(Doonesbury via GoComics.com – click link for full-sized image)
No real surprises — most of us here have been in this situation, are in this situation, or have people close to us currently suffering. But now we have a media-friendly moniker, per Catherine Rampell at the NYTImes, when “Older Isn’t Better, It’s Brutal“:
… In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.
These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.
Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”
New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care. …
In a survey by the center of older workers who were laid off during the recession, just one in six had found another job, and half of that group had accepted pay cuts. Fourteen percent of the re-employed said the pay in their new job was less than half what they earned in their previous job. …
“It just doesn’t make sense to offer retraining for people 55 and older,” said Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin. “Discrimination by age, long-term unemployment, the fact that they’re now at the end of the hiring queue, the lack of time horizon just does not make it sensible to invest in them.” …
Or, as Matt Yglesias cheerfully parses it:
… It really can’t be emphasized enough that this is the precise inverse of the entitlements problem. Failure to provide adequate social services to unemployed 61-year-olds not only saves money because you don’t need to pay for the benefits, it saves even more money when it leads to that guy dying at 71 rather than 74. To some, those are three extra years to spend with your grandkids. But to the Congressional Budget Office, that’s just more Social Security checks and more Medicare bills.