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View Diary: How America Is Eating Its Young (98 comments)

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  •  One major factor is missing from this analysis: (59+ / 0-)

    Student loans, which now total more than consumer credit. Years of underinvestment in higher education have resulted in tuition casts rising much faster than general inflation. Tompay these costs most students have had to take loans far in excess of what their parents did, the result being that they are saddled with high levels of debt even before they enter the (lousy) full-time job market. In turn, acquisition of homes, starting of families, and full participation in the economy is retarded. They are essentially starting their turn at bat with 2 strikes.

    •  The analysis is very weak. 80% of over age 47 (34+ / 0-)

      are utterly screwed because they don't have any wealth or savings for retirement. The highly skewed distribution of wealth has pounded the 30 somethings, but it has also pounded 80% of all other age groups. Only the top 20% has increased wealth and the big gains in wealth are concentrated in the top 1%.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 11:27:19 PM PDT

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      •  I disagree with your emphasis. (13+ / 0-)

        The crisis facing older Americans is not so much equity but medical.  It's unrealistic to expect people in their late 70s to early 80s to live on their own, for the generation as a whole, yet that's exactly what the level of planning is for this country. There is so little discussion of aging except for worry about SS and Medicare that I have to wonder if flat-out mass delusion needs to be suggested as the cause.

        We know because we don't have enough geriatricians, we don't have enough nurses, we don't have enough nursing homes, and we don't have enough assisted living homes. This is a national policy failure. Yes, equity comes into play for affording those things. But there's not enough supply. We knew this was coming a long time ago. It was unrealistic to rely on investments in land and 401ks to finance medical care and other living expenses for decades of elderhood for everybody. It's not just the historian's fallacy that real estate is speculative: this was well known from centuries of economic analysis but somehow forgotten in the 1990s.

        While senior poverty is shocking and will get worse, it's the eldercare crisis brewing that will outrage us the most. Expect abuse so rampant that current conditions will be preferable. Expect drug/medication abuse to skyrocket.

        Getting progressive states to hurry up on single payer is the best we can do. A lot of elders are going to die in conditions that will be horrifying.

        But none of that in any way eclipses the very real monstrosity of what has been done to younger Americans often with the most ageist excuses I have ever seen.

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

        by Nulwee on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 12:51:42 AM PDT

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      •  Agree, the analysis is insufficient. (11+ / 0-)

        The distortions caused by the 1% alone are significant. Like the observation that when Bill Gates walks into a crowded room the average net worth of everyone else goes way up. So it is with these numbers. The true story for 80% of us is worse through all age groups.

        And comparisons to our counterparts prior to the 1980's is muddled as well. In that period the mayority of our workforce had the expectation of some type of pension or work funded retirement. Not any more. Saving for their children's college was not remotely the obstacle it is today, likewise with the cost of health insurance and out of pocket health care costs. Changes in law have also made it harder for normal folks to discharge debt, things like medical costs and student loans. In this country, and only this country, the number and rate of medical bankruptcies alone has a deteriorating impact on multi-generations of a family.

        The truth for 80% of us is much worse that the statisitcs presented in the chart indicate. America, except for its wealthy, is in decline, and has been for more than a generation.

      •  Agree and disagree, both (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FishOutofWater, burlydee

        Yes, we over age 47 have little wealth or savings and sometimes big medical expenses, but at least some of our safety net is still in place.  The ones that come after us are/will be worse off because of several factors: student loans, jobs being out sourced or just plain disappearing and having dependent children ... not to mention that the safety net is being removed for them.

        I see it in my own children.  They do not have the expectations of a better life that I hac when I finished college.

        "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

        by CorinaR on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 01:17:26 PM PDT

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        •  Respectfully, the entire national discussion since (0+ / 0-)

          the President came into office and appointed the Fiscal Commission has been about austerity, and cutting the social safety net for EVERYONE.

          How is it that you believe that Boomers will be exempt from cuts?   It's certainly not what I'm hearing.  ;-)

          Mollie

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:06:24 PM PDT

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          •  I did not say that ... (0+ / 0-)

            I said that we had some of our safety net in place but the others will have even less ... yes, they are cutting everyone's but cutting more from the younger ones than from the present Boomers.  The numbers are such that they are cutting more from the younger ones by raising the eligible age and by the Chanined CPI (which cuts more as it goes).

            But then, I really am not good with numbers

            "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

            by CorinaR on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:14:20 AM PDT

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            •  Then maybe you're already retired. Obviously, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aaa T Tudeattack

              that makes a major difference.  [Clearly, I don't know your status, or anyone else's here.  ;-)]

              But by far, MOST of the Boomer Generation cohort IS NOT yet retired, and if the Democrats [who are leading the charge to cut entitlements via 'the Grand Bargain'] have their way, folks 58, 60, etc., today, will also have their benefits severely cut.

              THAT IS, if they adopt the Bowles-Simpson proposal.

              Again, if you're a current retiree, you may not care about this.

              Your might want to read progressive economist Dean Baker's diaries over at FDL.  He dispels a lot of the misconceptions that I'm trying to address.  

              Here's the link to the Bowles-Simpson proposal The Moment Of Truth.

              Anyone who has not yet retired, really ought to read the chapter on Social Security Reform.  [Be sure and bring a 'crying towel with your, LOL!]

              It will be 'near' eviscerated for all but current retirees, IF all the Bowles-Simpson proposals which have been recommended are adopted and implemented.

              Even (IL) US Rep Jan Schakowsky agrees that the cuts will be deep, and very harmful to seniors.  

              Here's an excerpt and link to her Reuters Op-Ed entitled "The Sham Of Simpson-Bowles."

              . . . It has been nearly two years since the commission they chaired, which I served on, finished its work. The duo’s proposal has attained almost mythical status in Washington as the epitome of what a “grand bargain” should look like.

              But everyone look again. They will discover that it is far less than meets the eye.

              Have Simpson-Bowles’ champions read it? Given any real scrutiny, this plan falls far short of being a serious, workable or reasonable proposal – from either an economic or political analysis. . . .

              Under Simpson-Bowles, long-term solvency for Social Security is achieved mostly by cutting benefits. Seventy-five years out, the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases is 4 to 1.

              They propose raising the age of full Social Security benefits to 69 – claiming that everyone is living longer. But a sizable percentage of Americans, mostly lower-income workers, especially women, are actually living shorter lives, and a large chunk of other Americans just can’t work that long – even if they can find a job. Their plan cuts benefits for current and future retirees by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment.

              For future retirees, all these changes taken together would reduce the average annual benefit for middle-income workers – those with annual earnings of $43,000 to $69,000 – by up to 35 percent.

              Just food for thought.  ;-)

              Mollie

              "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              hiddennplainsight

              by musiccitymollie on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:55:08 AM PDT

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              •  I'm going to post a video on "raising the (0+ / 0-)

                retirement" age, and it's effects during the blogathon.

                You may be interested in watching it, since an expert explains the cut.  ;-)

                Mollie

                "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                hiddennplainsight

                by musiccitymollie on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:59:13 AM PDT

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      •  Of course it has. As I posted in another diary, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask

        the majority of the wealth that was lost in the "crash," was the Boomer's, since naturally it was older folks who held most of the wealth.

        Dean Baker writes about this all the time at Fire Dog Lake.

        The President of the [Democratic] DLC testified before the Fiscal Commission that folks should be looking at working 'well into their eighth decade of life.'  

        That may be one reason that the Administration is getting ready to push through the Grand Bargain, and the Bowles-Simpson framework, which includes so many draconian cuts to the social safety net.

        Perhaps the PtB plan to do away with retirement.  Who knows?

        Mollie

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:01:22 PM PDT

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        •  Meant to link to transcript of Democratic DLC (0+ / 0-)

          President Edward Gresser's testimony to the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission.

          Apparently, he thinks that Dems should back "rethinking retirement."

          Here's a brief excerpt and a link to his testimony.

          Rethink Retirement.

          If we reduce the number of physically and mentally fit people who choose to retire in their late 60s and early 70s, we reduce the government’s entitlement spending
          obligations
          . The simplest approach is to raise the retirement age, at minimum for workers in less physically demanding jobs. Other options could include offering ways to mix part-time and on-line work with partial Social Security benefits after age 67 and into the eighth decade of life, with somewhat higher benefits for in exchange for later retirement. . . .

          For what it's worth:  My advice to young people today would be to get some actual liberal Dems elected, if you really want to do something about college costs and retirement benefits.  

          'Cause it seems to me, that electing corporatist Dems ain't gettin' it!  ;-)

          Mollie

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:15:20 PM PDT

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    •  Another major factor... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, lcrp, MPociask

      ..the illusion of education reform. Has anybody really looked at what the US DOE's prescription for education does to the human mind?

      Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

      by semioticjim on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 10:53:28 AM PDT

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