‘Too Frail to Work, Too Poor to Retire’

Nice country we have here: 

More than 45 million people, or 14.5 percent of the U.S. population, lived below the poverty line last year, the Census Bureau reported in September. And economists forewarn that elderly Americans are on the brink of experiencing the greatest retirement crisis in “the history of the world.”

This demographic is too frail to work, too poor to retire and those with pensions likely won’t receive the amount of money they’ve been counting on.

Relying on The Washington Post’s “miserable pension” — he worked at the paper for about 25 years — was a major factor that led to McPherson’s financial demise.

His pension kicked in when he was 65 and is now worth half of what it was, he wrote in his essay.

The octogenarian founded The Washington Post’s “Book World” and won a Pulitzer in 1977 for his literary criticism for that section. He went on to write two “well-received” novels in the ’80s and pursued his passion of covering eastern Europe after the fall of the Wall.

After working for the Post intermittently for 25 years, McPherson accepted the company’s deal of taking an early retirement at 53. He accepted the offer because the Post agreed to keep him on its medical plan, which was “very good and very cheap” at the time, and because he thought he could make a decent living continuing to work as a writer.

McPherson earns $11,670 a year and his Social Security comes to “more than that,” he wrote. He’s never applied for welfare, Medicaid or food stamps. The annual income threshold for being counted as living in poverty was $11,490 last year for a person.

The comments are, as usual, a total Dumpster fire:

More like a perfect example of relying on the government for your retirement. If El Gov hadn’t been taking half the guys income all these years he’d have had a lot more to invest in his own retirement. Social security? What a joke. They’ve plundered the interest from that system for years to pay the national debt. Can you imagine the retirement your average Joe would have if they invested what they put into social security into their own IRA? Not to mention the government handing out benefits to immigrants whether illegal or not. Those who are “disabled” (not willing to work). More government is not the answer. They have the mierda touch.

This is where we’re at, what we’re doing: We give you a deal, and you take it, because … why the fuck wouldn’t you? You worked hard for these institutions all your damn life. You worked hard for them because they promised to take care of you and up until recently, they mostly did.

(And I know it’s like arguing with a stuffed animal, but who the fuck is asking for MORE GOVERNMENT here? Let’s start asking for MORE CORPORATION, as in do for your employees what you promised them you would do, you selfish fucks.)

I don’t understand what we get as a society out of creating thousands and thousands of desperately elderly people. My grandfather’s pension took care of my grandfather until he died and afterward, that pension kept my grandmother in their home. Which she and her children could afford to keep up, thus saving the neighborhood from blight, while she shopped at the local grocery store and bakery, got her local paper delivered, and paid local taxes which fixed the roads and schools and kept the streetlights on.

What would society have gained if those two people had been kicked out of their home? What does society get out of telling people like them too bad, so sad, know how we promised you a pension well fuck you, Shadow President Paul Ryan says we can’t afford that anymore and every Democrat within shouting distance is afraid Chuck Todd will call them mean, plus the company has to think of the shareholders and you’re just a guy who ruined your knees and eyes and hearing making money for those shareholders so it’s not like we owe you jack shit?

You know what we get? Starved schools and unfilled potholes and the smallness and meanness that comes from fear, ordinary animal fear that we have for us and ours won’t be enough, that we need to build walls around ourselves and man the parapets with guns, fence out the Other and glare at those within.


7 thoughts on “‘Too Frail to Work, Too Poor to Retire’

  1. Dumpster fire, indeed. Geez, I couldn’t even participate in a 401(k) until 1995 (and I entered the work force in 1963), and then the company closed seven years later. The only reason I still have anything left in it was because I saw the crash coming and moved it out of stocks and bonds. I live on my SS (and I had no choice but to retire early). The whole point of keeping SS away from the fucking markets was to prevent retirees from being completely busted because of market failures. If I’d had to depend upon only the markets for my retirement, I would have been destitute at 63 or 64.

    These dumb bastards are ignoring one salient fact–there’s an increase in poverty among retirees because the vaunted markets failed. SS didn’t fail, the markets did. About the only lifeline retirees have left is Social Security, and these bozo ideologues want to eliminate it. That has got to be the working literal definition of stupidity.

  2. “You know what we get? Starved schools and unfilled potholes and the smallness and meanness that comes from fear, ordinary animal fear that we have for us and ours won’t be enough, that we need to build walls around ourselves and man the parapets with guns, fence out the Other and glare at those within.”

    Is this how great civilizations destroy themselves?

  3. how about that reagan revolution! HOW ABOUT THEM TAX CUTS. replaced by service cuts. CIVILIZATION IS NOT FREE. how do we kill the tinker bell ekonomikkks?

  4. Thanks to stagnant wages over the past 30 years, I don’t have nearly enough saved up for retirement. Also, I never married and never had children, so I’ve never had a second income to help ease the financial burden, and I won’t have anybody to take me in. I’m faced with the very real probability that I’ll have to off myself when I physically am no longer able to work.

    Even if I did have kids, I don’t know that it’s fair to expect a whole generation to support their elderly parents. They’re stuck in the same stagnant-wage trap that I’m in, PLUS their career advancement has been blocked by people like me hanging onto their jobs for dear life. Forcing thirty-, forty- and fifty-somethings to financially support their parents just guarantees that they’ll be in the same boat when they get to retirement age.

    Like you, A., I despair that the meanness that has crept into the American psyche. I remember Lyndon Johnson declaring War on Poverty. Now, the official government motto is Fuck the Poor. It probably started before his tenure, but our current policy took flower under Ronald Reagan. Damn him. Damn him to hell. And damn his minions who’ve carried this meanness to the present day.

  5. Ah, yes..I just LOVE (toasted with a side of sweet fries) those comments about how the guy would have SAVED if not relying on “gubmint” handouts. All the years in military life, and then a second career for my husband, we never had a chance to save much. Most of it was used up in mini-disasters, baling out our kids when they hit rough patches and paying for medical care. So YES, damn it, we DID count on what we were TOLD we could count upon in Social Security, Army retirement and such. And now? Yes, we are living on it and supporting both our disabled veteran sons.

    Pity the fool who tells ME we should have ‘saved more’. He is going to be checking out his medical plan and HIS savings.

  6. Even if I did have kids, I don’t know that it’s fair to expect a whole generation to support their elderly parents.

    WORD. Whenever somebody would tell me I should have children so they could care for me when I am old, I thought, “Why the hell would I do that to someone I love?” I do not want Kick to have to deal with my dementia or whatever the hell, and use what money she might manage to make paying my nursing home not to smother me in my sleep (because you know I’ll be a horrendously difficult old person). Fuck that.


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