Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Baby Boomers did not ruin America: They too are victims of our bandit economy

This year, for the first time, the Social Security Administration paid out more to retirees than it received in Social Security contributions from working Americans.

That's really bad news; and, as journalist David Shribman recently observed, no one running for President is even talking about this problem.

Some pundits think the Baby Boomers brought this crisis on themselves through greed and improvidence. Lyman Stone, writing for the American Enterprise Institute, began his report on aging with these words: "The Baby Boomers have ruined America."

But that is bullshit.

As Shribman pointed out, the average Social Security check is only $1,413 a month--a chicken shit reward for people who worked 40 years at one of our nation's dead-end jobs.

Nevertheless, social critics say, the Baby Boomers should have been building a nest egg for their golden years, and their median savings only amount to about $100,000. But just how were the Baby Boomers supposed to have saved more money?

When I was a kid, most families were supported by one wage earner. Now almost every family has two people in the workforce. When I was a kid, many students worked their way through college and graduated with no debt. Now the average college student takes six years to get a four-year degree and graduates with $30,000 in student loans. And mom and pop may have taken out a Parent Plus loan to help get their child get through college.

Years ago, many Americans enjoyed good pension plans, but corporate America scrapped those plans and pushed everyone into 401Ks. This move forced workers to put their retirement savings in the stock market. But most Americans do not have the financial sophistication to invest in stocks and bonds. And the average Joe is not doing as well as the investment broker who is "managing" his retirement accounts.

There is a fix for this crisis, and I will tell you what it is. All Americans should be paying Social Security taxes on every dime of their wages, and people enjoying retirement income of half a million dollars or more should not get a Social Security check.

Mitt Romney, the arrogant corporate raider and oily politician from Massachusetts (or is it Utah?) pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than the average factory worker. Romney should be paying Social Security taxes to the max. And President Trump, who gets a Social Security check, should maybe send it back to the government.

Mitt can help solve the Social Security crisis.


  1. I was at one point a pension plan administrator, and in our plans a lot of people got checks smaller than $1,413 a month. (the Social Security average that you quote.) This was especially true for widows of retired employees.

    I totally agree with expanding Social Security taxes on more than $132,600 of wages.

    However, my only caution here is to say that the world of private pensions was not great for all workers even when unions were strong. You could find pilots and teachers and pipefitters with good pensions, but even then there were many workers with very poor pensions.

    1. Hi, Bob. You are so right. I have a close relative who retired from teaching in 2001 after 24 years of service. Her pension check is about $1700 a month and there has been no cost-of-living adjustment what so ever over the last 18 years. And Louisiana's public employees do not participate in Social Security.

      Unless a teacher has a spouse with a good income, he or she is going to retire to a life of poverty. That's why in Louisiana we have thousands of burned-out teachers who should retire but they can't do it unless they work 40 years.