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Friday, October 28, 2016

Q: In a recent column, you talked about the large percentage of people who are living on their Social Security checks. You called them unlucky. I don’t think they’re unlucky. I think they were lazy and didn’t do a very good job of planning for the future.

I am really worried that we are turning into a welfare state and that young people today are relying too much on the government to take care of them, as opposed to taking care of themselves, as my generation did. I blame the nanny-state government for all of this.

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  • pbillp65

    First off, SSA is not GOVERNMENT taking care of us. It is a Law that was enacted to force all Americans in partnership with their employer, many of whom could not afford a retirement plan because they were way too small, to put a percentage of our income into a savings plan that couldn’t be touched until you reached a specific retirement age. The program was designed like a standard annuity that one could buy from any insurance company, the big difference between SSA and a private annuity plan is overhead costs are minimal with SSA. The Government isn’t taking care of anybody here. The Government, which if you haven’t forgotten is WE THE PEOPLE of the United States is literally forcing people like your parents who never had a dime to put into a retirement program, to put money aside for when they can no longer work or find gainful employment.

    Your contention that the younger generations are investing more for their retirement makes me wonder what country you are living in? With the loss of decent paying jobs, everyone of the under 35 group will not have any money to invest in a 401K program, so they are being forced to retire with SSA as their only source of retirement income. If you think this is not true, look out the front door at you local Occupy Wall Street movement. What do you think this is all about? Kids just having fun for the afternoon because they are too lazy to work?

    The crux of the matter is that when government administered programs like SSA and Medicare have proven to be much more efficient, secure, and less costly to run than a for profit program. I don’t see any ads on TV for Government run Medicare, but I see tons of ads and mailers and robo calls for Medicare Advantage Programs run by for profit companies like Blue Cross and Aetna and Coventry etc etc etc. How do you think those companies, pay for those expensive advertising campaigns? Out of your premium, which of course will be going up now that the “Government” is no longer subsidizing these plans. And the funny part is they don’t do anything more than write a check to the doctor or hospital, just like Medicare does. Yet there costs are 20 to 30% higher. The same for Social Security whose overhead is less than 5%, vs 20 to 30% for your 401K plan administration. Think about it.

  • RebecahAnn

    I can not believe someone that works for Social Security knows so little about the program, and our government. I hated paying taxes and social security, but now I am ever so grateful that I did. Our government is suppose to be of the people for the people by the people, but unfortunately it has not been that kind of government for over 30 years, thanks to the 1% buying and owning our politicians, the insane Republican party, and corrupt politicians.

    Growing up I was afraid that I would have nothing to live on when I got older, and tried very hard to find a job that provided a retirement fund. I was never fortunate enough to do so. I had wanted to be a mom to my children, but I wasn’t allowed to in our society. There were very few jobs that paid more then $6 an hour. I went back to school in my mid 30’s and graduated with a 3.68 grade point average, but still had a difficult time finding work for much more then $10 an hour. Most of my life I worked at least two jobs and struggled making ends meet. There was never enough money to save for my retirement. I didn’t live high on the hog, nor did I have credit cards. I lived in a mobile home, or an apartment, and raised my 3 daughters myself the twenty dollars a week for child support they got was very little help, and rarely paid.

    Was I unlucky, maybe! Was I stupid…well I doubt anyone could say I am stupid with my grade point average, so no. I feel I was used by the people I worked for, because they didn’t pay me fairly, and they got away with it because our government didn’t protect us from their greed.

    Our government should be protecting it’s citizens from greedy companies that do not pay their employees fairly, we need a stronger government, not a weaker, smaller government. We need our government to protect us from the evil that capitalism creates.

  • Mgene

    Lazy is investing your excess money in capitalism,so that the younger investors and the rise in cost for the capitalist can pay for your retirement! THERE IS A NEED FOR CAPITALISM, but not at the expence of the UNLUCKY!!!

  • jwozniak

    Allow me to present a reality-based case study for the compassion-impaired crowd. My late for was a coal miner, born in 1917. He began work at age 12 because, hey, it was the Great Depression and back then there was no social safety net to help feed and clothe his brother and numerous sisters in rural Bobtown, PA. Good thing he chose my mother as his wife, because she snatched every paycheck from his hands and invested wisely, not that a lifetime of saving is helping in the end.

    My dad’s health began to fail precipitously nine years ago. He went blind. Lost the remainder of his damaged hearing. Had his leg amputated following a MRSA infection. Developed dementia wherein he was reliving his 30s-era coal mining days. He was a 50-year man with J&L, retired when the company went belly-up as a foreman, an expert in the field frequently called upon by the managers of troubled mines. But in his head, he was a young man just starting out.

    During the seven years when he required skilled nursing care, we burned through over 100K of savings, just like that. Medicare paid for little. And now my mom is in the same skilled nursing facility, dying of, among other things, chronic lung disease. Medicare pays, of course, for little.
    Maxus Energy, the successor to my dad’s former employer, is cutting off her major medical insurance at the end of December, and I will somehow make up the difference. The Wall Street meltdown cost my parents $30K of their savings, and we could do nothing to prevent this. I’m somehow trying to make up the loss, by working grueling hours in my IT business and gouging a few customers whom I know can afford me doing so. Basic capitalism.

    I love my mom. I’ll do anything to protect her. Some of her less than competent caregivers can attest to this, when they suddenly encountered my pit bull persona. I’d even sell one of my diabetic kidneys, if the price was right, just to maintain her current level of care.

    Of course, if you’re a Tea Party cultist, you probably thing I should do the right-wing thing and simply let her die. Compassion free. Conscience free. Well, bite me! She’s my mom! Her lifetime of saving nets her $600 and change every month, since my dad’s death two years ago. Should she get nothing?

  • nevadarose

    Things have not changed when you consider the government only allows 600 per child for day care on income tax when the day care can cost up to 200 per week and more depending on how many children you have going. When we price the basics making it impossible for people to save. There was a time one could get ahead but when you add the cost of medical insurance which by the way is over priced one can not afford to save. Think about it. We actually figure older people are sicker then the younger. Do not agree as I have never had a major surgery. I now pay as much for food for 2 to 3 people that I paid to feed 10. Now you tell me what is wrong with this picture. We need to make it so the rich pay more taxes and give back to the people who need it the most. Please don’t tell me everything is relative to the times as I know better and I live on 1200.00 per month. Yes we make it and it is tough but I also do not have to pay rent or a house note, can sew, can and cook from scratch which is cheaper and do most of all my repairs myself. Thank God for my upbringing teaching me to live within my means and the Spanish stores produce as it has been a life saver when you compare it to stores like Smiths that are way over priced. People can’t stay healthy if they can’t eat right. WE REALLY NEED TO RETHINK HOW MUCH WE ARE CHARGING FOR FOOD. WE FEED THE WORLD BUT DO NOT TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN!!!

  • imquiltercb

    I don’t think most people are lazy or unlucky. Life is full of unexpected happenings. Health problems, changes in manufacturing and the 2008 crash certainly changed the outcome for my husband and myself. We did better than our parents seemingly, but they had pensions and solid savings as well as Social Security to retire on and lived well in retirement, which started when they were 57 and lasted almost 25 years. I don;t think we can ever afford to retire. Who knows what will happen to my son and his family if things don’t change. We set up our country to enable everyone to have the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But now the game is rigged. Our founding fathers knew that if the citizens who ran the government were not right minded, they were targets for corruption and tried to set up enough checks and balances to avoid the problem. But the success of the venture depended on an informed citizenry. Today many people tell me they do not vote because they don’t have time to study the issues or it is too confusing. We the people let this situation develop, we can work to make it better. Get informed, get involved and VOTE.