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Ellen Goodman on a different Social Security approach

Pause, reflect before engaging in leisure-class warfare
(Chronicle login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

>> Ellen Goodman worries about stealth efforts to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age. Why target the elderly and not the rich?

Today, 38 percent of those who retire early were forcibly retired by illness or downsizing. It's harder and takes longer to get another job after 55. Early retirement can be just another word for unemployment.<<

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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Is this woman for real?

In reply to: Ellen Goodman on a different Social Security approach

A recent survey done by Civic Ventures says that baby boomers want to continue working at jobs that do "good work." But when a huge proportion of the working population takes a reduced benefit to get out of work earlier, we can assume that they are leaving jobs they don't like. Or jobs where they aren't valued.

Makes baby boomers sound like just plain babies!

Why target anyone Ms. Goodman? By what principle, moral or otherwise, do you propose confiscating the lifesavings/wealth of the rich to give to the "poor" or confiscate more of the money one might save for one's own retirement?

She doesn't realize it, but in her contortions to paint people engaging in "leisure class warfare" she has indeed portrayed a large portion of early retirees as EXACTLY that. Leaving jobs they don't like? Tough tooties.

Evie Happy
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Maybe because much of the "surplus"

In reply to: Is this woman for real?

Bush used to give tax breaks to the rich originally came from the "Social Security Surplus," Evie?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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(NT) (NT) No Social Security Surplus....Existed

In reply to: Maybe because much of the "surplus"

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I think changing the age

In reply to: Ellen Goodman on a different Social Security approach

might be more in line with how things were when they first started SS. Life expentancies were lower, then. BTW, Ive also heard that older people will be more likely to retire later rather than sooner. My wife and I will certainly keep working. Weve talked about it, and we are only in our lower fifties.

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Unless we have kids ...

In reply to: I think changing the age

... my husband and I are planning on retiring early. But we won't be expecting to collect Social Security to fund that retirement.

I don't see anything discussed about changing IRS rules about withdrawing from personal retirement accounts like IRA's (59-1/2 and if one can't work there are disability exceptions for withdrawing even earlier) and 55 for many 401K's. Then, of course, there are NO restrictions on our being able to use investments of after-tax income to live off of until retirement kicks in. Frankly if they reduced the age for withdrawal without penalty for those that want to retire early, more would do it, AND considering that most of that money was put in pre-tax, tax revenues from this stream could be used to bolster SS without "targeting" anyone in particular.

Goodman seems to be implying that more people ARE retiring early as it stands. I believe this is true but can't put my finger on the editorial I read on this a while back. Basic gist was that under the current system, the reduction in benefits for retiring at 62 vs. 65 is so minimal for a large chunk of retirees there is no incentive to work the additional three years. Every year a prospective retiree works is a double whammy -- one more year paying in, one less year drawing out. So one solution IS to encourage people to work longer (if and when they can).

Raising the retirement age has been on the table for ages and Goodman acts as if this is some scare tactic new idea targeting her generation. The demographics won't go away Ms. Baby Boomer, and every Commission ever commissioned to look into SS (Clinton had one too, remember?) has looked at raising the retirement age.

Evie Happy

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I had heard this on TV -- found an article

In reply to: Unless we have kids ...

This article sounds like what I was hearing on television. My wife and I reflect that. We would be doing it both for economic reasons and because we want to have something to do.
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Understandable ...

In reply to: I had heard this on TV -- found an article

...

My FIL had prostate cancer surgery then bypass surgery (or the other way around, can't remember) during the last couple of years of his lengthy employment. Between short term disability, saved up sick time and vacation time, I think he only worked 6 months out of his last 3 years before retiring.

In the past several years he has been secure enough financially to stay busy redoing his entire house ... now he's expanding cuz he ran out of stuff to improve Wink

I teach part time and like it that way. I have no obligations outside the teaching. I literally teach a maximum of 15 hours a week (which is a full load for most professors but with no requirements for being on campus doing other stuff for the rest of the time) for 30 weeks out of the year. I have a month off at Christmas time, and I can teach in the summer or not. Usually I teach for one 6-week semester in the summer meaning I generally have at least a month off at one end of the summer, and a week or two off at the other. I'm not complaining Wink Even after I ''retire'', I'll probably take on a class or two here and there. I enjoy teaching and contact with students keeps you young. Hubby would be the one to more officially retire as he works a ''real job'' for a company. At that time we'll probably not become couch potatoes but manage some rental properties or start some kind of business for him to run that won't tie us down too much. In between we do plan to travel a LOT while we are still young enough to enjoy it. If things go as planned, finances should not be a problem. Yes, I know I'm lucky in that way too, but it is also a lot of planning and saving.

Evie Happy

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We made our share of stupid mistakes

In reply to: Understandable ...

When we were younger, from which we havent recovered. But we are taking steps to remedy that insofar as we are able. Your position is an enviable one. Happy My wife told me of a lady who worked at a college, either in this town or an adjacent one, who worked as a librarian until she was 90 years old! I doubt we'll last that long, but I think thats amazing.

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There was a prof ...

In reply to: We made our share of stupid mistakes

... at my Dad's college that taught up until a month before his death at age 89. Dad has been "retiring" for several years now. I think Mom is finally getting him to really do it. College profs never really retire unless they want to. He'll probably follow in that other prof's footsteps. There's a salesguy that comes by the house every now and then to pick up donations of textbooks from my dad. This guy does like an hour of jumping on a minitramp every day and looks about 60. He's in his 80's and not only does he work but as a "traveling salesman" of sorts.

Evie Happy

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I can agree with life expectancy angle

In reply to: I think changing the age

might be more in line with how things were when they first started SS. Life expentancies were lower, then.

Of course, there is the point that many as they live older than they would have 30 years ago can not physically do the work they've done most of their life.

For blue collar factor workers, jobs often involve plenty of stooping, lifting, kneeling, climbing, and more physical exertions. As we age, knees, hips, back disc problems, etc, make such work more and more difficult.

Dealing with gradually increasing pains and aches while continuing to work is much more a problem in more physical jobs.

And employers are still cutting numbers and expecting more 'productivity' (doing the same work with less) from those left. They don't want anyone that may find it difficult to hurry all shift, or climb up on a rail to reach something etc.

It's a fact, some people who are willing to work, as they age even into their 50's find it more and more painful even if they can still do it.

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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Thats a good point

In reply to: I can agree with life expectancy angle

Companies should be willing to place such employees into positions that are less physically demanding. Whether or not that is the case is a question I dont have the answer for. (not caring if I end a sentence with a preposition) Happy

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(WARNING, RANT) The position most companies favor

In reply to: Thats a good point

for such people is early retirement I'm afraid.

Afterall, in a manufacturing environment, the less demanding jobs are often loosely classified as salary, even if not management actually.

And companies are trimming overall for quite sometime, they want to lose employees, not transfer them.

And of course, older workers are the best to get rid of, even if they can do their job. They generally have the most time in, giving them the most vacation time (liability from employer standpoint) for just one point. And it's generally held that older workers cost more in health care benefits, another liability to the bean counters. In reality, I'm not sure that younger workers absentism isn't higher than older workers. But then, just laying out doesn't involve medical benifit payouts.

Companies love for older blue collar to retire for many reasons, even when they don't try to push it.

Funny, you almost have to be a certain age to have gained the experience necessary for higher management, but the experience at a hour pay job that makes you good isn't valued as much. Oh well, that's the way it was, is, and probably will be. Of course, newer equipment renders some experience obsolete.

But the interesting effect I've seen of trying to train operators to do many different jobs, and get rid of the oldsters, is that now the people training know which buttons to push in what order. But almost no one understands the process they're running, so if things act abnormal, they haven't a clue what to do. Then they want maintenance and engineering to 'fix it' so it runs just as the SOP describes it. Push button A, wait till reading equals xbv then push button C. That's the current training standard, IMO.

And all that while polishing all the buzzwords of enpowerment (to get workers to, in spare minute or two, do clerical and planning work they use to have a separate person to do) and productivity (that word is a modernday cat-of-nine tails for wage slaves), and so forth.

Oh well, just a rant. Damn, I sound almost like Bob in some ways here don't I. Chuckling, well I disagree with him often, but don't think he's a bad fellow at all, so that's ok.

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Yes, life expectancies were lower, KP.

In reply to: I think changing the age

But a ditchdigger (or other manual laborer) rarely survives to get the benefit NOW, and would have little chance if the retirement age were raised. That's the point of her discussion of "early retirement" vs. disability. There's also a definite ethnic bias -- the life expectancy is significantly higher for whites than minorities (except Asians), so raising the retirement age would disproportionately affect minorities in terms of getting back at least what they put into SS.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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While we all have come to expect SS as retirement

In reply to: Yes, life expectancies were lower, KP.

so raising the retirement age would disproportionately affect minorities in terms of getting back at least what they put into SS.


It was never about getting back what you put in, it was for those that ran out, probably be cause they did live past 65. Or at least that is my impression and interpretation. Just like other insurance, often you pay and never collect.

The ethnic question is a discussable issue, but the life expectancy is significantly higher for whites than minorities (except Asians) but the very fact you have to admit one minority is excepted weakens it.

SS morph somehow from a safety net to a retirement plan in the public image, and expanded way beyond it's intent. Not necessarily all bad, but with everything that has changed, talking about it being funded as it was and it's solvency is rediculous.

Face it, debate benefits, decide on them, and then do away with SS tax and just pay the damn things out of the general fund. Then tax to fund what is decided to pay. That's the reality now with all the 'borrying' so why the smoke and mirrors by all politicians that it's any different? Hypocrites all, and most of the US public too for not wanting to face it.

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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Life Expectancy ...

In reply to: Yes, life expectancies were lower, KP.

... yet ANOTHER reason to support inheritable personal accounts over the current system.

Evie Happy

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