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Reality Intrudes in the Social Security Debate June 12, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Economics, Government, Politics, The Bush Administration.
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     Given that I was born well after the end of World War II I remember being surprised that I was considered part of the Baby Boom generation. It was the massive number of people in my generation retiring starting at the age of 62 that would break the Social Security system as well as Medicare and quite possibly Medicaid as well. Frankly, I was puzzled. I knew that I’d also read about how low the savings rate for many boomers was. How could these two be reconciled? If boomers weren’t saving enough for retirement and additionally had a nice share of workaholics in their number how could huge numbers of them be retiring early enough to make for such a disaster? Of course the numbers that are used to make it seem that a complete catastrophe is looming are highly questionable in any case but an article making the rounds today seems to bolster my beliefs.

     People are living longer. In many cases they are healthier longer. If they like their work why should they quit, goes their reasoning. Many would rather ease their way into retirement. Some who are in a position to do so simply change their career, going into a field they always were interested in or one that is less demanding. They don’t have children or other close family that can afford to help them. In other words, things just aren’t the same in the 21st Century as they used to be. The social and cultural environment has changed and made assumptions based purely on historical trends incorrect. It’s the 21st century after all.

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