to the inflammatory response. There are several, like ginger and rosemary as well, that act as Cox-2 inhibitors, which can ease pain and inflammation.

        My trick, when having an ache or pain or the onset of an illness is to Google the condition, with a search term like "rheumatism alternative care" or "flu alternative care", then I read up on a bunch of options, especially the research, then make up my own mind about what to do. With only Medicare for health insurance, doctors aren't really an option, and I have found my health has improved greatly since I no longer have an allergist, a cardiologist, a hepatologist and whatever other specialists I used to allow to dictate my health to me.

        My next birthday will be 67, and I'm ADD, hypertensive, and have trouble sleeping soundly. The only way I contain my health is through constant vigilance and study. I use blood pressure meds, but will be cutting down on them as I find alternatives. I use homeopathic remedies, herbs and supplements to work with the ADD. Herbs and supplements also help me sleep better.

        I decided to accept more responsibility for my own health through study, diet and nutrition. As a result, I'm saving money and feeling better than I did in my 20s. And I'm working in the health food store I bought four years ago to have the resources to maintain my health, my family's health, and the health of my community.

        The self-help mandate, "If it's to be, it's up to me" has proven true in my life.

        You shall have one world government, whether or not you like it, by consent or by conquest. Former FDR aide, James Warburg

        by 4Freedom on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:23:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Justin Fox: an elitist sitting in a comfy office (11+ / 0-)

    ...trying to get average people to work longer  in their new air-conditioned, more difficult jobs.

    As for panders -- well, Mr. Fox just pandered heavily to the Republicans who pay him.   Typical.

    JOHN McCAIN = George W. Bush's 3rd term.

    by chumley on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:01:22 AM PDT

  •  Those "knowledge workers" might be able (18+ / 0-)

    to continue working into old age, but a laborer who works with his body and mind sometimes cannot.  My carpenter husband has already lost a year to carpal tunnel surgery.  We cross our fingers that his back, knees, shoulders, hands, eyes and ears hold out to retirement, not to metion his lungs from breathing dust and chemicals.

    We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

    by Silverbird on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:01:45 AM PDT

  •  And they call Obama elitists? (15+ / 0-)

    These media personalities don't have a shred of an idea about how the other 99% of the country lives.

    I'd like to see how long that Time writer could be a pipe fitter, or an iron worker.   Let's see them do that sort of work when they're 67.  Hell, those pampered assholes wouldn't have been able to do that sort of work in their 20's.

    Don't trust Larry Johnson. He isn't a Democrat.

    by Beelzebud on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:01:48 AM PDT

  •  When will rich people stop seeing taxes (13+ / 0-)

    as burdens and start seeing them as privileges.  When they grow a soul?  

    "Lets not run out to meet trouble; it might not be coming to our house." - Something the Dog Said's Grandfather

    by Pandoras Box on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:02:50 AM PDT

    •  I am not rich (0+ / 0-)

      And I don't see taxes as privileges.

      •  we need more transparency in government (0+ / 0-)

        to be able to "see" this more clearly, but I don't know how one funds the government who are SUPPOSED to take care of its citizens by keeping up the infrastructure of the country, social and welfare programs, the military (again, more transparency please), etc. WITHOUT them.

        What would be your plan?

        "Lets not run out to meet trouble; it might not be coming to our house." - Something the Dog Said's Grandfather

        by Pandoras Box on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:36:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your plan sounds good to me. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          opinionated, Calamity Jean

          More transparency in government. Whether taxes are a burden or a privilege depends on how they are used. Personally, I think the way they are used now, they are just a burden.

          Do you think paying for the Iraq War is a privilege? Me neither. I didn't think paying for Vietnam was a privilege, either. Nor do I think paying for all the pork my "progessive" Demcoratic congressman toted home last year (ranked 18th in the House) is a privilege.

          •  of course not. that's why the transparency (0+ / 0-)

            issue is important for me.  Obama is a big supporter of transparency in government as is my Republican sister - which is one reason I might be able to sell her on Obama this election.

            "Lets not run out to meet trouble; it might not be coming to our house." - Something the Dog Said's Grandfather

            by Pandoras Box on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:01:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

              It's one of the few things about Obama that really appeals to me.

              (That is not to be taken as a damnation of Obama, just a simple statement of fact...a lot of the things that people find most appealing about Obama don't appeal to me.)

    •  I see taxes as a collective form (7+ / 0-)

      of buying privileges when I choose to enter into a specific government structure/society.

      In exchange for paying taxes, I get services (clean water, schools, good roads and infrastructure, regulated food, etc.)that aid not just me and my family, but provide a social good.  

      We are reasonably well off and I would pay far more in taxes (and certainly lift the silly Social Security wage cap, which we hit each year) if it meant improved health/education/infrastructure/food quality for our family and for everyone in the U.S.

      •  And let me clarify (4+ / 0-)

        that one doesn't just get those services when they pay taxes.  Those who don't pay or can't pay receive the benefits as well.  It's part of taxes being a social good--and not just an exchange of money for services.

        I've had times where I wasn't a taxpayer and received the benefits of taxes just by living in our society.  Other times, I received tremendous direct benefits (i.e. higher education grants) while paying a drizzle in taxes.  Now we pay considerable amounts in taxes but receive no direct benefits, but do receive the indirect  benefits (i.e. infrastructure, et al).

  •  Thank you for your post. (13+ / 0-)

    My Dad was lucky to retire and still live a long and good life until he was 82. He worked swing shift in a hot and duty environment.  He died because of mesothelomia (sp?)and I will always be angry with Johns Manville for their greed and arrogance in hiding the truth of his working conditions.
     And my Mom is lucky to have retired from RCA.  Her work was not physically demanding.    
           She still speaks with afffection about her workplace.
    My husband and I will not be able to retire.  But I would not wish to delay anyone else's well deserved retirement.

  •  Do it. (15+ / 0-)

    What's wrong with eliminating the SS cap on wages altogether?  I get the urge to do some face punching when I hear people complain about "fairness" on behalf of millionaires.  They can kiss the middle of my ass.

    Obama to GOP in MN - "im in ur base killin ur d00dz!"

    by Eric Almighty on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:03:35 AM PDT

    •  Because it is not supposed to be a handout (0+ / 0-)

      Look at how many people are arguing in here until they are blue in the face that SS is not a handout, you get paid what you put in.

      If you eliminate the cap, they people will no longer get back what they put in.  

      Again, I am not arguing that this is wrong, but if we are going to do it, let us just be more honest with ourselves and call SS what it would be.

      I realize that politicians love to lie and give things wonderful eupemisms, but I think people would respect government more if we were more honest about what we were doing.

      Stagflation, here we come

      by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:29:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Handout? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Canadian Reader

        I'd prefer to defining it as the overly comfortable giving back to a citizenry from whom they've taken so much.
        Unless you're single-handedly curing cancer while saving babies and puppies from ninja sharks on fire, you can't "earn" the type of money that's flowing to the richest Americans these days.

        Obama to GOP in MN - "im in ur base killin ur d00dz!"

        by Eric Almighty on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:40:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Honestly Hadn't Considered This Aspect (18+ / 0-)

    I have been a supporter of raising the age at which Social Security can be collected, thinking that it provided a simple and equitable way to significantly reduce the long-term gap between funds raised and benefits allocated.

    As a progressive, I'm a bit disappointed in myself for failing to consider this issue from a different perspective.  It's easy for me to sit in my air-conditioned office in a white-collar job (yup, I'm one of those peeps) and endorse raising the age limit for collecting Social Security benefits.

    The equation, however, is totally different when you've toiled away in hazardous and physically exhausting occupations all of your life.  Thanks, Miss Laura.  This is why I come to Daily Kos...

    •  Not to criticize you personally but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, JG in MD

      That's why the "sushi-eating, volvo-driving..." tag is so effective. It's an exaggeration, sure, but not totally off the mark. The Democratic Party is no longer predominantly the party of the downtrodden blue-collar worker. They are as much or more the party of the downtrodden white-collar worker. It's been this way for decades now, but the old FDR Democrats and older boomers who have been running the Party have failed to adapt.

      •  No Offense Taken (4+ / 0-)

        I don't like Sushi, hate fancy cars, and like me coffee straight (no lattes, please), but I get your point.

        I will say, however, that I'm not so much a "downtrodden white-collar worker" as am I concerned about making it easier for those who are less fortunate.  

        I stopped paying Social Security taxes this month because I hit the cap.  So now I'm going to get an extra $1,000 (approximately) every month after taxes.  

        I'm not going to lie and say I don't need this money.  I'm in a ton of debt from undergrad and graduate school and just had a kid.  That being said, I own a place and I'm not worried about feeding my family or surviving.  

        It's silly that someone like me isn't taxed throughout the year for Social Security.

  •  After all the horrible (0+ / 0-)

    things he went through, I think it's safe to add another 10 years to his life.

  •  At 30 I carried a mail bag on a postal route... (16+ / 0-)

    and it kicked the crap out of me every day. I had to immobilize myself for about an hour after work.

    Imagine doing it at 67.

    People who never were required to lift something heavy as a job requirement have no business determining what retirement age should be.

    :::::

  •  Wealthy who balk at SS increase are un-American (16+ / 0-)

    We have a moral and legal obligation to pay taxes. Taxes which go to our national defense; funding schools and hospitals; rebuilding our nation's highways and bridges; and a myriad of worthwhile programs like Head Start, SCHIP, MediCare and MedicAid.

    For someone who makes more than $200K a year to balk at paying a fair proportion of their SS taxes, simply wants to maintain a regressive tax that is disproportionally financed on the backs of the working poor and middle class is unconscionable.

    Income is income. There is no reason why SS earnings are capped at around $102K which means Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other billionaires only liable for taxes out of the first $102K. Therefore, anyone who makes around $100K a year (yours truly) is taxed at 100% of their income for SS, while a billionaire is only taxed on about 1% of their income.

    Funny how the super wealthy cry poverty when they get the biggest taxbreaks and the greatest largesse of corporate welfare. Ain't that America...

  •  you hit the nail on the head (11+ / 0-)

    I'm a broken down 67, at least in my mind, but in reality I'm not disabled just a bunch of worn out joints. I grew up doing hard manual labor until it became impossible then switched to a more white collar work. There is absolutly no way I could do physical labor today. Hard working people are about worn out by sixty and need early retirement instead of later.

  •  Not much alternative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD, iRobert

    As a previous poster mentioned, the original 65 year old retirement age was chosen as one beyond which most people couldn't work, and in fact beyond which not many people would live.

    With life expectancies so much greater now, there's just no way to afford covering 10 or 20 year long non-working retirements for everyone.  That's especially true for the boomer generation given how large the retiree : worker ratio will be.  

    Sure, it'd be great if people could all enjoy 20 years of retirement, but how the heck do you pay for that?  Is it really a higher priority than more money for schools or childrens' health care?  

  •  I'm an electrician.... (6+ / 0-)

    ...here's an idea. How about full retirement for blue collar workers at 62 and delayed full retirement for white collar workers at 68? I think that sounds fair to me. I had hoped to retire at age 58 but our pension has suffered these past seven years to the point where early retirement is not financially possible. It would be helpful if medicare was avaiable at at age 62, health insurance premiums are one thing that keeps early retirement out of reach for many hard working Americans.

    •  Am I white or blue collar? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, fizziks, JG in MD

      This is a nice idea on the surface, but which am I? I began working at twelve and it was field labor for the next eight years, then I was white collar, then back to physical stuff this spring. And what of those who start out in the rank and file and move into management jobs?

      Each according to his needs would be best, eh?

    •  no way (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Canadian Reader, JG in MD

      This will never work.  I will offer up my job as an example:  I am a researcher in physics (might be a professor someday).  That is pretty much the ultimate in "White Collar"... but I spent all day yesterday (8am-8pm) moving heavy equipment.  I've spent entire months where I've had to wear a hard hat and safety shoes every day while assembling something.  A given week will also include a share of brazing, soldering, and possibly some light machining.  But there is also plenty of time sitting in front of a computer or paper typing or thinking.

      Another example:  What about someone who started out as a machinist but then went on to manage the machine shop.  That person would be classified as "Blue Collar" but all they do is push papers all day.  It would be unfair if they got to retire early.

      Your system is ripe for abuse and unfairness.

      It turns out that Bush IS a uniter... he united the good half of the country virulently against him.

      by fizziks on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:22:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

      Why should I have to work longer than you?   White collar jobs might not have all the physical elements, but I bet they have a lot more stress.   Most doctors state that Stress is one of the leading causes of heart disease.

      I would argue that White collar workers should get to retire at 60 and Blue Collar should work until 63.  Doesnt that sound fair?

      Stagflation, here we come

      by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:26:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm "lucky" with a job, but they will MAKE ME GO (10+ / 0-)

    at age 62.

    They also believe in switching you around every few years, so that other people have a chance to work at your job.  Meaning, you have to start all over, in a new area, not knowing anything about your "new" job, with all the stress that that entails, as you grow older and older.

    All the while, with the "age 62" thing looming ahead of you .... with pay that just about makes the bills. No money left for vacation, clothes, etc.
    (Still wearing my stuff from the 80s.)

    The stress is unbelieveable.
    And I KNOW for SURE that I'll have to continue to work fulltime, starting at age 62 -

    Geez, it seems like my whole life I've been working late late late, just to catch up, with overtime being phased out, even as a concept.

    HELP!!

    Coast-to-Coast Pizza-Arugula-Keilbasa Run for Obama! - *Here* - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/5/155525/0947

    by Blue Waters Run Deep on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:10:33 AM PDT

  •  It's another example of the fantasy (17+ / 0-)

    life led by so many of our "wise" commentators.
    My college-student daughter worked as a waitress at a very busy deli last summer.  She liked the job a great deal and loved her coworkers.  But even this is  a friendly place and many of the customers are regulars who knew all the waitresses and tip them  well, it was still grueling work -- on your feet for 8 hours, carrying heavy trays back all over, and dealing with constantly being hit on by the manager.  (old enough not only to be her father, but the guy's son went to high school with my daughter!).  This is not to make you sorry for my daughter -- she has it good and she knows it.  What she came home with were the stories about the other workers there who can't leave at the end of the summer.  Many of the waitresses are single mothers, and after 8 hours of hard physical labor go home to take care of their kids.  They do okay in terms of the money because the tips are good, but no health insurance, no sick leave.  And my daughter could tell off the manager who was sexually harassing her, but a regular waitress who wants to keep her job so she can support her children doesn't have that luxury.
    So what does an extra year of work mean for someone like that?  Quite a different scenario than a year is to one of the elite political observers sitting in their nice office, or to me for that matter, sitting in my nice home office writing this comment.
    Our income is above the cap, and my husband and I are more than willing to have the cap raised and pay higher social security taxes.  We can afford it and so can anyone else making the income we do (we live in a high cost area, have a daughter in college and a younger daughter still in elementary school -- so I have no sympathy for people who make as much as we do and say they can't afford it!).  

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:11:31 AM PDT

  •  lack of care wrecking my health (8+ / 0-)

    I've been wrestling with something for the last year that has gone undiagnosed until this week. I had junk insurance until last December, was on Iowa's Medicaid (total crap), and now I'm finally getting some satisfaction in Massachusetts. I can't believe with all the press about it I've had to wait nearly a year for someone to diagnose Lyme disease. Not confirmed yet, mind you, but all the autoimmune markers came up negative and the very touchy initial Lyme test was positive, so I've got my fingers crossed that antibiotics are going to put me back to right.

  •  Fair is fair if it benefits the wealthy (12+ / 0-)

    fairest?

    and says he would oppose raising the Social Security retirement age (which if phased in over a long enough period would be the fairest, most sensible way to ease some of the system's long-run funding challenges).

    How is this fairer than eliminating the cap on wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax? How fair is it that I pay Social Security tax on 100% of my income (while they keep moving the goalposts) but someone who makes $200,000 a year pays SS taxes on less than 50% of their income?

    "It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him"...John Barth

    by Giles Goat Boy on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:13:46 AM PDT

    •  Glad I read down to this. (11+ / 0-)

      Exactly what I was going to say.  It's only the "fairest, most sensible" thing to do if you don't want tax the rich.  

      This is the stupidest, most "elite" argument that gets deployed, and it's a complete canard.  Utter rubbish.  The "fairest, most sensible" thing to do is to make all payroll wages subject to SS tax (if not actually skewing them toward the higher end--just like the graduated income tax).

      (I actually wrote a pretty good piece on this based around the marginal value of money, if anyone cares to read and doesn't hate me for pimping: Soak the Poor! Down With the People!)

      •  Good Question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooch, JG in MD

        Don't have the answer, but I don't start with the assumption that it lies in special privileges for the rich.

        It depends on whether you measure "fair" in percentages or absolute dollars. Someone making $200,000 a year paying SS taxes on 50% of their income is, theoretically, paying exactly the same amount of SS taxes as someone making $100,000 a year who pays SS taxes on 100% of their income. That's fair in terms of absolute dollars, but not in terms of percentage. If both pay SS taxes on 50% or 100% or whatever of their income, then that's fair in terms of percentage, but not absolute dollars.

        I don't think one type of fair is inherently more fair than the other.

        •  I don't think "absolute dollars" is the way. (4+ / 0-)

          And I think you can tease out the fairness of percentage-based taxation by looking at the marginal value of money (that's what my post is about).

          The idea is that, yes, a dollar is a dollar.  But it isn't the same dollar to everyone.  Example:

          If you make 3 dollars a week, and I make 10 dollars a week, and bread costs a dollar and milk costs a dollar and taxes are a dollar for everyone,  at the end of the week, I have 7 dollars and you're broke.

          That last dollar for taxes is therefore far more valuable to you than it is to me.

          "Equal" is not the same thing, in this case, as "equivalent" or "fair."

          It's the very basis for having different tax brackets (by which I have no intention of implying that our tax system is currently fair).

          •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

            But just because it's not "the way" doesn't mean it's any less "fair."

            The idea is that, yes, a dollar is a dollar.  But it isn't the same dollar to everyone.

            Agreed, but the same is true of a percentage. If you are trying to raise a family on $40,000 a year, 7% out of your income is a lot "bigger" percentage than if you are trying to raise a family on $400,00 a year.

            The reason I'm considering (yes, still just considering) getting behind Obama is that it sounds like he is going to turn a deaf ear to the endless arguing about how my side's fair is really fair, and their side's fair is not really fair, and try to find some solutions. That would truly be a breath of fresh air.

            •  I guess I need to be more plain: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              opinionated

              Graduated percentages based on income would be more "fair" than a flat rate in either dollars or percentages.  I suspect you might agree.  Simplified example:

              You make: $0-$40k
              You pay: 0%

              You make: $40k-$50k
              You pay:  .25%

              You make: $50k-60k
              You pay:  .5%

              You make:  $60k-80k
              You pay: %1

              You make:  $80k-100k
              You pay: %1.75 (x1.75 increase)

              You make:  $100k-150k
              You pay: 3.15% (x1.8 increase)

              You make: $150k-200k
              You pay: %6.3 (x2 increase)

              You make: $200k and up
              You pay:  12%  (1.9% increase)

              I'm not trying to write accurate policy; I just wanted to draw it out far enough to show percentage jumps increasing then leveling off in a way that's possible given people's intolerance for big-sounding percentages.

              •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think either a flat tax or any kind of graduated tax is more fair than the other. I think the choices need to be made on considerations other than fairness.

                That said, I personally have no problems with your proposed graduation. I remember a time when the very upper reaches were subject to a "progessive" tax of 99% of their income. Is that fair? I don't know. But I think it's stupid, so whether it's fair or not is a moot point with me.

            •  But now you are chainging the rules (0+ / 0-)

              OK, Many people on here keep arguing that Social Security is not a benefit but something you paid into so you should get the money out.

              Well, if someone who makes $400,000 a year has to pay in 7% a year on that (plus the 7% that their employer pays) they should get that full 14%.

              If you are using that tax on the wealthier Americans to fund Social Security for all Americans, then you can no longer call it a retirement system, but you must refer to it as a social handout.

              I am not arguing that it would be wrong, I am just arguing that we have to be honest about what we want Social Security to be.  If it is true that it is supposed to be a system where you get out what you put in, then making the rich pay more is not going to solve any issues.  

              Stagflation, here we come

              by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:24:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Do you support progressive taxation. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Canadian Reader, rstnfld

          By that I mean the old way where people with more money paid higher taxes and people with less money had a lower tax rate, but overall the country collected the money it needed to operate the country.  (We even prospered as a country under that tax system.)  Do you still support that or not?

          We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

          by Silverbird on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:44:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I support... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Silverbird

            ...recognizing that there is no silver bullet, striving for moderation in all things, and trying to give due consideration to the other person's situation and point of view.

            Yes, I support progressive taxation, but not because I think it is inherently more "fair" than a flat tax.  I think both are "fair" and neither one, when strictly applied, is good for the country.

            •  Pretty much with you. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              opinionated

              The question of fairness is not mathematical, though we use mathematics to implement it.  The fairness or not of a given tax system ought to be judged on how well it delivers the highest good for the highest number without in the long run destroying the engine of the economy.

              This, of course, raises important questions about large economic theories.  I tend to think that the flat tax is forwarded in support of, essentially, trickle-down theories of economics.  I think this is so because it leaves a skewed percentage of wealth in the hands of those at the top end of the spectrum, while disproportionately burdening those toward the bottom.

              The reason I return to the "marginal" argument is because, while not linear, it more accurately represents the economic reality for those who have to think about their staples very carefully, as opposed to those who very carefully plan their summer vacations, and those who very carefully plan mergers and acquisitions.

              No, there is no silver bullet.  But there is very definitely more fair and less fair.

              •  Priorities (0+ / 0-)

                I certainly take "fair" for individual citizens into consideration, but that is not my first priority. My first priority is what is good for the country as a country (which is not at all the same as what is best, on average, for its individual citizens). That's my attitude toward government...it should do what's good for the country as a country. So I start with that and then try to adjust to eliminate gross unfairness, rather than starting with what's "fair' and then trying to eliminate what's grossly bad for the country.

                Of course, there are those who will argue that what's fair for the individual citizens is what's good for the country, but they won't win me over to that point of view.

                •  So, go into that a little more, if you would. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Silverbird

                  What is government for, if not to secure a better state of affairs for its citizenry?

                  What is a country, if not it's people?

                  I don't expect you answer these as written--just trying to provide some context.  "Highest good for highest number" is, to me, a means of saying that government deals wholesale, not retail.  As it should.  But I would distinguish the good of the people (as a whole) from the good of the country.

                  •  That is indeed the question (0+ / 0-)

                    What is government for, if not to secure a better state of affairs for its citizenry?

                    That is a fundamental question that almost no one wrestles with adequately before jumping miles ahead to take positions on various specific issues.

                    I believe that this country was not founded on the expecation (or even hope) that this is what this government would be for. I believe it was founded on the expectation that the government would provide an environment in which its citizens were free to be the masters of their own fates, and whether an individual citizen ended up in a "good" or "bad" state of affairs would be left entirely to the individual citizen.

                    What is a country, if not it's people?

                    A country is many things to many people...a set of laws, a government, a piece of real estate, its people.  I find the term so vague as to be almost useless.  It's why I don't consider myself a patriot...one who loves their country...because I have no idea what that means.

                    •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

                      This seems to imply a large roll-back of almost all government programs.  What would you keep?  What would you jettison?

                      •  :-) (0+ / 0-)

                        Sounds very libertarian, doesn't it?

                        Not so much a rollback, but a closer examination of how the program fits into the grand goal of our government (after you nail that down) and then adjusting the program accordingly...bigger, smaller, or just different.  I turn a deaf ear to arguments for bigger or smaller government. I want a better government. Give me a good one, I'm more than willing to pay for it. But first you have to decide what "good" is, and IMO that only has meaning within the framework of what it is you think our government is for.

                        •  Well, you're starting to get to my queries (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Calamity Jean

                          (Or maybe I should say we are.)

                          what it is you think our government is for

                          How can I deliver a good government to you unless you tell me what you think that is?  I'm not being sarcastic; I'm trying to run a lab:  what's a government for, and how can we judge it "good?"  You've given some vague terms about increasing and preserving individual freedom. But that's not saying much, really.  For example:

                          I believe it was founded on the expectation that the government would provide an environment in which its citizens were free to be the masters of their own fates, and whether an individual citizen ended up in a "good" or "bad" state of affairs would be left entirely to the individual citizen.

                          This is either highly laissez faire, to the point of libertarianism, or highly socialist, with the interest of giving everyone substantially the same starting gate to master their own fate from.  

                          Pretty quickly we get into the assumed (but by no means required) role of the US Gov't: preserving the health of capitalism.  Followed closely by the administrative reality of the corporation and its many rights and protections.  The layers of systemic props and balances quickly multiply.

                          One of the things I like to think the Democratic party (or, at the very least, a progressive movement) ought to stand for is the tenet that government exists to protect the weak from the strong and the powerless from the powerful.  But this begs the question (again): just what do you think this government is for?

                          •  Not sure what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't think it is for anything. Do you mean what do I think the Constitution says it is for?  This seems pretty clear:

                            to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

        •  Absolute fairness (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think one type of fair is inherently more fair than the other.

          I do. :)

          "It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him"...John Barth

          by Giles Goat Boy on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:59:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  pimping OK (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooch

        I read your article. Well done. I couldn't agree more.

        "It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him"...John Barth

        by Giles Goat Boy on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:57:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Give the People What They Want (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canadian Reader, wenchacha, dus7

    Just as one (humanist) person's "terrorist" is another (corporatist) person's "freedom fighter", one corporatist's "populist pander" is another (humanist) person's democracy.

    Any time some corporatist rag brands a programme a "populist pander", or even just uses "populist" as if it's something bad, the rag has got to explain how that programme is actually bad for the people, even in the long run. The arrogantly casual ease with which Time says "populist" as if the population is evil or stupid ought to be reserved for reporting on corporate welfare, which destroys the country. But which panders to Time, and the TimeWarner empire that routinely panders to the worst instincts of the people, all paid for by that corporate welfare.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:14:03 AM PDT

  •  I thought this was going to be yet another jab... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Pris from LA, Stranded Wind

    ...at McCain for being "old," which would appear to be our #1 argument against him, reading the front page lately.

    Thank you for actually being interested in the needs of "old" people instead!

    "Can I just ask a question? What is Fox News, it's just a Parade of Propaganda, isn't it? It's just a Festival of Ignorance." --Lee Camp, FOX News guest

    by twalling on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:14:58 AM PDT

  •  Having kids later in life (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicolemm, Stranded Wind

    goes a long way toward preventing a sedentary life in one's sixties. My kids will just be getting out of college at that point. Meanwhile many of my high school friends, few of whom I'm in touch with, are going through empty nest syndromes now in their mid-forties. Easy to sit back and enjoy the wine with a little more frequency once the birds have flown.

    Time to take my 3 miles around the park...

    •  also means you'll have to keep working (5+ / 0-)

      to pay those college bills and support them when they move back home after graduation because they can't find a job.

      What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is. ~ Dan Quayle

      by CParis on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:32:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My sister's two kids (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrblifil

      were out of the house when she and her husband were in their mid- to late-40s, and they're anything but sedentary. My sister retired from her full-time job and took a part-time job with a local city government that provided full health benefits for her and her husband (who's semi-retired but does occasional consulting work from home). They spend their spare time working on their new house, spending time with their grandkids, volunteering at a local winery (bottle labeling and working in the tasting room) where they get "paid" in wine, and weekend hikes with their friends. It's a question of attitude -- and of staying in touch with one another so that when the kids are gone you're not staring at a total stranger across the breakfast table.

      "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:42:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  same with my folks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrblifil

        all of us were done and paid for by their late 40s.  They continued to work until their 60s.  Now they volunteer, travel, visit grandkids and generally misbehave.

        What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is. ~ Dan Quayle

        by CParis on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:59:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh to be sure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CParis

        but it's gotta be a very conscious struggle to prevent gravity from taking hold. If I look about me, the anecdotal evidence, beginning with my own parents (who had me early) suggests that for most Americans entering that phase of life, such efforts are wanting.

        To your point about being strangers across the breakfast table, I was surprised to learn that most divorces occur after the first child has left the house, regardless of how many additional children their are in the family! My wife enjoy a creative collaboration in addition to collaborating on raising a family, so hopefully that will help us deal with each other later on. Plus she still laughs at my jokes, which either argues for our compatibility or against her mental acuity.

        •  I bet she'll keep you around for a while longer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrblifil

          We women will put up with alot (ear hair, favorite shirt that is 35 yrs old, etc) as long as you can keep us laughing.

          What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is. ~ Dan Quayle

          by CParis on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:20:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Difference between a Dem and Repub: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, esquimaux, 4Freedom, Calamity Jean

    This says it all for me:

    Taking years more out of someone's life, making them work until their bodies are too worn out to have any kind of enjoyable retirement -- this is more fair than making millionaires pay Social Security on the third, fourth, and fifth hundred thousand dollars they make each year?

    Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace ~~ Dalai Lama

    by happy in MA on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:18:08 AM PDT

  •  Breaking: Pundits say: "Real World out of touch." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, dus7

    Oh God to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.

  •  Thank you for this. (5+ / 0-)

    I get so irritated when I hear pundits blithely talk about raising the retirement age without regard to the people not working in comfy air-conditioned studios or who don't have excellent retirement plans, health insurance, and the like.

    My father-in-law retired at 62, the minimum age he could and he still only had a year and a half of retirement before he died.  He had worked since he was sixteen.

    Even my father, a social worker, who had always said he didn't think he would want to retire, is now counting the days until he can retire in January of 2010.  He has started to have health issues and realizes that he is tired.  Bone-deep tired, and it is the only thing that makes me wish I were wealthy: so I could finance his retirement now.  Unfortunately, he needs SS and his state pension to retire.  I couldn't imagine if he had to wait more years.

    We need to do better, not worse, at taking care of all our citizens.  SS is a lifeline to seniors, but it can also be the light at the end of the tunnel for people who have been working for years and years and are tired.  My husband and I aren't remotely close to retirement age, but we already have plans for what we want to do then.  We're lucky and have investments, but it won't be enough without SS, and I know I don't want to wait until I am seventy or seventy-two to enjoy a life without work.

    A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future. ~ Leonard Bernstein

    by michstjame on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:19:53 AM PDT

    •  My mother retired at 62 (8+ / 0-)

      but continued to work as a "casual" employee for several years, filling in for people who were on vacation or on extended leaves, keeping track so that she didn't work so many hours that she would have to pay taxes on the extra income. At one point, she mentioned to her doctor that she was feeling really tired and worn out. The doctor looked at her and said, "You're 70 years old -- I think you're entitled." She gave up the "casual" work shortly afterwards.

      Eventually, everyone needs a break -- and better to get that break when you can still enjoy it.

      "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:45:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget (9+ / 0-)

    Many workers are also retiring earlier because their government-supported corporations have decided it's cheaper to use foreign workers on visas or send the work offshore.

    Many of these same workers used to have federally guaranteed pension plans, until the corporations lobbied to get rid of them or significantly downsize them.  So they rely even more on social security.

    The idea that the government would sponsor worker replacement, the removal of promised pension benefits, and then hike up the SS retirement age just as masses of abused workers require it is ridiculous.  It's like pulling 3 rugs out from under someone all at the same time.

  •  if we had decent universal health care (5+ / 0-)

    this would also relieve the pressure for people who think they need to keep working just to maintain health insurance.

    But, if they want to keep working after 65, but in less taxing or part-time jobs, the whole worry about "will I still have health insurance?" would be a non-issue.

    The same for people with disabilities, who could go back to work without fear of losing social security health insurance benefits.

    We need to put a new frame around what work is in this country for everyone(not just 9-5, 40 hrs per week) and universal health care would help us do that.

    Our current policies ofter work AGAINST people who want to work.

  •  If I make it past 62 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, marina, JG in MD

    I'll have lived longer than any woman on my mother's side of the family. My sister died one month past her 50th birthday. My grandmother died at 62. My mother died at 36. 67 is a hundred years away for me.

    Counting down the days and hoping I'll make it.

    utahgirl

    "I aim to misbehave." - Malcolm Reynolds

    by nio on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:22:34 AM PDT

  •  Longevity and Solutions (0+ / 0-)

    While your basic premise is sound, it is still true that, no matter what your occupation, 60 is a lot less old now than it was 50 years ago. And it is likely to be even less less old in another 50 years. So how do we deal with that?

    I am not a fan of Social Security retirement benefits, for a number of reasons, but I would be less dissatisfied with the whole idear if my benefits were actually paid out of the monies that I paid into the plan. I see no reason why anyone else should support me in my old age. And I don't want younger taxpayers to keep shouldering a larger and larger burden as the longevity of our population continues to increase.

    •  Writers and reporters: cushy work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Look, the people who choose what kinds of stories make the Times and Post and Newsweek and the TV networks don't know hard physical work - mentally, sure, but does anyone have energy left after a 12-hour kitchen shift or a factory manufacturing job? How many roofers and carpenters go to the friggin' gym after building houses for 12 hours? These people may putter around in the garden, they may even be tip-top mountain bikers, but it's a whole lot different to have to drag your exhausted ass out of bed to go back to the kitchen that killing you, 12 hours at a time.

      There was an appalling ad for some cholesterol drug showing a happy waitress, talking about how her new dope and an "exercise program" helped her with her cholesterol - look, NObody who's been slinging trays for 12 hours is going to go home and exercise, and we're transitioning to a service economy. The TV ad writers all sit in their air-conditioned offices making this shit up - many, many of us have to WORK for a living - there are no old line cooks, just cripples. Enjoy your meal? Someone had to suffer for you....

      80-year-olds running marathons are rare genetic freaks, just as rare as Angelina Jolie's cheekbones or Kobe Bryant's height. You sound like you have had a very easy life.

      "The main enemy of the open society in no longer the communist but the capitalist threat."- George Soros

      by David Mason on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:04:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get into these arguments (0+ / 0-)

        You sound like you have had a very easy life.

        For one thing, most people's idea of an "easy" life is any life that is easier than theirs, and everyone's idea of a "hard" life is any life that is harder than theirs. Whether they think their own life is neutral, hard, or easy is determined more by their personality than their actual circumstances.

        Another is that the entire question is premised on the fantasy that everyone's life is always the same, year in and year out, allowing their entire life to be accurately described as either "easy" or "hard." To the extent this is true of any given person, I would say that this person has had no life, because any life at all lived is going to include ample amounts of both "easy" and "hard."

        I am not sure what your comments have to do with anything, except to the extent that it serves as a round-about admission that you have no solutions to offer when it comes to how the Social Security system might be adapted to accommodate the increasing longevity of our population.

        •  Part of the answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Free Spirit, JG in MD

          SS needs to be treated as part of a complex system.  You can't pick a bit of it and adjust it based on one rationale.

          The argument about getting out what you paid in vs. having current workers paying current SS benefits doesn't take into account enough of the system.  If the money was actually set aside and not spent on other government programs, the way benefits are calculated could be done on a whole different basis.

          I have to take exception at your basing the "easy/hard" jobs on a lifetime.  It's what you're doing at age 60 that counts.  You can work very physical jobs in your 20s, but be perfectly happy working into your 70s at a physically easy desk job.  It doesn't matter what you did in  your 20s..and vice versa.

          As for retirement age -  there's an entire list of factors that should carry some weight in that decision:

          Are there enough jobs available to support a workforce that ranges in age from 18-70?

          Does the fact that Americans live 10 years longer mean that they should spend all 10 of those working?  Does it mean an additional 10 years of healthy lifespan?  Or is it 2 more good years and 8 additional years of arthritis, fuzzy memory, etc.?

          At a time when many of the top business officials in the country are making record salaries and enjoying outstanding benefits, including pensions, is it fair to tell the average working person they have to manage somehow to work 10 more years?

          •  No major disagreement here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clues

            But as a point of clarification:

            I have to take exception at your basing the "easy/hard" jobs on a lifetime.

            And I have to take exception at your impolication that I based the "easy/hard" jobs on a lifetime. That was DM's framing, not mine. I was just responding to it as framed.

            That said, what you did when you were younger can have an impact on your ability to work even a desk job in your 70s. If you hurt your back when younger, it becomes harder to sit at a desk later in life. If you damaged your wrist, you may be more prone to carpal tunnel. If you worked in an environment that was hard on your eyes....etc.

          •  Life expectancy ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            "People live so much longer, it will place a huge burden on the system".

            Sort of true – the people who say the sky is falling point to figures that say that life expectancy in 1935 was 64 years or whatever, and now it’s 82...what they are citing is expected life expectancy at birth. In Roman times it’s often said that the life expectancy was about 23. They’d have you believe that no one made it past 30 in the old days – yet somehow we have much history written by and about old people. Plato was about 80. Seven of the twelve caesars were older then 50, 4 older than 70. Even then it was clear that the wealthy had better health care. Of course, Julius Caeser died earlier than normal when he ran into a bit of a problem with his senate, but that was back when they knew what it meant to be a Senator.

            But that’s misleading. Especially in the early days of the last century, infant mortality was much worse than today – so the number of young people dying skewed the life expectancy of the group. From the social security perspective, we really only care about how many people make it to age 65, and what their further life expectancy is from that point on. It turns out if you actually look at the actuarial data, that in 1935 someone 65 could expect to live until 71, and for the boomers (those who will cause the upcoming "bump’ it is 76 -  a five year difference, nothing like the 17 years the chicken-little people claim.

            And speaking of the boomers, let’s remember that boomers are a bump in the population curve, not a trend. America’s birthrate is dropping,  and once the boomer bulge passes, there will be fewer old people to support 60 years down the road...

            "red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme" - Richard Thompson

            by blindcynic on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 01:17:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

              But that’s misleading. Especially in the early days of the last century, infant mortality was much worse than today – so the number of young people dying skewed the life expectancy of the group. From the social security perspective, we really only care about how many people make it to age 65, and what their further life expectancy is from that point on. It turns out if you actually look at the actuarial data, that in 1935 someone 65 could expect to live until 71, and for the boomers (those who will cause the upcoming "bump’ it is 76 -  a five year difference, nothing like the 17 years the chicken-little people claim.

              I've been waiting for someone to say that!

              Renewable energy brings national security.

              by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:30:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The ceiling right now is 102,000 on SS. (5+ / 0-)

    If I was making say, 125,000 a year, I would be fucking thrilled to pay SS tax on every single penny of it.  If I am a business, and I can afford to pay someone $125,000 a year, I think I can pony up the extra 7.25 %.  Folks, taxes are necessary, and they are not evil.  

    This is our Senior Moment! McCain in '08.

    by dditt on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:23:22 AM PDT

  •  Another issue about raising the age (5+ / 0-)

    for social security: I can retire at 62 and get a smaller benefit for the rest of my life.  It just so happens that I can afford to do that and probably will.  But the people who are really hurt by the increased age requirement are those who need the full benefit -- and those, of course, are the people who are at the lower end of the pay scale.

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:23:36 AM PDT

  •  Ouch. I JUST TURNED 67, I'll have you know, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dus7, 4Freedom, JG in MD

    and you can call me "old," but after I jog and do push-ups this morning, I'm going to do a couple of hours of work on top of a tall ladder. I'm a semi-retired contractor and an old customer awaits.
    Need that gas money.

  •  Had we adopted 30 or 35 and out... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, Silverbird, dus7, JeffW, Calamity Jean

    The job market would be a lot brighter for new graduates.
    I started working at 15 and will have to work till 66 to get full Social Security. 51 years!
    And then they penalize people who continue to work even though they also continue to pay into the system.
    We don't have a Social Security funding problem, we have a general fund overspending problem.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:28:50 AM PDT

  •  Abso-freakin-lutely! (7+ / 0-)

    Moreover, where are the jobs for these people?

    I'm 51 and have been unemployed for over a year. I keep being told that "I wouldn't be happy at this entry-level salary" or "I'm much too experienced to stay at this position for long."

    Right. Ageism is alive and well, and not just in jokes about John McCain.

    The more they push back retirement age, the more misery they create.

    Who is going to hire all these people who can't retire?

    There are many of us stuck in a No Man's Land right now: too old to get a job and too young to retire.

    •  Yup! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      I never thought I'd be shelved so young!

      The small company I worked for (3 people) pioneered a program in the mid 1990s of which I am button-busting proud.

      But the company that has it now, since our business closed down, quit giving me consulting work on it because... well, they said I was too expensive but really I couldn't go fast enough, or manage the kludgy software they use or keep up with the brainbusting petty requirements that the 21st century had loaded onto it. Tossed out of my own program! (I don't blame them, except for a few things, but it hurt anyway)

      I've been in the workforce for 48 years. Is that long enough? Somebody say it is. Please.

  •  You make a very compelling case.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, JeffW

    I'm not in agreement (yet) but you make the best case I have heard so far.

    I happen to know several octogenarians I can not meet face to face with on the track (I'm 53) because of their speed and both can beat me at tennis. The experience they have in those extra 30 years makes me quake at the edge of my seat at times as I  listen to their stories and not for the plot but the multidimensional lessons and colorful telling...

    Sleep, especially for post-menopausal women, but also many older me I know, is not so important and may be, in fact, hard to find. My 88 yo m-i-l says sleep is like an old friend, when it visits she can't get enough of it but since that's rare she at least has the memories...energy seems to come from a new place, a place that revels in every day more...

    I think that you are probably right for the average person, but leaders at or near the presidency are not always average.

    Reagan's 2'nd term was imo poisoned by the onset of his Alzheimer's and that must be a lesson we learn from - we can't trust the family or administration to notify the public...somehow an independent medical exam needs to be emplaced...

    McCain simply demonstrates a lack of mental agility, poor stamina, and appears to be in poor health. The videos of his last Iraq visit showed an exhausted man needing help to walk and talk. In lieu of an independent medical review, I don't see how a voter can be willing to take a chance on another weak minded GOP president. Think of the turmoil of Reagan's last term.

    HR 676 is the best health reform proposal worth my vote.

    by kck on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:39:02 AM PDT

  •  Very well said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, 4Freedom

    I have thought about this discrepancy for a long time but you put it into words.  And the people who have the physically easiest jobs, like my lawyer colleagues, also have the easiest time saving up money for retirement and therefore the least need for Social Security.  So the effects of income inequality just get magnified.

  •  I worked for 30 years, back breaking schedules (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing

    ...and reveled in my later years as an IT exec. I always loved going to work and felt then that I could have worked forever.

    I retired suddenly, unplanned, at 48 to adopt 3 baby sisters from an emergency foster care placement.

    I have more energy now than I ever did, no sleep, still going strong after 5 years. They keep making me feel younger and younger. And I have to strategize and keep up tactical agility like never before!

    I absolutely could not have done what I'm doing at 20 - not mentally, physically, or emotionally.

    I say this to emphasize the varieties in people despite the very valid generalities.

    HR 676 is the best health reform proposal worth my vote.

    by kck on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:54:38 AM PDT

  •  67 is old. 71 is past time to retire for McCain (0+ / 0-)

  •  It's one of those conservative ideas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    The idea they have is that everyone has the same experiences that they have.  They think that if their Dad is doing great at 67, then everyone should be doing great at 67.  

    It never even crosses their minds to consider the possibility that not everyone's live is the same as their own.  

    "Treat them with humanity. Let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British army."

    by otto on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 08:56:21 AM PDT

  •  my retirement age is raised anyway (3+ / 0-)

    I can't afford to retire on SS alone and will not have enough stashed in anything by the time I'm 62, 67 or maybe ever. Too many years as a stay at home mom, then divorce and low paying jobs. Luckily I'm healthy like my 74 year old tennis playing dad.

    -7.75, -6.05 The point of the war in Iraq is that there IS a war in Iraq- Keith Olbermann

    by nicolemm on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:00:52 AM PDT

  •  Sitting here in my air-conditioned office, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, andydoubtless, JG in MD

    thanks for the reminder.

    I've been pretty well convinced that the retirement age needs to go up.

    I was just looking at how much longer people are living.

    Forgot about the quality of life.

    •  I learned about retirement ages on the farm. (8+ / 0-)

      I grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina.

      Many of the people my father hired to help us were retired African Americans looking to suppliment their social security and what meager retirement savings they had. Many of these men had worked hard their whole lives planting pine trees and cutting timber for the local paper company, but because the work had been uneven and for unfair reasons they had never been given the options for advancement they were having to work in their sixties and seventies.

      These were strong men. But gradually diabetes and heart disease killed them off, in some cases aggravated by all the work they had to do in their old age to get by, to afford to keep the lights on in their cinderblock houses, to put gas in their car, to eat.

      First, the days and hours they could work would drop off, then we wouldn't see them at all, and then eventually their widow would come to our door and ask for money to afford a burial. My parents would oblige.

      To this day I can't think about these proposals to raise the retirement age without thinking of those men, about the leathery toughness of their skin after all those years of work.

      Sitting here in my own air-conditioned office...

  •  "Sometimes, that's what the truth is, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, Silverbird, Calamity Jean, JG in MD

    the same old story." --Margaret Thatcher

    Please don't flame me for quoting she who is held around these parts to be a rightwing She-satan, which she is. On this matter, what she has to say is absolutely true. And moreover, think about how her defense of presenting the same ideas again and again makes her seem not antiquated or out-of-touch but formidable, principled, fearless.

    So that's exactly the kind of push-back we need. We've been trying to get universal health care in this country since Harry frickin' Truman, and there are still people dying because we don't have it, and more people will die if we allow pablum about our ideas being dated to go unquestioned without our noting that dated and can still mean right.

    So, yes. This is the same old story. The same old story that Roosevelt told and Truman told and Kennedy told and Johnson told, and wouldn't we be better off with any of them--ANY OF THEM--than the shit we have now?

  •  But McSame wants to lower our taxes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    A sane person might have thought that particular campaign sloganeering went out of fashion pre-cretacious.

    I was waiting for the "Newscasters" to compare today's flooding to Katrina.

    Got my wish.

    A - Holes with teleprompters never fail to fail spectacularly in epic proportions.

    Perhaps someday, we can get humanity right

    by SecondComing on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:05:21 AM PDT

  •  Again, loading it on the blue collar workers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, JG in MD

    to shelter the rich from tax increases. And you can bet they'll blame those taking out instead of those not putting in, or putting in less than they're able.

    The most stunning and eye-opening comment here, in my opinion, is this:

    Think about doing that in your 60s when the tasks you'll be called on to do at 4:30 AM are potentially hazardous.

    That just makes me shudder.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.--Thomas Jefferson

    by jazzyndn on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:11:05 AM PDT

  •  The Retirement Age Should be Restored (6+ / 0-)

    back to 65.  Raising it to 67 is a BENEFIT CUT.  Not only that but the government shifts the money that should have been paid out into the general budget whereby more than half of it is directed to the military.

    Also it forces retention of potential retiree into the labor market thus increasing the competition for jobs among younger workers.

    Also ALL Social Security benefits should be TAX FREE because the tax has already been paid.  Taxes on SS benefits was instituted during the Reagan years while the rich was seeing their taxes cut and the burdens shifted onto the working class.  It TIME TO ROLLBACK THE TAX CUTS TO THE RICH.  THEY FUCKED OVER THE WORKERS FOR 30 YEARS.  It's time to FIGHT BACK.

    •  INO all the talk of SS running low (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      is because the government does NOT want to PAY BACK those IOUs they left when they took out the SS money to keep taxes low for the wealthy.  They expect to be able to stiff us.  Remember, the money to pay for the Boomers' retirement is already IN THERE, all of us having paid in extra since the 1980s to fund the Boomers' retirement.

      The government intends to stiff us if they can.

      We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

      by Silverbird on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:16:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "IOU's" (0+ / 0-)

        is because the government does NOT want to PAY BACK those IOUs they left when they took out the SS money to keep taxes low for the wealthy

        The "IOU's" are Treasury Bills and they are backed by ALL OF US.  The Treasury Bills has value and they have been purchased by other nations and the rich.  So these "IOU's" have REAL value.  The canard is by labeling them "IOU's" gives the IMPRESSION that the T-Bills are "worthless".  THEY ARE NOT.

        The real issue is that the rich who run the government DOES NOT WANT TO REDEEM the bills to pay workers (via SS benefits).  They want to use that money for WARS, for corporations and for the rich.

        You are right the rich people who are running the government wants to stiff us.  WE the WORKERS need to take control of this government.

  •  It's not the Age - it's the Milage (4+ / 0-)

    30 years of nursing was plenty for me.  I was, fortunately, able to retire at age 52 with a bad knees, a bad back, "nurse's bladder" (caused by decades of postponing bathroom breaks because the patients always came first and there was always a patient that needed you), as well as the wear and tear that goes with a full career of hard physical work.  Waiting until 62 was impossible.

    I was able to retire so early because I was a civil servant - working in a prison which was a quarter of a mile long - often having to run the length of the building to respond to many emergency situations every day.  A pension as well as retirement savings enabled me to get out early.  Had I worked in the private, for-profit health care system, I would have needed to quit my job or been fired because it would have become increasingly impossible to keep up the expected pace of work.

    The idea that a nurse, roofer, construction worker, or factory worker - or anyone who does physical work or performs a standing job like a check out clerk or stocker - can work well into their 60s is a plan that could only be developed by people who work at a desk in an air-conditioned office.  It's not the real world and seems to come out of a Dickensonian view that the "little people" should not only be the only ones who pay taxes, but that we should work until we drop dead.

    Perhaps, that's the grand plan.  To force people to work and work until they quit (and give up their pension) because they can't take it anymore or fire them when they can't maintain the workload.  If not, the whole "work until you're 67" plan needs to go back for re-evaluation.  We may be living longer, but the miles do add up and we do suffer the effects of brutal, physical jobs.

  •  Interestingly.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    Some time ago I worked for a woman who made much much more money than I, and who never had to punch a time clock, never got docked for minutes, could take a leisurely lunch, and could go home when or if she wanted to or doodle in her office (close the door and bingo, privacy).  AND got oodles of paid sick and vacation time along with health benefits.
    She often said I worked harder than she ever had to.  It was true.  I worked very hard so she could shine in her field.  It was a work ethic.
    My point is, I don't get those benefits, preventive health care is almost non-existant, I have no time to re-coup because I am not paid if I don't work.
    In her 60's she'll be ready to golf and party, in my 60's, I will continue to work just to make ends meet.
    Having said that AND having paid into SS all my working life, I want SS at 62 or 65 so I could have a little something while I'm able to enjoy it.  

    PS I'll still have to work.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

    by Lilyvt on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:30:47 AM PDT

  •  Does that mean that things like Social Security (0+ / 0-)

    as we know it don't fit us any more?

    We were a lot less diverse -- in every sense of that word -- when some of our big programs started out.

    Heck -- Social Security was originally designed so that very few people would collect it.  Back in the 30s, 65 was pretty old.

    If that's the case, how does something as big and slow moving as government adjust itself to a population that's vibrant and changing constantly?

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:42:27 AM PDT

  •  Why would a windfall tax restrain (0+ / 0-)

    exploration? As it is, the oil companies have billions in assets they could invest in exploration if they thought it would benefit them. They aren't. They are making money hand over fist by constraining supply, rather than expanding it. So why change a winning formula? If $30B in cash isn't enough to explore, what makes the pundits think that another $5B one way or another will have magical results?

    How is it the free-market people never seem to be able to read the obvious facts on the ground about how the free market actually operates?

    And Exxon/Mobil selling most of their gas stations because they aren't profitable enough is gonna hurt as well. Right now, they can run break-even stations because of the profits on drilling. Other owners won't be able to, so kiss that $.02-$.04 gallon profit margin goodbye. The new owners will need to raise retail prices if the stations stay open at all - and I'll bet a lot of those lost stations will be out in rural communities where losing the station will be extra painful, but the traffic hasn't been high enough to cover pump replacement (many old pumps won't cover prices over $3.99) or to bring the mini-mart money in which is how most stations stay profitable now.

    -6.00, -7.03
    Obama '08

    by johnsonwax on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 09:56:51 AM PDT

  •  Forget 67. (9+ / 0-)

    The retirement age should be lowered to 47, not raised to 67.  Ya know why?  'Cause no one wants to hire workers in their 40s and 50s and 60s.  (Except for places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds.  But I look on those more as penance than employment...)  

    And our fine Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of age discrimination.  Part of that has to do with the cost of health care -- that again! -- for an aging employee pool.  Part of that is the sad fact that our current business models treat a seasoned, knowledgeable, experience employee as a liability -- that sort of thing has to be paid for, y'unnerstand, and businesses should only take money away from people.

    Retirement age is not an issue that exists in a vacuum.  I've yet to see a discussion or op-ed on this topic that recognizes that.

    "The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years." -- Paul Craig Roberts

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:00:33 AM PDT

    •  bravo, n/t (0+ / 0-)

      McCAIN.IS.NOT.AN.OPTION.

      by karma13612 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:04:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree (0+ / 0-)

      My poor FIL was let go and replaced by a young man when he was just 59.  He was a very successful international medical salesman. It was clearly age discrim. but he couldn't prove it to a court's standards.  He wanted/needed to keep working, but at his age could not find work with a single company in his field.  He ended up working in the produce section at a local grocery store, injured his shoulder lifting heavy produce boxes and had to have surgery and major rehab, causing him a tremendous amount of pain.  

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    I am especially sensitive about the whole age, and retirement thing myself.

    I'm unemployed right now, having been let go from a job last year when I turned 53.

    so, for over a year now, I haven't put anything into social security. It worries me because each day/week./month that I'm not putting anything away is reducing the amount I will get at retirement.

    And I worry that no one is hiring me because of the whole age thing, even tho it is totally illegal to discriminate against age.

    I do want to find a job that is a bit less stressful than what I was used to (end user computer support, over the phone). But, the entry level clerical jobs are going so fast in our area because there is such high unemployment.

    Hubbie and I are trying cottage business stuff, but we can't put anything away in savings. Just nuts.

    I've always said, I will most likely be living in a cardboard box when I'm 70. Damn repugs.

    McCAIN.IS.NOT.AN.OPTION.

    by karma13612 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:03:00 AM PDT

    •  It IS illegal, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, karma13612

      Age discrimination is illegal, but Big Bidness has 1001 excuses they can use to avoid hiring older workers. Their favorite is "overqualified", which translates to one or both of two things: "You're too old", or "we'd have to pay you more than we want".

      •  Why the heck (0+ / 0-)

        can't the two sides of the bargaining table be more open about wages?

        I am so sick of playing the cat and mouse game of when to ask what the wage is, or when the job postings say 'include salary requirements'. Or when you get to the interview, if you get one, and they talk all around the damn thing. And you KNOW you shouldn't ask the wage, or else they think you only care about the wage.

        And, with the price of gas, driving to an interview costs enuf that you really want to know before you go, otherwise it isn't worth your financial effort.

        So ridiculous.

        Tim Russert: One of the few Good Guys

        by karma13612 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:21:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That sounds like my husband (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karma13612

    My trucker husband is in his 60s and is worn out! He can't wait till he can retire. His is a physically grueling job with long hours.

    •  I hear ya! He (0+ / 0-)

      shouldn't still be out there driving. It's just wrong.

      My husband and I are of the belief also that as you get older, it is harder to enjoy travel. So, we have taken time here and there and traveled a bit.

      Since neither of us had jobs this past winter, we wintered in Texas in a rented cabin. Didn't cost us anymore than if we had stayed in Northern New York and spent the money on oil and propane to keep warm.

      But, it's a toss up, because we haven't got money flowing in at the moment.

      May good karma follow your husband and you....

      McCAIN.IS.NOT.AN.OPTION.

      by karma13612 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:10:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MSM™: so wrong it burns. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, cacamp, Calamity Jean

    The Social Security retirement age versus income cap is one of those topics that absolutely makes me want to scream.

    You have a bunch of very rich white guy pundits sitting in front of computers in air conditioned offices, arguing that raising the income subject to Social Security withholding—which would make a very regressive tax at least a bit less regressive—is somehow immoral or "false populism". At the same time these pampered white collar "knowledge workers" seriously make the claim that raising the retirement age from the currently planned 67 years to something like—what, 70? 72?—is fair and appropriate?
    On what fucking planet?

    I take care of hundreds of blue collar and construction workers, and let me tell you, these guys are worn out at 57, let alone 67. I can state without risk of contradiction that no one should be standing on an 8 foot ladder or a pair of stilts hanging sheet-rock on a ceiling while swinging a 12 pound power hammer at age 70. It's insane. It would be more realistic to just start talking about euthanasia as the new Social Security. At least that would be an honest discussion.

  •  Simply brilliant post, MsLaura. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

    by Heiuan on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

  •  This ignores a major point... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    that the wealthy pay a far lesser percentage of income into social security, just as they pay a lesser percentage of income in federal income taxes (after all of the tax loopholes and offshore accounts are considered).  Then, the early retirees received payments far beyond what they actually paid into the system. It's just plain unfair to continue imposing a cap on payment in, when there's no cap on payments out. We can't put a cap on payments out, either, without undermining the goal of ensuring that our elderly don't end up living under bridges (although I'm doubtful Republican Party leaders would care except on election day).

  •  Social Security's Finances Are Sound (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, Calamity Jean

    It is maddening to have to reiterate the basic facts about Social Security so often, but apparently it needs doing.

    If the US economy (RGDP)grows near its historic average for the past 75 years of 3% for the next 40 years, Social Security is able to pay 100% benefits for all retirees.  That is there are no "long-run funding challenges."  

    Anyone arguing there is a "long term funding problem" should be made to state clearly: 1) What that long term funding problem is, i.e., how it arises or 2) Why they are intentionally misleading people on the status of Social Security's finances.

    This applies to Sen. Obama and his economic advisor Dr. Goolsbee.

    •  But only if retirement stays at 67 (or older) (0+ / 0-)

      And that is exactly what others on this post are arguing.  Social Security is not sound if we all try to retire at 62.

      Stagflation, here we come

      by smoosh21 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:14:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure it is. (0+ / 0-)

        Social Security benefits are reduced if a person retires earlier.  The net effect is that regardless of what age people retire at, on average the total paid out over their remaining lives is the same.

        There is also the consideration that some people don't want to retire, and given the opportunity will continue to work.

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:48:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm willing to sound like an a**hole for saying.. (0+ / 0-)

    this, BUT

    Some people choose jobs that will tax their bodies, some people choose jobs that will tax their minds.

    It seems to me that we all have  choice in this matter.

    My brother-in-laws are an electrician, a foreman for a flooring company and a machinist.

    I am a computer engineer.

    We all chose our occupations.  Mine is less taxing on my body, but requires much more education.  Theirs, just the opposite.

    I am also the only one of the group that served his nation in uniform.

    I made myself.  My parents did not pay for my college education, and I have the student loans to prove it.

    We are compensated for our efforts.

    I do not feel guilty towards them for the fact that I may have less physical ails when I am in my late 60's.  We all CHOSE our occupations.

    global warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools...

    by proudVet on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:41:35 AM PDT

    •  Well I CHOSE to be a lawyer (0+ / 0-)

      and make lots of money while hardly wearing out my shoes.

      Only life has a habit of sneering at your choices sometimes.

      For a while in my youth, I worked 3 jobs and slept 4 hours per night.  Luckily, after about 10 years of that I got a break and worked myself into something better, but if I hadn't and was approaching 60, I'd be nearly dead by now.

      It's really nice that you're a bootstrapper, but if you fail to see all the people trying just as hard as you, right alongside you, who are NOT making it and have to fall back to something they didn't CHOOSE, then you need to open your eyes.

      I'll tell you one thing, in today's environment, it would be MUCH harder for someone to be able to do what I did.  I don't envy the 20-somethings trying to make it today on sheer guts and determination...the opportunities just aren't there.

    •  Elitist (0+ / 0-)

      crap like that is Republican spew.  Many people do not "choose" their careers.  They might not have the gifts for white collar education requirements.  They might not have been able to afford college ( and may not have been brave enough to risk death in the military to get the money - I know I would not).  Some went to the truly wretched schools that exist in too many areas of our country and graduated without the skills or encouragement to make something bigger of themselves.  AND the elites of this world seem to believe that their toilets install themselves and and their waste gets treated in sewage plants by little fairies who never have needs.  Seriously, someone has to do these jobs and they are waaaaay harder than the white collar stuff you or I do.  And that should be accounted for as people near the end of life.

      •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

        AND the elites of this world seem to believe that their toilets install themselves and and their waste gets treated in sewage plants by little fairies who never have needs.  Seriously, someone has to do these jobs and they are waaaaay harder than the white collar stuff you or I do.  And that should be accounted for as people near the end of life.

        Bears repeating!

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:51:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This really isn't true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      You're assuming that everyone can choose whatever occupation they want. This is one of those things that's true (assuming true equality of opportunity) for any single individual, but isn't true collectively. The fact is that the number of people who can become computer engineers as a result of choosing to be computer engineers is limited by the number of computer engineers that the economy needs. Increasing the number of people who are qualified to be computer engineers and want to be computer engineers isn't going to increase the demand for computer engineers.

      Furthermore, most if not all of the physically demanding or otherwise stressful jobs out there are jobs that need to be done by somebody. They serve needs that won't be served by magic if the entire population opts out of them. It doesn't matter if the whole population is qualified for "something better"; somebody still has to fill those jobs.

      I do like conducting hearings in an actual hearing room -- John Conyers

      by ebohlman on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:24:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please send this to Time! (0+ / 0-)

    Great post, MissLaura. Please also send some version of it (cut to fit their max word count) as an LTE to Time, so that people who don't read dKos but have been exposed to the clueless young puke will see another side.

    "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

    by dumpster on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:49:23 AM PDT

  •  All Obama has to do is ask (0+ / 0-)

    How are things in your neighborhood??

    Cities underwater, jobs closing, hospitals closing. If Dems find a way to lose this election. I don't know what to do.

    Knowing the powers that DC oops be they will try

  •  I used to work for a Social Security law firm (0+ / 0-)

    And we spent a lot of time getting people aged 63+ Disability benefits. Generally, someone who has a blue collar job can get disability benefits at that age fairly easily. (the disability regulations are much looser for people above 60). So there is a systematic way to address this issue. Its not great, and  its expensive - it costs the government a minimum of $1,000 to get someone on Disability - but its there. The problem is people don't know about it.

    But I'll tell, you everytime I handled a case for someone older, I had the same thought you did. We live in a system designed around the needs of the upper middle class.

    •  People in my city are waiting 2 1/2 years (0+ / 0-)

      for disability benefits, two of three cases are denied, and. upon appealing after two denials, two of three appeals are denied.  Altogether it is taking about 5+ years and just today in the paper was an article about the people dying waiting for SS disability.  We suspect the SS office is counting on that outcome to reduce expenses.

      We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

      by Silverbird on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 01:34:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

        ...people dying waiting for SS disability.  We suspect the SS office is counting on that outcome to reduce expenses.

        If someone dies while a Social Security claim or appeal is pending, the heirs can continue to pursue it.  If they win, Social Security has to pay to the next of kin all the money that the disabled person didn't collect.  Doesn't really save much money in the long run.

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:58:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (0+ / 0-)

    My brother works on traffic signal lighting.  He does everything from digging the holes for the poles to climbing into bucket trucks, working in good weather and bad with deadly electricity. He is just about 40 and his back is shot.  He is in pain almost all the time.  He has only had health insurance for about five years ( since he became a supervisor of one of the crews).  He has been begging to get into the office for a few years now because he can see that he can't keep doing the physical labor every day for too many more years.  Social justice used to be a Christian and Conservative ideal, but now greed is the new right wing's Great Commission.

  •  McInsane (0+ / 0-)

    Thinks everyone should go on his retirement plan. Marry a sugarmama so you won't have to worry about the future...

  •  Working at 60+ was normal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nanobubble

    for the vast majority when social security was created.

    "Working from midnight to 8 AM is one thing in your 20s or 30s. Think about doing that in your 60s. Think about doing that in your 60s when the tasks you'll be called on to do at 4:30 AM are potentially hazardous."

    My grandfather was a union man, and occasionally that meant helping to unload trucks in his 60s.  

    Social Security's age limit was not tied to the retirement age, it was tied to average life expectancy, which was 65 at the time.  It was expected that most would die before becoming eligible, and thus create a positive income balance that would pay for those that lived long enough.  

    I agree with the author on raising the tax limit, but don't agree with the idea that it should be done because life is tough when you get old.

    Also increasing taxes on the rich won't be enough.  Payroll taxes will still only apply to rich people who earn working income, CEO salary for instance, but doesn't apply to capital gains were most of their income in generated.  

    If you want to keep social security, you'll need to do both.  Personally I'd rather scrap the system and replace it with Australia's superannuation system,  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

     

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