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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:14 PM

New Poverty Window Opens: 55 to 67

Last edited Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:37 PM - Edit history (1)

Social Security and Medicare were instituted to combat the damning scourge of Senior poverty in America. Today most Americans may be living longer, but becoming poor younger. Our economy has changed since the 1960’s and that change has not been kind to the Middle Class, especially to workers over 50. Increasingly they are targeted as a cost cutting opportunity by company managers seeking to fatten their bottom lines. Once people in their 50’s and early 60’s could count on achieving their highest incomes in those years that directly preceded retirement Not any longer, now their larger paychecks make them the prey of corporate knives.

When layoffs happen in that age group, future job prospects are uncertain at best. One thing though is certain, odds are that any employment they might still secure will be at substantially less pay and with fewer, if any benefits. That is the essential backdrop to the current negotiations about the so called fiscal cliff. The wave of new poverty now hitting Americans over 55 is, to a large extent still happening below the radar. Older Americans who had been preparing for their pending retirement have had to revise their plans radically. Many now stay afloat in a manner reminiscent of a middle class lifestyle only by tapping into resources now that were meant to sustain them in later years.

Gone are the days of corporate pensions and gold watches gratefully given for decades of loyal service. Millions of Americans are now limping toward the finish line of their working careers, trying to hold on until programs like Social Security and Medicare finally kick in to give them a life sustaining boost. What is the response out of Washington to the emergence of this new window of Senior poverty? A drive to cut back “entitlement” spending is now gathering momentum. One of the proposals getting most of the buzz, especially in Republican circles, is to raise the eligibility age for Medicare by two years to 67. With their incomes plunging and their personal resources drained, how will many Americans survive being forced to forgo the availability of affordable health care for an additional two years? The answer is some won’t.

How much money will the federal budget save by denying Medicare to Americans until they reach 67. Most say on the order of 15 Billion a year, or 150 Billion over a decade. Let’s put that into perspective. By allowing the Bush Tax cuts to fully expire, as originally intended, simply on incomes ABOVE $250,000 a year, nearly a trillion dollars in new revenue will enter federal coffers over the next decade. But Republicans are balking. Not only would they rather raise that money by closing unidentified tax “loopholes” (likely including charity deductions and tax write offs for health care costs), they want that figure cut back to 800 billion instead, so the rich can pocket the 200 billion dollar difference. The Republicans prefer all Americans be forced to wait two more years to qualify for Medicare so that the wealthiest 2% of Americans won’t need to pay the full Bill Clinton era tax rates on their incomes above $250,000.

Here is another way of viewing our budget choices, credit to this Reuters article:

Exclusive: U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON | Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:28am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/29/us-lockheed-fighter-idUSBRE82S03L20120329

’The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters.

The Pentagon's latest, staggering estimate of the lifetime cost of the F-35 -- its most expensive weapons program -- is up from about $1 trillion a year ago, and includes inflation…

The new cost estimate reflects the Pentagon's proposal to postpone orders for 179 planes for five years, a move that U.S. official say will save $15.1 billion through 2017, and should avert costly retrofits if further problems arise during testing of the new fighter, which is only about 20 percent complete.

The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades, although Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week warned that further technical problems or cost increases could eat away at those numbers.”


Note the timely coincidence. The Pentagon expects to save $15.1 Billion through 2017 by postponing orders for 170 of those planes. That’s what Republicans want to cut Medicare by annually.

Life is full of choices. We pay for a military in the belief that it will protect our life and liberty. We pay for health care for essentially the same reason. Our Air Force is already dominant in the world, how many F-35’s do we need when they compete in cost with Medicare?

Our neighbors to the north just faced a similar decision making process and Canada seems to have thought better of buying a fleet of F-35’s given its current price tag:

Federal government cancels F-35 fighter purchase: source
Michael Den Tandt
Published: December 6, 2012, 1:46 pm
http://o.canada.com/2012/12/06/1107-col-dentandt/

“Faced with the imminent release of an audit by accountants KPMG that will push the total projected life-cycle costs of the aircraft above $30 billion, the Harper Conservatives have decided to scrap the controversial sole-source program and go back to the drawing board, a source familiar with the decision said. This occurred after Chief of the Defence Staff Thomas Lawson, while en route overseas, was called back urgently to appear before members of the cabinet, the source said.

The decision was to go before the cabinet planning and priorities committee Friday morning but the outcome is not in doubt, the source said.”

Of course we wouldn’t be facing decisions like this today if the last Bush Administration had done what American Presidents have always done before to pay for the guns of war when major armed conflicts emerge; raise the revenue to pay for them. If Republicans don’t like forcing the wealthy to pay their fair share so that Medicare remains available at age 65 for Americans who need it, there is a ready alternative. Tell them they are just picking up their share of the cost for George W. Bush invading Iraq.

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply New Poverty Window Opens: 55 to 67 (Original post)
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 OP
orpupilofnature57 Dec 2012 #1
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #3
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #2
Cleita Dec 2012 #4
Adsos Letter Dec 2012 #5
orpupilofnature57 Dec 2012 #6
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #8
Adsos Letter Dec 2012 #10
orpupilofnature57 Dec 2012 #33
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #7
2naSalit Dec 2012 #11
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #18
TwilightGardener Dec 2012 #9
2naSalit Dec 2012 #12
sybylla Dec 2012 #13
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #15
woo me with science Dec 2012 #16
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #26
notadmblnd Dec 2012 #17
bornskeptic Dec 2012 #28
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #14
Oilwellian Dec 2012 #19
Jack Rabbit Dec 2012 #20
aquart Dec 2012 #21
DhhD Dec 2012 #22
Mr Dixon Dec 2012 #23
gkhouston Dec 2012 #24
femrap Dec 2012 #25
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #27
Rocky888 Dec 2012 #29
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #30
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2012 #31
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #32
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #34

Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:23 PM

1. Tell them to move offshore, with their money .

And stop asking the people who you victimize to go offshore to protect it .

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Response to orpupilofnature57 (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:14 PM

3. The connection is pretty direct, isn't it? n/t

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:34 PM

2. Excellent post.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:15 PM

4. K&R

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:21 PM

5. It's heading toward the equivalent of leaving the old out in the snow to die. n/t

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Response to Adsos Letter (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:34 PM

6. At least they divide the blubber fairly !

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Response to orpupilofnature57 (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:43 PM

8. We can only wish they were that thoughtful

Maybe that will be the Republican's fall back position in negotiations.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:52 PM

10. Now you've both given me the mental image of Boehner and President Obama...

arguing over whether or not the blubber should be divided; and, if so, how that division should be made.

That's gonna' make for a long day for me...

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Response to Adsos Letter (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:13 PM

33. Imagine subscribing to a method tried &true 25 times longer than ours ?

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:35 PM

7. Reduce Medicare age to 55 now. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:53 PM

11. I'm all for that...

I am over 55 and finding that since I had to work at a job below my qualifications and it hurt me, even the attorneys are telling me I should just bite the bullet and take the $5K (minus attorney fees) and walk away even though I was never properly diagnosed and have back problems that keep me from getting another job, if I could actually find one. I'll probably be homeless by February and at that point, I guess they are telling me that a long one-way walk out into the woods is the only option I have left and so I should just go for that.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:34 PM

18. +1

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:48 PM

9. Thank you for this. Good work.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:54 PM

12. Indeed, thanks for making it public!

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:02 PM

13. I'm watching my parents fall into poverty now.

Dad is 69, mom is 70. My dad made good money until he hit his 50's. From there a combination of pissy economic issues and one bad business decision left them filing bankruptcy and in tough financial trouble. My mom is the only one keeping them in their house. She has a high-skill trade and managed to buck the trend by getting a better job in her late 50's with a growing business who needed her experience. She's had decent retirement contributions her whole career, but still works part time now while they collect SS.

This past year it has really taken a toll on my dad. He's gotten very bitter about how his life and his retirement has turned out. (He's also a Fox watcher and votes puke to keep his guns.)

My mom could have retired 6 years ago. But my dad couldn't get health insurance, so she had to keep her job until he could get Medicare. It's probably a good thing because he lost his job too. So she keeps working now that they are both on SS and Medicare to pay off their debts and replace the retirement funds they used up before they could get on SS and Medicare.

Moving the age for Medicare to 67 will force more elderly into poverty as the Over-50 generation, increasingly viewed as unemployable and uninsurable, struggles to keep decent jobs with healthcare benefits or faces using up their retirement funds to pay for healthcare they can't afford on the crap wages they can get.

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Response to sybylla (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:13 PM

15. I don't understand why Democratic Leaders aren't talking about this trend

When Obamacare was being debated there was serious talk of lowering the eligibility age for Medicare because people in their 50's and early 60's were getting squeezed so badly. This is the future that most of us are facing, if it hasn't already arrived yet.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:14 PM

16. Because Democratic "representatives" are pursing a corporate agenda, too.

Last edited Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:42 PM - Edit history (1)

Until we can be honest about what the real problem is, we make no strides toward solving it.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:34 PM

26. Many Dem Pols are dependent on both Corporate Money AND our votes

If we do our job well as activists it will become increasingly difficult for them to have their cake and eat it too.

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Response to sybylla (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:17 PM

17. Does she know that i she makes over a certain amount of money

that she will have to pay SS back? I think the amount retored people are allowed beore they have to pay SS some money back is around 12k.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:40 PM

28. That only applies to people taking early retirement.

Once a working beneficiary reaches full retirement age he or she may earn any amount without having to pay SS back. Part of the SS, up to as much as 85% of it, may be taxable, however.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:09 PM

14. It's been happening for a pretty long time.

Once Corporate America started divesting themselves of pension-responsibility (really taking hold thanks to Reagan-era legislation as it "matures"), it became easier & easier to get rid of mid-level, 40-ish folks. Their pensions were no longer the responsibility of the company, so why not just send them off into the wilderness with their 401-k's.. Many people were bought out (early retirement for a lesser pension), and replaced with cheaper/younger/more disposable employees.

Many people even left their 401-ks with their old companies because they did not know what to do with them, and not all companies offered them, so as they found new work (often pensionless/401-kless) their former 401-ks were left behind..and probably a few not even discovered/remembered until that employee died.

The society we now have does not hold much reverence for experienced/older workers. New technology makes it more likely that younger more "up on it all" will be in greater demand.

When a person is at the beginning of their work-life they often have options for physical work OR not-physical work, but as we age, by the time a person is 40/50-something-ish, it's almost impossible to be physically fit enough (or job-attactive for training for physical jobs) to change to physical labor..and even if it is possible, how does a person used to making a living wage at a desk job, adjust to (find) a job they can barely do (physically) that compares financially to what they had?

They usually don't.


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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:37 PM

19. Stunning, really. n/t

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:38 PM

20. Gee, I'm right in the middle of that

My dad lived to be 98. I guess I'll starve before that.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:42 PM

21. Ah, the people they plan to deny medical care.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:49 PM

22. Move all US Congressional Lawmakers to Medicare; below age 67; then no health insurance at all.

Then at age 67 they may have Medicare. They can provide/apply for themselves just like the rest of Us.

It could be a new Amendment.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:10 PM

23. Sad

i think this is going to happen to all of us

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:19 PM

24. Talking heads on NPR this morning, making it sound like "entitlement reform" is a good and necessary

trade for raising the tax rates on the uber-rich. No mention of corporate subsidies or of how much we spend on defense. No analysis/comparison of the effect this "trade" would actually have on either the rich or the people who depend on Medicare and Social Security. If it's such a reasonable deal, why isn't anyone looking at it closely?

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:24 PM

25. If these blood-sucking

 

politicians want old people to suffer, they might as well make Assisted Suicide legal...you'd think they'd encourage it. Here....take a big dose of Morphine....and then off to the crematorium with you.

Did you know that those Funeral Books that people sign cost $500? I met a woman who sells Funeral Insurance. She blew me away. If you die at home of natural causes, have someone wrap you in rug within 24 hours and go directly to the crematorium to save the ambulance, hospital, and funeral home costs. This is Ohio. I'm sure other states have different rules about dying.

I don't want a DNR (do not rescessitate)....just give a KMN (Kill Me Now).

And if there is such a thing as ghosts, I'm coming back to haunt The Congress Building.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:36 PM

27. It is bleak for those of us facing this situation

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #27)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:36 PM

29. +1

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #27)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:52 PM

30. The number of Americans facing this grows rapidly each year

The trend line could not be clearer. Americans in their late 50's and early 60's are becooming nearly unemployable if they lose their jobs. That is one reason why such a high percentage of "start up" businesses are opened by people in their 60's. The media likes to spin it as if t is all a dream come true for older Americans to start up that business they always wanted to own. In reality more often it is done out of desperation, and most new businesses don't do all that well, and many outright fail. When that happens what remains of one's life savings is completely gone, often replaced by deeper debt.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:00 PM

31. Yup, people are having to retire at 62 and take a reduced Social Security benefit

not because they want to, but because they can't find work.

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #31)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:37 PM

32. That describes me.

And if team "Grand Bargain" gets its way, people will need to hang on for 5 years living off reduced Social Security income before they can get on Medicare - no employer provided health insurance in the meantime. The so called "affordable" insurance that Obamacare will soon offer has large co-pays and deductables, and will still cost much more than being on Medicare at age 65 does now. A recipe for poverty and otherwise preventable deaths if ever I saw one

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:01 AM

34. It's a perfect storm and Republicans want to drill holes in the lifeboat

All of the trends converge to make it necessary to lower the age for Medicare eligibility, not raise it. The Unions are under attack and there goes good paying jobs, pensions, seniority and health benefits. Americans in their late 50's can't find decent jobs when their insurance premiums hit the highest levels. Outsourcing and wage stagnation, concentration of wealth in the hands of the 1%, rising costs for health care and falling wages, all of it.

Republicans in Congress pay homage to Seniority when it comes to their plum committee assignments. They do everything they can to lock in tenure for their own seats through support of gerrymandering. They don't face a personal fiscal cliff when they reach their mid to late 50's like millions of ordinary Americans do. So of course they are fine telling the rest of us that we have to wait two more years to qualify for Medicare.

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