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Saturday, May 07, 2011

I think we're going to need a bigger boat
Posted by Jill | 4:41 PM
As my friends are seeing their children start to go off to college, I become more and more glad that I never had any. What these people are going through trying to figure out how to pay for college for these kids so they don't come out with a six-figure mortgage hanging over their heads and no jobs is just heartbreaking. Mr. Brilliant and I are lucky in that we've been able to put money away for the years after we've both been dumped from the workforce for being too old. I dare not even call it retirement, since that implies something voluntary; a sigh of relief and a kick-back and enjoy whatever healthy years we have left kindof image. It's nowhere near enough; after all, I didn't sell out to corporate America until I was well into my thirties and Mr. Brilliant is in a field (desktop support and network administration) that is now more than ever seen as solely a cost center, the employees of which are to be paid peanuts. Actually, I should say he WAS in a field (and hopes to be again), having been jettisoned back in January in favor of a 25-year-old replacement.

We are over the threshold of the Ryan plan cutoff, so in theory we would just make it into the current Medicare plan. However, if you are 55 or older and think you can exhale, just think about the Gen-Xers and millenials who are going to be running the government over the next thirty years. Do you honestly believe these people are going to let us keep this plan that they and their peers and children were denied by the 2011 Republicans? Hardly. Either Medicare will be eliminated by them or we will. Hell, I have FRIENDS who are Gen-Xers who blame us for everything and wish we would just fuck off and die already.

So whether you are 54 or 56, ultimately we are all going to end up in the same leaky canoe, trying to steer it past the Koch bros. yacht. And here's what we have to do in order to be able to have a roof over our heads when we're older:

A 54-year-old today will have to save an additional $182,000 in their IRA or 401(k) before he or she retires just to pay for the House Republican plan to eliminate Medicare, an analysis released today by U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) found.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) estimated that individuals born in 1957 would need $182,000 by the time they retire at 65 to pay the additional costs imposed by the Republican plan if they live to 84. The analysis was included in a letter to Rep. Miller.

“Under the Republican plan, seniors will go into debt. They will be forced to sell their homes that they spent a lifetime paying off. And they will have to rely on their children just to pay for basic medical care,” said Miller. “This is not what anyone would envision as a dignified retirement.”

Last month, House Republicans voted to end the Medicare program, which offers guaranteed benefits, and replace it with a plan that would force seniors to find private insurance with the assistance of a voucher. Since the voucher’s value relative to health care costs would decrease over time and private insurance costs are higher than traditional Medicare, seniors retiring in 2022 under the Republican plan would be forced to pay much higher costs than under current law.

As a result, CEPR found that the average senior beginning in 2022 would have to save $182,000 to cover these additional costs, assuming a return of 3 percent in real interest during their retirement years.

I know any number of people, not just in my own household (including many of our readers) who are past fifty, out of work, and despairing of ever working again. How the hell are they supposed to save another $182,000?

Perhaps Mr. Ryan would like to answer that question.

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Blogger casey said...
Hello Jill,

The easiest solution is to do nothing and let all of us be dumped out at sea when we are of no use to those at the top of the pyramid. Since that is not the optimal solution for the majority of us we should look at the past to see how others handled similar situations. My favorite is the French Revolution. Others like the dissolution of the Roman Empire or the British Empire were somewhat less violent but less effective for the citizens of their respective empires. Will we have a second American Revolution? I have little faith that it will happen or even if it will prove effective. Only the future knows and there is no feedback from that quarter.

Blogger Nan said...
I have some faint twinges of hope that those under 55 will not do what Ryan et al expect, i.e., roll over, play dead, let themselves get screwed, and quietly scramble to save. Instead, they're showing signs of being mad as hell because they've already been paying into a system for many years (unless they're still in their teens) and are now being told, in essence, tough shit when it comes to getting anything out of it. If you're 40, for example, and started working in high school, you've got over 20 years of paying Medicare taxes behind you.

Blogger Jill said...
The problem, Nan, is that based on what I've heard from my Gen-X friends for years, they would just as soon line up all of us born between 1946 and 1964 and shoot us, rather than fight to get what they paid for. I have to remind them that we paid in too...and that we want our younger friends to Not get screwed either. But then it's so much easier to hate than to stop the atrocities against the entire middle class.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, I guess it comes down to the fact then when we retire, we are no longer useful to the "wealth producers," so why should they care about what happens to us.

There's more important stuff to worry about--like air freighting your Ferrari around the world to the next big party....

Blogger WenD said...
Honestly, if this game continues, dangling so-called entitlements around like pawns, I see very few options. I'll turn 55 this year. What will I be looking at in 10 years? Tent cities, and my county government forced into making them legal. They're just now grappling with making them legal for Seattle's homeless. Should my plan b or c be to join them? Suicide? That one has crossed my mind. My son is 30, and not much of a KoolAid drinker. When we talk about Social Security as a trust, he gets it. He was also raised by Depression-era grand parents. He really, really gets it. His peers? Some get it, many don't.