The greedy wealthy class have theirs to enjoy and now they are advocating rising the retirement age to 70 so that the rest of us have to work harder, longer and in many cases till we die. They cite longer life expectancies as the basis for this callous argument. However, since 1977 the life expectancy for male workers retiring at 65 that are in the top half of income earners has risen by 6 years while those in the bottom half have risen only 1.3 years. Does this mean the wealthy wish for those in the lower margin of wage earners to work till we fall over dead while at our jobs and never realize a return on the monies we have paid into the Social Security system for all those years? And why is this considered an entitlement when wage earners pay 7.5 to 15% of their incomes into the system every paycheck during their working lives. As Ezra Cline wrote in his article for the Washington Post yesterday, “if you're wealthy you have many more years to enjoy Social Security, but if your not, you don’t.” This wealthy class approach for reforming Social Security appears particularly cruel and heartless to me as well.
More people now take a reduction in benefits to retire at 62 than ever before in our history. Let’s face it, many of us are just worn out from working harder at unfulfilling understaffed jobs where wages are stagnate and the fruits of our labor go primarily to wealthy Owners, CEO’s, and Stockholders of the companies we toil for day after day after day. Many of these lower income workers are willing to risk reduced benefits by simplifying their lives and doing with less merely to have the dignity of enjoying their precious golden years that remain. For example, my father, after working 36 years for the Continental Can Co., took a reduced early retirement pension at age 56 so he and my mother could move to beautiful Florida. After a short hiatus, he took a flexible job he liked and where he was appreciated. In turn, he had the freedom to travel, visit the grand-kids and enjoy his life with my mother in sunny tropical Florida. Turns out he made a wise decision as unfortunately he died one month before his 65th birthday. Although, he never collected one thin dime of his Social Security benefits, he had nine years of semi-retirement that he enjoyed and was truely able to pursue much personal happiness during these, his, golden years.
Since the wealthiest among us have a greater life expectancy, wouldn’t it make sense that they should pay more into the Social Security system since they stand to benefit the greatest through their longer life expectancies? You would think that this would be the case, however, it’s not, as Social Security taxes don’t apply for income over $110,000. Lloyd Blankfien, CEO of Goldman Sachs and one of the wealthiest among us is one of those calling for a rise in retirement age, just for example, he was compensated $16.1 million last year and that means he paid Social Security taxes on less than 1% of his compensation during this time period. Yet, he and others in the wealthy class are now advocating for this new retirement age that appears to benefit them the most at the expense of those earning the least and living the shortest. According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, “eliminating this cap would do three times as much to solve Social Security’s shortfall as rising the retirement age to 70. This measure would also close Social Security’s solvency gap for 75 years.”
Of course, this post is just another exercise in showing that wealthy Investment Bankers, Wall Street scumbags, greedy Corporation CEO’s and the very fortunate top income earners in our country don’t care about the people they wish to inflict the most pain, deprivation and cruelty upon by rising the retirement age to 70. They have most of the fruits of our labor and a greater life expectancy to enjoy their precious golden years, why not let the rest of us fall over while working at jobs that benefit them the most anyway?
In the end then, what do they care, they've got their's to enjoy. The rest of us can all just go and drop dead from overworking and exhaustion!