Raising Retirement Age is the Poor Subsidizing the Rich!

New Orleans   Before complacency sets in and you pinch yourself and say, “Hey, I’m feeling ok, I can make it some more years, so if they cave in and let the Republicans raise the retirement age, maybe it’s no big deal,” you need to pinch yourself harder where you keep your wallet or pocketbook and remember that those extra years really may be a matter of little more than how much money you have.  A story recently by Michael Fletcher in the Washington Post brought the numbers all back home.

            All of the talk about how we’re living longer so we should shore up Social Security by stretching out the retirement age is based on a myopic view of class status.  Listen to this:

“’People who are shorter-lived tend to make less, which means that if you raise the retirement age, low-income populations would be subsidizing the lives of higher-income people.  Whenever I hear a policymaker say people are living longer as a justification for raising the retirement age, I immediately think they don’t understand the research or, worse, they are willfully ignoring what the data say.’”  Maya Rockeymoore, Global Policy Solutions.

The Social Security Administration in a fairly recent study Fletcher cited found that life expectancy for male workers had gone up 6 years in the top half of the income brackets but only up 1.3 years in the bottom half.   In the last 30 years as income inequity has accelerated the gap in life expectancy based on income, according to the Congressional Budget Office, has risen from 2.8 years to 4.5 years for the rich.

Eric Kingston of Syracuse University and co-chair of Social Security Works, which opposes reducing the old-age benefits, makes the great point that the income gap of life expectancy it “…would mean a benefit cut that falls heavily on people who generally are most reliant on Social Security for their retirement income.”  He added unnecessarily, “It is totally class-based.”  Amen!

In fact according to Health Affairs, Fletcher cites the fact that “in half of the nation’s counties, women younger than 75 are dying at rates higher than before.”  This is true particularly of lower income white women, and women in the rural South and West, where poorer women are getting worked too hard and hung up wet.

When the subject is Social Security, the pencil pushers working for the richer “haves” are literally killing us at the lead point of their budget discussions.  This is neither right, nor fair, to working people in America who should have the right to retire with the same dignity that they tried to live.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Obama: He’s Got This!

New Orleans  After Romney’s 47% comments went viral, I thought the campaign was done, and you could put a stick in it.  I still think he may have lost the race there by showing both his disregard for huge parts of the electorate and coupling that with his choice of Paul Ryan, pushing seniors and others with a stake in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid the final distance towards Obama.

It’s a mystery to me how Obama allowed Romney to get back into the race with the first debate.  I thought talking was Obama’s forte?  The debate once again exposed his tentativeness around conflict, which has been a consistent vulnerability throughout his first term, exploited continually by the hardcore, ideological Republican opposition.  Obama does dial down the enthusiasm everywhere when he says, “I’ll fight for you,” and it becomes so obvious that he just plain doesn’t like to fight.

Anything can happen in an election, but having come back in-country, caught up on a lot of the papers and studied the polls, I think Obama’s got this one locked down for this Tuesday, all except the shouting.

No small reason for me finally feeling confident about the race lies in what looks like insurmountable leads in the key battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida that are now trending more than 5 points ahead for the President, comfortably past the margin of error.  Additionally, it appears that based on known Democratic registrations, Obama is leading comfortably ahead of Romney on what has become the critical early voting numbers, which are key tests of organization and have people finally “voting with their feet.”  The hard facts that 23,000,000 voters have already cast ballots and Obama is likely significantly ahead, I take is important.

Governing is a whole different problem.  Looking at a map in my local paper showing where Obama is leading or leaning versus Romney, it is startling how similar the overlay of a map of the residual labor union strength would be.  Not that Obama is going to do much for unions even though they are critical to any Democratic victory now or in the future.

On the other side I read the column by the former solid sports reporter in my hometown paper, who now writes op-eds for them from a hard right, whack perspective and I tried to puzzle out his absurd argument that we should vote against Obama because he was a “collectivist.”  Huh?  “By the people, of the people, for the people” is now a bad thing, so anarchy hooray, I guess.  Obama and the Democrats got lucky that the conservative wing is so whack now that they are pushing away as many votes as they are holding.  Eventually the conservatives in the Republican Party are going to hose them down or force them out so that they have a chance again at the White House.

Until then, we’ll win with Obama on Tuesday, and it won’t necessarily decide much of anything other than how bad the alternatives might have been.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail