Mondays always remind me of retirement, but even more so since President Obama’s bipartisan committee suggested raising the retirement age to 69 in 2075. This is just one proposal to help reduce and eliminate the trillion dollar deficit the United States has accrued. What does that mean for us lunch breakers? Well, since we don’t get paid for having lunch, really nothing and we will probably continue to have lunch long after 62, 65, 67, or 69. But it does change the retirement age for any 4 year old reading, and to help bring some understanding to this small, but loyal contingent, I thought it might be time to start considering what retirement means and why you shouldn’t go sell your Star Wars toys on EBAY, at least not yet.
The recent lambasting of raising the retirement and harming the sacred right of Social Security benefits for Americans seemed overly cantankerous. With recent 10% unemployment and rising healthcare cost, the war in Afghanistan costing us billions, and increasing gasoline prices (they want to add 15 cents per gallon as another part of the plan), getting an average check just around $300 a week, totaling around $14,000 a year, seems to be a minor issue when most are trying to survive in the first two-thirds of life. They are only lifting it two years and they did the same to anyone born after 1965 too by raising the retirment age to 67 a few years back.
The recent AP article Raising the Retirement Age Could Hurt the Poor shows how this could be detrimental to the most vulnerable. It contends that more workers will use disability insurance since many low income jobs are labor intensive and break down the body quicker than the will to work. It also contends that the difficulty of finding a job after 50 would create a new welfare state. The ideas are sound and the article does display the American political scheme to fund a system on the backs of the elderly instead of the tax base.
The press aren't the only ones complaining. Recently Warren Buffet has proposed the need to increase taxes on the rich to help fund some of the inequities in American society. In The Billionaires Want More, Representative Bernie Sanders writes of the frustration as the wealthy continue to abuse the majority of Americans by their greed. Whether it is social security, disability, or welfare, retirement seems to mean getting money from government. But if the only other money out there has a billionaire’s name on it, it sounds better than dragging a 70 year body around an eight hour shift cleaning dishes at IHOP.
Even a bipartisan committee appointed by a Democratic president is blaming the deficits on the working class. Their plan is to balance a fictional budget on the backs and bodies of the elderly, who are ironically only four and younger right now. I guess that is the breaks for being poor and in the bottom 78% economically.
So we knew Social Security was probably not going to help bridge the gap between the golden time of retirement and the drudgery of our working days. And we now know that those golden days seem to lack potential with so little money. Unfortunately we will probably have to use up our savings into our late 50s and most of our 60s just to survive, but what else should we do? It looks like a pretty Dickensonian future for getting old in America.
The price of retiring in America appears to cost a lot more than when the Depression came and FDR wanted a program to help seniors survive. In fact, it seems daunting. The bottom line, as the decrepit Buffet epitomizes, is that we won’t retire. I think I will use a line from another lunchbreaker Mike Thurmond, and simply say “Stop drinking the Kool-aid.”
We will have to work all our lives and then die. We will go right from a Friday happy hour with a martini to a nursing home with a morphine cocktail. The good part is that now retirement is actually happening when we are young enough to enjoy it: being unemployed and getting benefits that clearly surpass the $1200 a month SSI check.
Take a friendly reminder. If you are not doing something you plan on doing or can do until you are dead, quit it now. You neet to get out there and find something long term and hope for the best. This commission has freed us from the idea of retirement, at least any type of retirement that will be content. And in doing so, they have initiated a new discussion: How are you going to spend your life now?
So go on four year olds with your dreams. They may happen but just don’t dream of retirement. That American Dream is dead. And I say good riddance because it will be pretty sad when retirement gets older than the average American at the time of his death.