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USA Next and the Slime Campaign

Today Paul Krugman of The New York Times notes:

The right wants to dismantle Social Security, a successful program that is a pillar of stability for working Americans. AARP stands in the way. So without a moment's hesitation, the usual suspects declared that this organization of staid seniors is actually an anti-soldier, pro-gay-marriage leftist front.

Another NYT article by Glen Justice earlier this week identified one of the â??suspectsâ? as the lobbying group, USA Next. Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next, had a bit more acerbic description of the AARP â??staid seniorsâ?:

'We are going to take them on in hand-to-hand combat,' said Mr. Jarvis, who is biting in his remarks about AARP, calling the group 'stodgy, overweight, bureaucratic and out of touch.'

Stodgy? Out of touch? It seems to me that this organization is a powerful force in our culture. Just ask all those vital people nearing their fiftieth birthday. Frequent mailings from AARP are almost a rite of passage at the tender age of fifty, before those living a mere half a century can even qualify for some of their local community â??senior citizenâ? discounts.

Mr. Jarvis wants hand-to-hand combat? He should take another look. AARP is preparing its membership mentally and physically.

AARP wants to strengthen, not destroy Social Security by offering its members combat weapons like researched information and even an AARP Social Security blog.

And to garner stamina for the fray, members can follow through on suggestions for such â??out of touchâ? exercise as cross-training, martial arts, and yoga.

Top that off with continuing media exposure of slime tactics by some advertising campaigns, and well, letâ??s just say that those fifty and over arenâ??t ready to lie down and play dead, or even stupid.

Comments

There is no doubt that Social Security is headed for trouble and in need of reform and repair. As is, and as I understand it, there is nothing on the table to solve the problems of all. Baby boomers who've paid in their whole lives are not going to get out of it what was promised. That's a given. I regret that I have no better answers, though.

Then there are all of the twitchy twists and spins being put on the issue, such as the injection of racial discord by "our" administration over the distribution of funds.

That was just a small sample of how the issues will become ever more convoluted and "unfair" to all participants, thus justifying "our" administrations solutions to the problems. Problems which will continue to unfold, I'm sure, as the need arises.

I'm still scratching my head over my most recent annual social security statement (which I don't really read with more than a grain of salt, anyway). It says in part:

*Retirement: You have earned enough credits to qualify for benefits. At your current earnings rate, if you stop working and start receiving benefits...
At age 62, your payment would be about $915 a month.
If you continue working until age (66 and 2 months), your payment would be about $1,227 a month.
Age 70, your payment would be about $1,603 a month.

*Survivors: You have earned enough credits for your family to recieve the following benefits if you die this year:
Your spouse who is caring for your child $1,189 a month
Your spouse who reaches full retirement age $1,586 a month

Okay..... so my spouse NOW would receive upon my demise more for NOT caring for a child than I would recieve if I continued to work for the next decade or so? Or something like that?

But it's all meaningless, because the "*" part of that states:
"Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2042, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 73 percent of scheduled benefits."

This is very much like the law that now allows employees to be fired and mortgagees to be turned down for not signing a "right to arbitration" agreement, which essentially says that a person may not take a business to court, that they must use the [offending] businesses arbitration processes in lieu of court.

The country is going all to hell in a handbasket. Just ask Jennifer Government

QUOTE-----------------
"*Retirement: You have earned enough credits to qualify for benefits. At your current earnings rate, if you stop working and start receiving benefits...

At age 62, your payment would be about $915 a month.
If you continue working until age (66 and 2 months), your payment would be about $1,227 a month.
Age 70, your payment would be about $1,603 a month."
-----------------END QUOTE

Say in all of the 3 scenarious above, I die at age 80.

If I retired at age 62, I will have collected an annual total of $16,470.00 for 18 years.

If I retired at age 66 (and some change), I will have collected an annual total of $17,178.00 for 14 years. Which translates into an extra $708.00 dollars a year (or $59.00 a month) for my extra 4 years of service.

If I retired at age 70, I will have collected an annual total of $19,236.00 for 10 years. Which translates into an extra $2,766 dollars a year (or $230.50 a month) for my extra 8 years of service over retiring at age 62. And which translates into an extra $2058.00 dollars a year (71.50 a month) for my extra 6 years of service over retiring at age 66. And 2 months.

Put another way... If I die at age 80, and

  • Retired at age 62, I'll have collected $296,460.00 during my retirement.
  • Retired at age 66 (and 2 months), I'll have collected $240,492.00 during my retirement.
  • Retired at age 70, I'll have collected $192,350.00 during my retirement.


    Will I have lived those last years better if I work longer for more money a month than I would if I retired earlier but get less out of my total investment?

    And, can you believe any of it, anyway? After all, "Your estimated benefits are based on current law."

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