She Came From France, She Had a Thirst for Knowledge

Episode 531 of the recurrent blogospheric wank-fest over the retirement age is going on, begun by the New York Times and facilitated by Sully. Here’s Veronique de Rugy:

The best option is to cut benefits. One way to do that is to raise the age of eligibility to at least 70 and then progressively increase it to track with life expectancy. This won’t be popular, but Americans’ dependency on government programs is less entrenched than that of Europeans.

I love the muted understatement of the phrase “this won’t be popular” — has this woman slept through every political campaign in the last twenty years? Also, too, a minimum retirement age was established in 1935 in the US, and in 1956 in the writer’s native country, France. That’s not a minor difference, it’s another generation of entrenchment.

“Fuck the poor” is an ever-popular political agenda, but I wish these glibertarians could at least exhibit a token effort while advancing it.






113 replies
  1. 1

    The best option is to raise taxes. There I said it.

    The worst option is to cut benefits. Few people I know are putting enough into their 401ks to retire with a middle class income. We’re going to watch poverty increase amongst the elderly in the next decade or so.

  2. 2
    John S. says:

    For people aged 55-70 who don’t have plumb jobs writing bullshit for the NY Times, it is VERY difficult to find employment. Especially when the economy sucks and they are competing for jobs with people decades younger. And I don’t think Wal-mart has that many greeter positions available.

    Here’s an idea that isn’t idiotic: make the rich people paying an effective 15-20% tax rate, corporations paying even less in taxes and people paying no payroll tax on their salaries actually pay their fair share.

  3. 3
    satby says:

    I’m always facinated by the fact that people who are successful, well paid writers think that wait staff, factory workers, laborers, construction workers, hospital staff, etc. all will physically be able to work full time till age 70.

    Their rose colored glasses must be goggles, and opaque.
    Or they’re just hateful, unempahetic wankers.
    Hmmm, which to choose?

  4. 4
    Michael D. says:

    I’m not sure what the point of this is, but maybe that’s because I just woke up and haven’t got a full coffee in me yet.

    Are you saying that “raise the retirement age” = “fuck the poor”? If so, how? Or that you don’t believe the retirement age should be raised as life expectancy goes up?

    Sorry if I’m just not getting what you’re saying.

  5. 5
    Lisa K. says:

    @toujoursdan:

    The best option is to raise taxes. There I said it.

    And I repeated it, and will continue to repeat it. But keep it up, clowns. There is no better way to turn the most reliable voting bloc-those over 60-against you than to tell them you’re taking their benefits away from them.

    I, for one, am not working until I’m 70.

  6. 6
    Cynicor says:

    Why would the best option not be to eliminate contribution caps or provide needs tests?

    And where did she study sculpture?

  7. 7
    Lisa K. says:

    @Michael D.:

    Are you saying that “raise the retirement age” = “fuck the poor”? If so, how? Or that you don’t believe the retirement age should be raised as life expectancy goes up?

    I don’t believe that. Life expectancy may be going up, but it’s not as if 70 is the new 40.

  8. 8
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Income taxes should be raised because the payroll tax is now funding general revenue, not Social Security. It’s not transparent, it’s leads to this type of nonsense, and the poor pay more than their fair share of payroll taxes.

    That being said, based on the incoherent mumblings of Madame de Rugy, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, et. al., I demand a mandatory early retirement for political commentators, because most of them have clearly lost touch with reality.

  9. 9
    mistermix says:

    @Michael D.: The working poor, many of whom have low-paying manual labor and service jobs, are the ones who will be most affected by raising the retirement age.

    In other words, GMU Professor Veronique de Rugy will have her TIAA-CREF annuity if she chooses to retire before 70. The maids who make her bed at the hotel where she’s staying while attending some Cato-sponsored conference won’t.

  10. 10
    John S. says:

    @Michael D.

    The policy is tantamount to “fuck the poor” because people with low paying jobs will likely not be able to work until 70. Service workers, laborers, and others that don’t make lavish salaries will be totally screwed. Not everyone has a cushy desk job where they can get paid big for wanking.

    Does that clear things up for you?

  11. 11
    Joel says:

    well, if and when the budget deficit becomes an issue – i.e. not in the heart of a recession – then we can revisit this issue with various revenue generating and expense cutting measures.

    until then, it’s bullshit wankery.

  12. 12
    SteveinSC says:

    @Michael D.:

    Sorry if I’m just not getting what you’re saying.

    Let’s see how are they related.

    Try this. Wage slaves at or near minimum wage work and work until they are told by Boss they have worked long enough to live the rest of their lives at minimum wage or less.

    Boss works long enough to provide huge inheritance for his moron, drug addicted spawn, lots of cars and homes in the Virgin Islands. If he hasn’t squeezed enough money out of the poor fucks who work for him, he makes them work longer for the same sub-minimum wage retirement.

    Hence:

    “raise the retirement age” = “fuck the poor”

    Q.E.D.

    P.s. This comment brought to you via FireFox

  13. 13
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Michael D.:

    Sorry if I’m just not getting what you’re saying.

    I would expect nothing less from the poor man’s Andrew Sullivan.

  14. 14
    smith says:

    Michael D: My dad worked 44 years in a leather factory before retiring at 65. He was tired. I don’t think he would have lived to 76 had he continued working 5 more years. I guess raising the retirement age would solve the SS problem by eliminating a lot of people who paid into it for years.

  15. 15
    Xenos says:

    @Michael D.:

    Are you saying that “raise the retirement age” = “fuck the poor”? If so, how? Or that you don’t believe the retirement age should be raised as life expectancy goes up?

    People who work a career in manual labor age faster that white collar professionals. Some of them also suffer from long-term ailments from being exposed to toxins in manufacturing or agricultural industries. I used to work in a medicaid office in a rural area in the south – we had clients in their forties who were more aged than your typical upper-middle-class 70 year old. I remember one guy who painted furniture in a factory from age 20 to age 50 and developed emphysema. We could not get him qualified as disabled so back to work he went. He did not qualify for disability until we could prove he had less than a year to live. He did not make it to see his 55th birthday.

    This is also reflected in the career paths established for the military and police forces. These workers take on serious risk of debilitating injury or death, and we retire them out well before 55 years old as a result.

  16. 16
    Pat says:

    I guess it’s the world I live in but many people I know still continue to work and pay taxes, which includes social security taxes, long after they “retire” and are collecting their social security entitlement in order to make ends meet. If I ever join the work force again, and that’s a big “if” (I’m 58 y/o) I suspect I’ll need to be working until the day I die.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    @Michael D.:
    And life expectancy is expected to go down if the country doesn’t get control of the obesity-diabetes epidemic caused by the corporate crap sold as food.

    Merely surviving to 70 or beyond doesn’t mean a person is fit enough to work, either full time or at jobs requiring manual labor or hours of standing. Most people have a host of health issues by the time they’re 70.
    And I bet that Ronnie de Rugay also thinks that the age for Medicare eligibility should rise along with the retirement age.

    Because having no health care or working longer than she wants to are very unlikely to be problems she’ll ever have.

  18. 18
    Mr. Moderate says:

    Indexing the retirement age to life expectancy is a very good idea. There is nothing magical about 65 except that it was nearly four years above life expectancy for the 1930’s (59.7 in 1930 and 61.7 in 1935). Nowadays life expectancy is 77.8. By the 1930’s metric we should have social security start at 82. I’m not advocating making it that far up, but let’s not lose perspective that the system is far out of whack compared to where it was when it was established. For those unable to work they can qualify for long term disability before the retirement age, just as now. It’s not screwing the poor, it’s getting the system back to where it’s supposed to be and keeping it there by causing it to be re-based at a regular interval.

  19. 19
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Pulp or Joe Jackson/Shatner?

  20. 20
    LGRooney says:

    Stop listening to my iPod! I happen to have that song playing and then turn here for a little dose before I get to real work and this!

  21. 21
    mai naem says:

    Not only is it fucking the manual labor poor but try finding a job after you are laid off in your fifties. Nobody wants you. Cos. either want cheaper younger people or they don’t want to pay your medical benefits. I have a friend in a good profession who quit her job when she was 59 to go to another job where she subsequently got lget go. It took her 18 mos. to find another job and that was with a pay cut and BTW that was when the economy was good. I also know a guy who’s 60 who was unemployed for 3 yrs and just found a job. A high tech skilled job at that,again, with pay cut. In the 3 yrs he had only a part time seasonal job tax preparing. I would like these 50-60 yr old pundits turn in fake applications with reasonable resumes etc. and see if they find any jobs.

    BTW, I used to work around construction labor people and there is no way those people are working into their 60s. Masonry, roofing, floorcovering are brutal on your body.

  22. 22
    jon says:

    Social Security wasn’t designed to be, nor is it, a retirement program. Social Security works like one, but it is and was intended to supplement even those who do work when “old” (according to whatever measure desire). It wasn’t intended to pay the entire way for old people, just keep them in the “people food” aisles of the grocery store. And for that reason alone, it’s a very successful program.

    That it became the de-facto retirement system for too many people shows its value, not its faults. It’s the back up plan for an “oh shit” event like a disability, not a payoff like an insurance plan. It’s a pension of sorts, but it isn’t a good retirement plan except for the innumerate masses. And for those people, it’s probably the only plan.

    And those who think that a 401k is the solution everyone needs ought to examine their heads, too. No one ever hates their guy, but those investment people over there… those guys are the ones who caused all the problems, not my guy.

    Gold is a stupid investment, too.

  23. 23
    vtr says:

    Veronique apparently assumes that someday there will be enough jobs so that people can work until they are 70. Employers today have no interest to hire anyone over a certain age – an age much younger than 70. For one thing, benefits such as health insurance are much cheaper to provide a 28-year-old than a 64-year-old.
    I know this from experience. Five days ago, a counsellor from the state labor department told a group of us to fudge our resumes – to lowball how long we have been on the job and just when it was that we graduated from college. She told us what we already knew. Age discrimination is rampant an impossible to prove. I had every
    intention of working way past 70 if I could, an no intention of tapping into Social Security. I love the work I do, and am damn good at it. Veronique, STFU.

  24. 24
    mistermix says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Shatner/Jackson

  25. 25
    Booger says:

    God, another glibertarian GMU professor. How embarassing. I hate my school.

  26. 26
    Egilsson says:

    401ks are actually a huge fraud and scandal.

    They will not do what what is needed to provide financial security in old age – in part because they are not used correctly. Pensions provide a much better benefit, but they also cost a lot of more.

    At the end of the day, are we going to have a society where old people live without dignity or not? How many people will we tolerate dying every year because of lack of medical insurance?

    I am becoming more and more socialist by the hour I guess. Safety nets encourage freedom and creativity because poverty is a shackle and fear chains us. Ultimately, safety nets will be more cost effective, but priorities will need to be changed. Raise taxes, cut military spending and boom – money to make the lives of Americans better.

    People are really struggling and suffering; it does not have to be this hard.

    BTW, has de Rungy ever admitted she was totally wrong about the partisan bias of stimulus spending? Nate Silver completely schooled her and she drifted off promising to look at it again. I’m tired of ideological cranks getting attention they don’t deserve.

  27. 27
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Only in America could a tax be basically exempt on the richest earners and the repeal of said exemption be a toxic, populist position. Still, I wish somebody had the balls to try. Sounds like a job for Bernie.

  28. 28
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    I agree with Moderate. Social Security was supposed to be insurance against becoming too old and sick to work. It WAS NOT supposed to be a government financed retirement program for otherwise healthy people. When the system was set up, the great majority of people died before they ever collected a dime of it. Now more and more people are living to collect it for longer and longer periods of time. It is no longer that unusual to have people who work for 40 years, and collect for 30. Most people now collect far more than they ever put into the system! How is that sustainable?? Already 1/3 of state, local, and federal tax dollars go to direct wealth transfers to the elderly. This is rising!

    I understand that most manual laborers can’t work as long as white collar workers, but our economy is much more white collar based now. The solution to this is to create a two tiered system, so that blue collar workers can collect earlier than white collar workers.

  29. 29

    I have mixed feelings about “means-testing” Social Security. While I understand that a Bill Gates may not need it, turning it into a “poor persons” entitlement sets it up for further attack. You’ll see a senior version of the Cadillac driving welfare queen in no time.

    I would like to see the earnings cap lifted instead.

    As nice as it would be to expect everyone to save for their own retirement, it’s not going to happen. Many people are short term thinkers and would use the money for other things, also given that a medical crisis can wipe out anyone’s savings in the blink of an eye, it’s not an acceptable option.

    It would be great to see the US follow other countries (Australia, New Zealand, etc.) and introduce a mandatory retirement savings scheme to supplement social security. It may seem too “nanny statish” for some, but the ugly truth is that society would pay for impoverished seniors if this didn’t happen anyway.

  30. 30
    Walker says:

    I just want to know: are these people who advocate reducing benefits also advocating to reduce the payroll tax a suitable amount? Because if not, then this is a major tax increase on the poor with no comparable tax on the rich.

  31. 31
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Walker: I think that’s the point. It is always the lazy poor who don’t pay their fair share in Glibertarian America.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Rock says:

    The fact that these people think everyone has a cushy job like them in which it is actually physically possible to work till 70 is just one more sign of their myopic narcissism. Or maybe empathy is just the opposite of libertarianism.

  34. 34
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @Walker: This is to eliminate the need to reduce benefits once they start being paid. The rate of taxation has been relatively constant as people are on the program longer and longer. Once again, this is not a ding on the people receiving benefits, it’s bringing it back in line with what it’s original demographic profiles were. It wasn’t until the mid-70’s that the system demographics got so skewed. The fact no correction has been made to date doesn’t mean it’s not the responsible thing to do now. They should also index the income cap to inflation as well. It hadn’t been adjusted for some time until last year. However ever increasing taxes doesn’t address the fundamental issue of the sustainability of the program. This does.

  35. 35

    See what they are doing in Australia where companies contribute the equivalent of 9% of their employees’ income into a fund for retirement.

    Superannuation in Australia

  36. 36

    @satby:

    I’m always facinated by the fact that people who are successful, well paid writers think that wait staff, factory workers, laborers, construction workers, hospital staff, etc. all will physically be able to work full time till age 70.

    Their rose colored glasses must be goggles, and opaque.
    Or they’re just hateful, unempahetic wankers.
    Hmmm, which to choose?

    This.

    My father-in-law spent most of his working life as an electrician working on industrial food processing and refrigeration equipment. Sounds like not too hard a job, but it involved a lot of crawling around in and under a lot of heavy equipment, in various temperature extremes. By the time he got to 62, his body was worn out.

    So may God damn all the op-ed writers at their comfortable desks who blithely talk about raising the retirement age. Or, at the very least, may they be sentenced to field labor – picking strawberries and the like with migrant workers, say – for five years, just so they can see how their bodies would hold up.

    Fuck ’em all. Preferably with something large and rough.

  37. 37
    LarsThorwald says:

    Are you sure you wanna…sleep…with common people?

    Best song of 2005. Ben Folds and The Shatner.

  38. 38

    @LarsThorwald: Hadn’t realized that Ben Folds did the music for that. Great song, even with Shatner basically talking rather than singing it.

  39. 39
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    And here’s someone from that piece described as “a labor lawyer from Chicago” pushing another bunch of mythology without knowing what he’s talking about:

    Why wouldn’t you want to work to 67 in Europe? To an American it still seems like paradise…… Raising the retirement age in Germany, for example, does not mean the social safety net is under attack. Quite the opposite.
    They still golf, cut out by lunch on Friday, and can still hit a two month stretch in spring of four “four-day” weekends. That still leaves five to six weeks of vacation, and of course they use their sick leave to the max. Who’d want to retire from that?

    This is the classic right wing Sarkozy/Merkel European anti-labor line, and he’s taken it to a level of fantasy I’ve rarely seen.

    Anyone who’s worked in a corporate environment in France knows what a high pressure, rigid, even nightmarish experience it can be. It’s a hierarchical, top-down, authoritarian system that’s based on a Napoleonic-military model, basically.

    This isn’t just anecdote, it’s in the news: France Telecom has been dealing with a level of suicides by employees that’s risen to the point of national scandal. One of the cases that sparked the discussion off was someone who was about to return to working for an ex-boss, with whom “things hadn’t gone well” in the past, reportedly. I can only imagine.

    The four weeks of vacation is the only part that’s truly a difference. The “string of four day weekends in the Spring” is striking when you first move to France, but when you actually count, the US and France have the same amount of national holidays per year. It’s just that almost all of the ones in France fall in May.

    So in exchange for the high pressure, hierarchies, and rigidity which leads to abuse from managers, basically, people get four weeks off per year, yes. Which is basically necessary to regroup from abuse and get ready to do it for another year.

  40. 40
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    And yes, age discrimination, like other forms of discrimination is tough to prove, but the solution to that is to tackle age discrimination the same way we have fought other forms of discrimination. It isn’t to pay people to disappear from the workforce.

  41. 41
    Walker says:

    The fact no correction has been made to date doesn’t mean it’s not the responsible thing to do now

    That is not exactly true. The payroll taxes were increased In the 80s to prefund SS. What you are saying is that prefunding was a lie, that it was always pay-go, and the payroll tax was nothing but a regressive tax.

  42. 42
    Ash Can says:

    I have yet to meet a libertarian who can explain his/her view of the role of government in society in a way that doesn’t make said libertarian sound like s/he just landed from Pluto. (ETA: Or sound like a complete asshole.)

  43. 43
    Joey Maloney says:

    And not to mention, y’know, where are all these jobs for 67-year-olds going to come from? We have something like 18% real unemployment now, 8% structural or thereabouts. There’s way too many workers chasing way too few jobs.

    When the retirement age gets raised, what companies are going to be elbowing each other out of the way to hire all these high-health-cost senior citizens in preference to the healthy, eager, work-for-cheap 20-year-olds currently pounding the pavement?

  44. 44
    Xenos says:

    @toujoursdan:

    I would like to see the earnings cap lifted instead.

    Raising the earnings cap does not give up any savings, as higher payments into the system entitle you to higher income out of the system.

    As noted above, it is a social insurance system, not a retirement plan. Let it work, let it work for everybody who pays in and vests, but do not overinsure people or turn it into a hidden welfare system (which raising the income cap without increasing benefits does).

    A very simple solution is to stop pegging payments to some easily manipulated official inflation rate. Peg the payments like you would to any insurance fund, where payments go down if reserves go down. If the public wants beef up those reserves by some means, let them vote for politicians who will do so.

    This would all be so much easier if we had a functioning democracy.

  45. 45
    Xenos says:

    In any case, the biggest problem with Rugy and the other smartass glibertarians is that they fail to recognize how social security liberates creative people to take chances and develop new business. If people know that they may go bankrupt but they will never starve that frees them to quit their job and try to do something brilliant and productive.

    It also frees them to invest in the stock market, which was always the craziness of the privatization movement. If my social security is going into equities then I suddenly need to rebalance my portfolio – by selling my stocks and buying treasuries. I won’t be able to tolerate so much volatility in my IRA, 401(k), or non-qualified investments. I will have to be much, much more conservative.

  46. 46
    Lee says:

    My dad is on SS now.

    There are a couple of things that should be changed with retirement. One is IRA mandatory withdrawal. You get fucked on that with SS. You have to start taking money out of your IRA, so you might get dinged on your SS.

    The other is they need to up the graduated payments. If you postpone taking retirement until later, you get a larger payment per month. Here is a pretty good article talking about it.

  47. 47
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Raising the earnings cap does not give up any savings, as higher payments into the system entitle you to higher income out of the system.

    A functioning democracy would also allow you to separate these.

  48. 48
    Mike in NC says:

    God, another glibertarian GMU professor. How embarassing. I hate my school.

    So what’s up with that, anyway? We lived in NoVA for 20 years close to George Mason University and never thought about it too much. Yet there seems to be a bunch of right-wing asshole tenured professors there who have cushy side jobs as pundits. Are they the ones turned down for jobs at Liberty U. or Bob Jones U.?

  49. 49
    satby says:

    time for my favorite Garrison Keillor column.
    Read the whole thing, but here’s the key graf:
    “This is Democratic bedrock: we don’t let people lie in the ditch and drive past and pretend not to see them dying. Here on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, if your neighbor’s car won’t start, you put on your parka and get the jumper cables out and deliver the Sacred Spark that starts their car. Everybody knows this. The logical extension of this spirit is social welfare and the myriad government programs with long dry names all very uninteresting to you until you suddenly need one and then you turn into a Democrat. A liberal is a conservative who’s been through treatment”

  50. 50
    jrg says:

    One thing’s for sure – we either need to raise taxes or re-structure benefits.

    I’m not really opposed to discussion of either, if it makes people realize that tax cuts for the rich and war overseas cost actual fucking money.

    The real problem is that we have a bunch of voters who think that Republicans are conservative, that we’ll be fine if our entire banking system collapses, and that welfare queens are the reason we run a deficit.

    The fact that old people generally vote more Republican, and receive more government benefits just pisses me off – particularly when you consider that they have had a lifetime to save, and they are being financed by the young, who tend to have less in the way of net worth.

  51. 51
    Emma says:

    I have a feeling that those in this thread who keep advocating for cutting benefits but don’t consider raising taxes have never seen a parent lose his job at 56 and NOT BE ABLE TO FIND ONE EVER AGAIN other than standing up to his knees in freezing water cleaning dirty freezers at a butcher shop. They haven’t seen him cry when their feet are crimping up from the arthritis. They have never had to think about what will happen when they’re too old to do for themselves while you’re at work earning the money to support them.

    They have never had a friend who’s worked all his life from the day he turned fifteen and was kicked out of his house lose his job at 49 and NOT BE ABLE TO FIND ONE EVER AGAIN other than part-time or temp jobs because he has a pre-existing condition that would make his insurance too expensive. A friend who, after a life of productive work, is living on sufferance and food stamps at another friend’s home. Who gets a job and nearly loses it because he cannot afford to buy the tire that blew on his car on his way home the night before.

    I’ve never cursed anyone and won’t, but you people make it hard to stay sane.

  52. 52
    Michael D. says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I just asked a question to clarify the post because I wasn’t getting what he was saying – NOT, as you seem to think, to argue against it.

    But I would expect nothing less from you, a prick who just makes assumptions based on well, nothing. I’ve actually argued elsewhere that there should be cases where the retirement age is lowered. For example, until we solve the problem of African American men dying earlier than Caucasians, we should LOWER the retirement age for them because right now, African American men get ripped off by the social security system. On the whole, African American men pay into the system at the same rate that the rest of us do and get far less benefit from it.

    So, prick, I am FOR raising the retirement age. But, I would also advocate for a system where the retirement age would adjust based on income levels and in cases where there are systematic issues like I just mentioned. And, while I don’t really understand all the nuances of eliminating the earnings cap, I’d be for doing that as well.

    Contrary to your assumptions, I am not some piece of shit that believes everyone in the population should be treated the same or should receive equal benefit from the system. or has equal opportunity to reap the benefits. I know that there are people far worse off than me that good government can help. I grew up in Canada where, while not perfect, I have seen it work.

    Not that you bothered to ask me for my take on the whole thing before writing your childish response.

  53. 53
    satby says:

    @jrg:
    Hey, about that “lifetime to save”?
    The first time my 401K was raided was when I was left a single mother with 2 preschoolers and $1.68 in cash, my ex had booked after taking the money in our joint checking account.

    10 years later I had built the 401 K back up and had a good job in IT; from which I got laid off in 2002, when over 1 million IT jobs headed offshore. I resisted for several months, but finally had to pull the money out again.

    It’s almost 10 years later, and I had a little nest egg built up again in the 401K. Which lost more than 1/2 it’s value in the Wall Street meltdown.

    I’m 56. Still in IT. Got the highest rating possible in my company last year. My job should be secure right?
    My boss has told me our clients will probably not renew this contract next year, so it’s time for me to look for another job again.
    And dude, I’m one of the LUCKY ones.

  54. 54
    Theron says:

    Raise taxes. Soak the rich. Problem solved. Seriously, 1% of the population holds 40% of the wealth. There’s the source and the solution to most of your economic and fiscal problems right there.

    I used to be on board with raising the retirement age until it was pointed out to me that the guy putting shingles on my roof might have a different take on working at 70 than a white-collar type like myself.

    And I’m not convinced that “fuck the poor” will actually happen. There are few things that would rile the majority of Americans into a bloodthirsty rage, but messing with Social Security is definitely one of them.

  55. 55
    Legalize says:

    Just smoke some fags and play some pool.

  56. 56
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Raising social security age? I Can’t Get Behind That!
    /shatner

  57. 57
    jon says:

    @Legalize: “Pretend you never went to school” might be good advice in this job market.

  58. 58
    jenniebee says:

    It’s wonderful libertarian world, where extending the life-expectancy of proles, aka fellow human beings who work hard and get little for it, aka “Gammas”, past the age of prime utility is a bug, not a feature! You see, what Social Security should be doing is kicking in two years after all those proles were expected to die off, the way it was designed to do. That way, it works the way it should: as a supplement for those of us who sit behind computers and take really tough meetings for a living.

    And the real beauty of it is, we’ll ease into that retirement tut-tutting the whole time about how awful it is that all these other people didn’t plan ahead better. Sure, we had more money to work with. Sure, that more money meant that we had an easier time building good credit, and that means that we bought everything cheaper and were able to move more quickly to secure the better investments. Sure, we also had better health plans which means we were both in better health the whole time and paying less for it. But if the proles deserved those things more than we do, they’d have gotten our jobs instead of being plumbers and whatnot, and then we’d be stuck doing the next best thing that’s in our rational interest, which (let’s face it) would at that point probably be to push for a stronger welfare state. Still, things being as they are, it’s a good thing (for us) that the hoi polloi are too distracted politically to do what we would do in their position. So let’s hear it for those culture warriors and their I-vote-pro-life-from-conception-to-let’s-say-about-52-or-so single issue voting pattern, amirite?

  59. 59
    Bulworth says:

    Actually she was from Greece but she did say she wanted to live like common people. Her dad was loaded. She wanted to sleep with common people, like me. I said I’d see what I could do.

  60. 60
    Peter says:

    The important thing to remember is that we’ve already given. Taxes were raised and benefits cut (including raising the retirement age) in the early 1980s. And everyone working now has been paying higher Social Security taxes to build up the trust fund bond holdings.

    The primitive glibertarians of the 1980s (led by Greenspan) made a deal that cost working people plenty — and now that it comes time for the richer part of the nation to live up to its part of the agreement, they want to back out of it.

    Social Security is not in trouble, unless you dishonestly merge it with Medicare (the troubles of which can only be solved by dealing with the general problems of the health care system, not by tinkering with the program).

    If there is some additional revenue needed, raising the income cap on contributions is the first thing to do — and it won’t eliminate the savings, since the return on taxes paid is lower for those of higher incomes.

    Krugman outlines the scam:

    1. The Greenspan commission recommends tax increases on working-class Americans, plus some benefit cuts, even as Reagan is cutting taxes on the rich. But these tax increases, you see, are dedicated to Social Security.

    2. In 2001, with the US budget in surplus — almost entirely because of the surplus in Social Security — Greenspan warns that we’re paying off our debt too fast, and calls for tax cuts (which mainly favor the rich, of course)

    3. A few years later, with the budget back in deficit, Greenspan calls for, you guessed it, cuts in Social Security.

    What kinds of idiots do they take us for? First class.

  61. 61
    jrg says:

    @satby: I’m not suggesting the elimination of benefits, nor am I suggesting that you were wasteful. I’ve been screwed financially (more than once), as well. Thankfully, I still have time to recover. This is due to luck as much as anything else.

    What I am suggesting is that people would be more open to the idea of raising taxes (particularly for the mega-rich) if we had a real discussion about where our money went, instead of bitching about bear DNA studies and young bucks eating T-bones.

    I’m also suggesting that older people, as an aggregate, have a higher net worth than younger people, who pay more in Social Security. As one of those younger people (35), I’d rather a discussion about benefits take place today, so that I won’t be the one standing without a chair when the music stops.

  62. 62
    John Bird says:

    Here’s how mainstream American discourse works.

    A: “It looks like we’ve underinvested in infrastructure and social security. Bridges are crumbling and working people can’t afford to go to the doctor.”
    B: “But European countries are debating whether they have overinvested in these things! We should continue our current level of investment as a result.”
    A: *REDACTED*

  63. 63
    someguy says:

    Okay, so we don’t fuck the poor, how ’bout this one:

    Raise the shit out of taxes on anybody making over 50th percentile income, and if you have, on the average, made over 50th percentile income, your retirement age is 70. That will be easy to figure because the SSA tracks your earnings year by year for benefits eligibility.

    Everybody else gets to retire at 65.

    Or you can pro-rate it by income level, the more you make the longer you have to work.

    Fuck the rich, I say.

  64. 64
    Scott says:

    Last time I got laid off, the folks at the unemployment office warned me that the current thinking is that age discrimination actually starts hitting around the time you turn 40. So I got that going for me — the next time I get laid off, I can look forward to working a long, long string of retail positions, ’cause no one in my line of work actually wants to hire anyone older than 20.

    Countess de Rugy knows she’ll always be wealthy, so why should she care about what happens to middle-aged/elderly/poor commoners. Michael D. and Sister Machine Gun assume their cushy computer-based jobs will last forever, so why should they give a fuck about dumb construction workers. Of course, whenever they eventually lose their jobs and can’t find work, they’ll be the first to cry that it’s not fair, it’s just not faaaiiirrrrrr…

  65. 65
    malraux says:

    @Mr. Moderate:

    There is nothing magical about 65 except that it was nearly four years above life expectancy for the 1930’s (59.7 in 1930 and 61.7 in 1935).

    No. Or at least No that’s a meaningless statistic. The life expectancy for a newborn was low because newborns died young. The life expectancy for a 65 year old was much more reasonable. Young children who die before entering the workforce greatly screwed the life expectancy numbers, but that has nothing to do with the SS retirement age.

  66. 66
    jrg says:

    @someguy:
    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read all day. First of all, if you’re in the top 50% of earners (in terms of salary), you’re not “rich”. Second, everyone in Bumfuck, Kansas would get to retire at 65 at the expense of people in metropolitan areas, where pay is higher because cost of living is higher.

  67. 67
    Joe Bauers says:

    As several others have pointed out, it’s not just manual laborers who would be screwed. Ever see a 70-year-old doing tech? Me neither.

    We would need a serious readjustment in attitudes and practices. Or, we could tax the people who have all the money so that the rest of us don’t have to work until we drop or decide on a favorite cat food in our old age.

  68. 68
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Michael D.:

    I’ll say it again, you’re a poor man’s Andrew Sullivan. An Andrew Sullivan knock-off. And Sullivan sucks.

    “I’ve actually argued elsewhere that there should be cases where the retirement age is lowered. For example, until we solve the problem of African American men dying earlier than Caucasians, we should LOWER the retirement age for them because right now, African American men get ripped off by the social security system.”

    Nothing but a poor man’s Andrew Sullivan.

  69. 69
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Cynicor: A needs test transforms social security into welfare-like program and then you really create an environment in which it will be easier to cut benefits and destroy it.

  70. 70
    jenniebee says:

    @Xenos: Exactly – I had the same problem with the arguments about how government health insurance would “stifle innovation.” It’s a knee-jerk response, and stupid to boot. What innovation would get stifled? The innovations in how to deny paying for something. Meanwhile, there are people all over the country who don’t go into business for themselves, or who lose their small businesses (where innovation is really happening) because of health insurance. The glibs never saw anything problematic with excluding everybody who had a spouse or a kid with asthma from entrepreneurship. As the social safety net gets stronger, more and more people can afford to do what people who are born into money (and can rely on their family’s connections and private safety net) do as a matter of course: take calculated risks and innovate. But, of course, if everybody can take advantage of the opportunities that are now available only to top earners, that means more competition and fewer proles to exploit, which makes widespread competition and innovation another libertarian bug, not a feature.

  71. 71
    jenniebee says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: eh, he’s improving. At least this time he didn’t refer to African Americans as “young bucks and does.”

  72. 72
    beatty says:

    Saw this on atrios’ site a while back that some here might find helpful.

    ‘And here’s a bit of innumeracy. Who can spot the problem?

    Florida Social Security

    3,547,492: Total number of beneficiaries

    2,441,147: Retired workers

    434,235: Disabled workers

    279,367: Widows

    162,978: Spouses

    229,765: Children

    $3,791,084: Total payout per month

    Source: U.S. Social Security Administration, December 2008.’

    pushing the retirement age back to save money won’t solve anything.

  73. 73
    PurpleGirl says:

    As to raising the retirement age: that’s already been done. For people born between 1943 and 1954 the full retirement age is now 66. If you read those yearly reports SSA sends you, you are told what your age is. For every year between 1955 and 1959 they add two months to the 66 years. From 1960 forward the age is 67.

    And while you can retire early, starting at 62, your benefit is reduced by 25% — permanently. When you hit your normal retirement age, it doesn’t go up.

  74. 74
    Karmakin says:

    The sad thing is that’s exactly the opposite of what should happen. The truth is there’s simply not enough jobs to go around, and there probably won’t be, ever again. So we have to fucking share.

    Lower the retirement age to 55, eliminate the cap on payroll taxes to pay for it, and watch the middle class be restored, because instead of workers competing to the bottom, *gasp* employers will have to compete for workers!

    But no, that’ll never happen because people making good wages is the end of the economic world.

  75. 75
    jibeaux says:

    The low-hanging fruit in Social security solvency has got to be the highest earners. What the hell is Warren Buffett going to do with a social security check? I mean, besides turn it into a million dollars. Phase that shit out.

  76. 76
    MarkJ says:

    I agree with those who have expressed concern about those in their 50s who lose their jobs. I have been following this discussion via Sully, and he has recently posted two “view from your recession” emails from 50-somethings who lost six figure jobs due to the recession and cannot find work of any kind.

    Talk about a case of cognitive dissonance – if you can’t find a job after 50, what’s really the point of raising the retirement age. I’m for tax increases – INCOME tax increases – especially the establishment of higher progressive tax brackets. There is no reason that the 500,000th or millionth dollar you earn should be taxed at the same rate as the 250,000th.

  77. 77
    dadanarchist says:

    Nice reference in the title, mistermix. Never has the class struggle been so tunefully rendered as that album.

    I think this recent Jarvis Cocker track sums up my feelings a bit better, also, too.

  78. 78
    saki says:

    @ malraux #65

    Yes, yes, yes. This always drives me nuts. The CDC has great charts on life expectancy since 1900 based on age.

    In 2004, the remaining life expectancy of a 65 y.o. was about 18 years.

    In the 1930s, it was about 13 years.

  79. 79
    YellowJournalism says:

    Might be good to note, too, that people don’t stay in the same job for 40 years now like they used to. Between us, my husband and I have had about eight different jobs in the last fifteen years. Six of those were after we finished our educations.

    My husband had an excellent job in IT with great benefits (health and other extras), stock options, and a retirement plan. He was laid off a week before the birth of our second son, thanks to outsourcing. If we didn’t have our own small business and his former company hadn’t been decent enough to let us keep the benefits for a few extra months on top of a nice send-off check, we would have been screwed in the first months after baby’s birth.

  80. 80
    Michael D. says:

    @jenniebee:

    At least this time he didn’t refer to African Americans as “young bucks and does.”

    Nor have I EVER.

  81. 81
    someguy says:

    @jrg:

    First of all, if you’re in the top 50% of earners (in terms of salary), you’re not “rich”. Second, everyone in Bumfuck, Kansas would get to retire at 65 at the expense of people in metropolitan areas, where pay is higher because cost of living is higher.

    Fine. Then norm it within your region. If you’re under 50th %-ile in rural Kansas, you get more. If you’re over, you get less / work longer. Have a couple special districts that you consider all on their own – e.g. Wichita, Topeka/Lawrence, and KC_KS. That’s fair, right?

  82. 82
    Barry says:

    satby: “I’m always facinated by the fact that people who are successful, well paid writers think that wait staff, factory workers, laborers, construction workers, hospital staff, etc. all will physically be able to work full time till age 70.

    Their rose colored glasses must be goggles, and opaque.
    Or they’re just hateful, unempahetic wankers.
    Hmmm, which to choose? ”

    Both. And as pundits, they don’t face layoffs (unless they turn leftist). They’ll have a secure job until long after they’re unable to do it – what else are unpaid interns for?).

    Econ professors tend to support this, for the obvious reason – as we’ve seen being flat out wrong has not repercussions for a tenured professor, and dishonesty
    (in a right-wing direction) is part of the ethics of the field.

  83. 83
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @mistermix: Agreed.

  84. 84
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    The solution to this is to create a two tiered system, so that blue collar workers can collect earlier than white collar workers.

    I was actually about to suggest something like this. The problem is that the “retirement age” is completely arbitrary and favors people white collar workers and especially better paid white collar workers, since the better paid you are the more likely you are to have a staff to handle all the menial crap.

    How about a point based system? You are awarded 2 points for every year spent on a typical white collar job, 3 points for every year spent on a physically demanding job like construction or trucking, or 4 points for every year spent in a hazardous job like mining, law enforcement or firefighting. You only get 1 point for every year you spend unemployed or otherwise not drawing a salary (I’m talking to you Paris Hilton). Your points are tabulated along with your tax returns.

    When you accumulate 80 or so points, you are eligible to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. So a cop or a miner can get Federal benefits after 20 years on the force, a construction worker after about 27 years, and a secretary after 40 years.

    Thoughts?

  85. 85
    Citizen Alan says:

    @toujoursdan:

    As nice as it would be to expect everyone to save for their own retirement, it’s not going to happen.

    It’s not a question of expecting people to save. Our economic policies actively discourage people from saving by keeping the interests rates low out of an hysterical fear of inflation. I recently cashed out my state retirement because I only worked for Mississippi for 5 years, I don’t plan to ever work for it again, and the pittance that I had in that I wouldn’t be able to touch for another 25 years would yield something on the order of $15 a month.

    Until quite recently, buying a house in an area where prices were rising was seen as a much smarter form of retirement planning than just putting that same amount into a CD that you net you a few extra hundred bucks every year.

  86. 86
    Sloegin says:

    All the boobs arguing about hiking the retirement age (sure people live longer, their productive lifespans haven’t increased) don’t remember a time when you were legally obligated to take care of your parents, have them move in with you, and such. Those laws were mostly taken off the books by the 1970s.

    Social Security means two things. First, the biggest killer of old people (malnutrition and diseases where malnutrition is the primary factor) was wiped out; second, the elderly get some freedom to live their lives independently of their children. Social security is a backstop for all the people screwed out of their retirements.

    Go ahead and hike the retirement age. Just make sure to have a room in your house for for either or both sets of your parents in a few years.

    And be prepared to starve to death in your old age.

  87. 87
    Quiddity says:

    Raising the retirement age = defaulting on the special Social Security Treasury Bonds.

  88. 88
    ruemara says:

    Sitting here, next to an adult male who’s been unemployed for nearly 2.5 years, who’s over 40 and nursing an immense, untreated, unacknowledged depression over his future as we are now both 401k-less and facing a possible foreclosure, I could throttle any glibertarian I could reach.

    I have serious plans on when I will take my own life, because I have no more future. My career ended at 31, when I developed serious health problems. I’m over them, but hey, who wants a gimp on cane in the glamorous design world. I’m working now, for less than standard pay in a part time job that’s the only thing I could find with permanence in a decade of trying.

    Fuck this bitch and fuck americans who keep voting like they’ll be this bitch if baby jesus will just slip some good lotto numbers into their dreams. This problem goes back over the past 60 years and idiots just keep on going with what’s taking them down.

  89. 89
    Barry says:

    @smith: “Michael D: My dad worked 44 years in a leather factory before retiring at 65.
    He was tired. I don’t think he would have lived to 76 had he continued working 5 more years.
    I guess raising the retirement age would solve the SS problem by eliminating a lot of people who paid into it for years. ”

    Not only that, but it’s amazing that the factory hadn’t relocated to Mexico, or Asia long before he retired. There aren’t too many jobs (aside from punditry or econowh*redom) where one can hope to work in one’s field until retirement these days. Which wouldn’t be bad, until one is on the street at age 50 or 60, with 30 years of now-considered-irrelevant experience.

  90. 90
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @Scott:
    That is crap. As someone who is a lesbian, I am more than familiar with discrimination. So, I can tell you, personally, how incidious it can be. Again, the solution to dealing with discrimination isn’t to pay people to get out of the workplace. It is to tackle the ACTUAL DISCRIMINATION. Raise the retirement age, and the people who are actively engaging in discrimination against older workers now face a greater risk of being discriminated against themselves. Unlike discrimination against minorities, everyone will get older unless they die.

    And did I not state that there should be a different system for laborers and white collar workers?!

    To the person who commented about why are people talking about cutting SS when medicare is the real fiscal issue, raising the retirement age solves both.

  91. 91
    Barry says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: “When the system was set up, the great majority of people died before they ever collected a dime of it.”

    Incorrect. From various sources, life expectancy *at birth* was ~60 in 1930, and demographers were well aware of things (I recall seeing their projections back then for the percent of the population over age 65 by 2000, and it was almost dead on).

    Life expectancy *at age 18* would have been higher, and demographers would have been well aware of the improvements to be expected over the next few decades.

  92. 92
    Barry says:

    What I also find crazy up about ‘when the system was set up…’ comments was that when SS was set up, domestic and agricultural workers were not included. Any guesses as to the black-white breakdown there?

    It’s amazing how many people feel that the 1930’s were some place whose standards we should live *down* to.

  93. 93
    Mr. Moderate says:

    If this thread isn’t the example of a stereotypical liberal whine fest I don’t know what is.

  94. 94
    jake the snake says:

    Gliberatarians never fail the remind me of this exchange in
    “Unforgiven”
    “You son-of-a-bitch, you shot an unarmed man!”
    “He should have armed himself.”

    As far as life expectancy, at 58, I consider myself approaching borrowed time. My father died at 65
    and was the longest-lived male in his family. The others
    I know of, including my older brother, did not make it past 60.

  95. 95
    Barry says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    “@Scott:
    That is crap. As someone who is a lesbian, I am more than familiar with discrimination. So, I can tell you, personally, how incidious it can be. ”

    That’s odd, because you don’t sound like it.

    “Again, the solution to dealing with discrimination isn’t to pay people to get out of the workplace. It is to tackle the ACTUAL DISCRIMINATION. ”

    Tell you what – go do that, and when you’re done I promise that I for one will listen to you seriously and respectfully.

    “Raise the retirement age, and the people who are actively engaging in discrimination against older workers now face a greater risk of being discriminated against themselves. Unlike discrimination against minorities, everyone will get older unless they die.”

    Garbage. Glibertarian, Milton Friedwh*rian garbage.

  96. 96
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @Barry: Some data for you from Moody link. This doesn’t take into account people who die before 65, but since 65 is the magic number of SS, we do have a metric of how long people are statistically on SS after starting benefits. As you can see life expectancy for someone 65 years old went from 12.2 in 1930 to 17.7 in 1997, and it’s probably higher now. So adjusting to 70 would put us in the original time span window for the whole population.

  97. 97
    Calouste says:

    Appropriate title considering the New York Times is Pulp.

  98. 98
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @Barry: Here’s the second link to show the demographic problem. From the SSA you have the same numbers I quoted above, showing that the average person is living 5.5 years longer after 65 than in the 1930’s. The SSA link shows that whereas just over half the male population and 60% of women reached the age where they’d collect benefits it is now 72% and 83%. I wonder what that cut-off age for ~50-60% of the population would be now?

    Simply raising taxes on the rich isn’t going to fix this fundamental demographics problem. You have 50% more of the population reaching 65 and when they get there they are there more than 5 years longer. Those numbers are up even from the early 80’s when things were adjusted the last time. “Just raise taxes” is the left equivalent of the right’s “just privatize” mantra. It’s overly reductionist to say the least.

  99. 99
    malraux says:

    @Mr. Moderate: You could look at the explosion of productivity numbers over the same period which rather well counterbalances people living longer.

    And I love how your linked citation says how your first claim is full of shit. That’s a good indication that you really have no idea what you’re talking about.

  100. 100
    jcricket says:

    I don’t understand why this is so complicated for supposedly smart people like Sully to understand.

    Social Security’s fiscal problems are incredibly tiny, and do not require drastic action of ANY kind to fix. Simply raise the payroll tax cap, or implement a donut hole and raise it on people who make more than $250k in income. Boom, problem solved for the next 75+ years. Frankly, I think starting with the donut hole and then allowing the cap to rise naturally (as it does with inflation) until there’s no hole would make the system pretty darn fair.

    A lot of our revenue problems could be solved similarly. Raise income, capital gains and corporate taxes back to where they were under Clinton or slightly higher. Eliminate the more egregious tax breaks/subsidies for big businesses. End the two wars we’re in and reduce military spending by 30% (we’d still be at like 5x the nearest country). This isn’t hard. Why does it always have to be about cutting benefits? The level of “benefits” in this country suck – our infrastructure is crumbling, SS barely pays for subsistence living, the schools are broken, healthcare is a mess (and not guaranteed) and so on. We’re hardly anywhere near the tax rates of other countries whose economies are (normally) doing just fine growth wise, so excuse me if I think benefit cuts should be the last thing we turn to.

    As others have pointed out, continuing to raise the retirement age works for bloggers and other rich white folks, but not so good for anyone else. Hell, even white collar workers like me would find ourselves pretty screwed if we’re out of work in our late 60s and the retirement age was, say, 72.

    Medicare is, of course, entirely different. But conservatives and sympathetics like Sully want to manufacture an “entitlement crisis” so they can gut programs they think are bad b/c the government provides them and the private sector is cut out. F’ that.

  101. 101
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @malraux. How does what I wrote claim I’m full of shit? My first post talked about increased life expectancy making people live longer on SSI. Bruce locked onto how that number was artificial because of infant births, so I dug up numbers showing that life expectancy for those reaching 65 was higher and the percentage of the population living to that age was substantially higher. You disagree with any of those facts, then produce some numbers that contradict that. My fundamental point is that there is a legitimate demographic problem that needs to be addressed in the SSI system. I’m not talking about the BS right wing talking point of 10 workers to 1 payee in the 1930’s that was never assumed to be the constant case even from its first moment of inception. I’m talking about increases that were not accounted for even when things were re-based in the 1980’s.

    Your comment on productivity numbers is irrelevant to this conversation but very relevant to the discussion of individual compensation. Since SSI is tied to income if increases in productivity had been actualized as increases in salary as well then the system would be in slightly better but not great conditions when factoring in the demographics shift. Unfortunately this has not been the case, especially from the 1980’s on and much more especially from 1999 on. Inflation adjusted wages are at best flat over the last ten years. That’s a major problem in and of itself, but not the primary issue with the SSI demographics issue.

  102. 102
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @jcricket: You are right slight modifications like changing payroll tax and increasing the retirement age slightly will make the system solvent indefinitely. I didn’t see anyone here talking about drastic actions like scrapping the system or anything like that.

  103. 103
    malraux says:

    @Mr. Moderate: It not that you are factually wrong, its that you are quoting statistics that aren’t relevant. The fact that you thought that the infant death rate in the 30s had a huge impact on SSI shows that you are rather uniformed on the subject, as your later link explained. Having a link that explains how uninformed on a subject you are is not a good thing.

  104. 104
    jcricket says:

    @Mr. Moderate: My point is – you don’t need to raise the retirement age. You could, but you could just as easily raise the payroll tax _cap_ (and maybe the rate a tiny bit on everyone) and achieve solvency without incurring the problem that raising the retirement age does.

  105. 105
    Jager says:

    @Joe Bauers:

    A friend with over 40 years of experience, 30 in management got the boot last spring. His contract had a 100k severance plan. At his seperation session, he was pushed into signing a severance deal for 22k (they had the check ready) or it was implied they would tie him up in legal issues for better than a year. He signed. He is going to work next week selling BMWs after over a year of looking for a job comparable to what he had been doing. The BMW store loves him because ‘he can talk to their clientel” that, and he owns very nice suits. At 65 he will be working until 9 at night, Saturdays and Sundays too with a 6 day week. A pay cut, yes, from over 4k a week plus bonuses to 400 a week plus commission. BTW, He was replaced with a 36 year old who fucked things up so badly, he was fired in 5 months! The American Way, my friends, the American Way!

  106. 106
    Mr. Moderate says:

    @jcricket. I haven’t seen statistics which corroborate that simply raising the cap will address the issue. The last I studied it in depth was when the GOP was trying to demolish the program in its entirety, so perhaps you have stats which are more current you could link to.

    @malraux. If I had claimed we should index to the delta between 1930 and now in life expectancy then you’d have a point. I spelled out that I wasn’t stating that but instead highlighting that some age adjustment was necessary. In comment#18 I state, “I’m not advocating making it that far up, but let’s not lose perspective that the system is far out of whack compared to where it was when it was established.” I could resort to responding to your ad hominem attacks with my own back to you but what would be the point? You obviously are not trying to have a dialog but instead cross your arms across your chest and pout about how unfair everything is. I don’t see the point in engaging in that kind of dialog. Oh wait, that was ad hominem of me, sorry. I couldn’t help it. Sorry, I had my fill of debating douchebags on right wing blogs. I wasn’t expecting to find it here. I guess I was wrong. Darn, there’s that ad hominem again.

  107. 107
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @jcricket:
    While I didn’t clarify it, I don’t object to raising the payroll tax cap. Both raising that cap AND raising the retirement age will be necessary for SS and Medicare to remain solvent. Contrary to what the people in this thread who are in absolute denial about problem might think, I want SS and Medicare to still exist in the future.

    “As someone who is a lesbian, I am more than familiar with discrimination. So, I can tell you, personally, how incidious it can be. ”
    That’s odd, because you don’t sound like it.

    I have lived long enough to actually watch attitudes change as people, like me, have come out to their friends, family, and coworkers. So yes, when people know someone who has been discriminated against, their attitudes change. That is hardly glibitarian BS. But whatever. Live in a magic world where future workers will have no trouble financing a large portion of retirees collecting government checks for 40 years.

  108. 108
    IM says:

    Live in a magic world where future workers will have no trouble financing a large portion of retirees collecting government checks for 40 years.

    Wait a moment. You envision a future where the live expectancy is 40 further years at age 67 and many americans live to 107 years?

    Wow. The US is still a very optimistic country!

  109. 109
    malraux says:

    @Mr. Moderate: Pointing out that someone doesn’t know what they are talking about isn’t ad hominem. At best, I’m using the genetic fallicy, that is, pointing out that because you don’t know what you’re talking about, your argument must be invalid.
    There are a bunch of options for fixing SS beyond just raising tax rates or retirement ages. First, I’m unconvinced that there’s much of a problem, because the mechanism by which the trust fund calculates how long it will last tends to underestimate growth, which makes the situation seem dire. Second, even if there’s a problem, there’s not a lot justifying doing anything right now as building up the trust fund is just an invitation for politicians to raid it, thus waiting till there is a problem is a better solution.

    Were it me, I’d go for increasing legal immigration to increase the pool of younger workers thus building up how much money is coming in. Maybe that’s just kicking the can down the road, but I tend to think that any economic forecasts greater than 50-75 years down the road are guesses at best.

  110. 110
    Vico says:

    @mistermix: THX

    for the Cocker reference, even if you didn’t mean it. He has a gift for lyrics.

  111. 111
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @IM:

    Wait a moment. You envision a future where the live expectancy is 40 further years at age 67 and many americans live to 107 years?

    I work in medical research. The number of centenarians living in this country is increasing rapidly every year. Advances in treating long term ailments happen at a dizzying pace. So, yes, I don’t think that is unrealistic at all.

  112. 112
    Rebecca says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    How many points do retail monkeys get? I think we should get more than white collar workers.

  113. 113
    goatchowder says:

    Eliminate the income cap on Social Security taxes for rich people. Problem solved.

    Indeed “this won’t be popular” with rich fuck-the-poor columnists who write drivel like that.

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