Not All Old People Are the Enemy of Us (Just Some of Them)

Robert Kuttner argues against the “greedy geezer” stereotype in the American Prospect, using DATA to explain that young folks and old folks are equally in trouble In This Economy. We all are the 99 percent (except the ones of us who are not).

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9 Comments / Post A Comment

melis (#42)

The photo selection today is just on point, Logan.

I think the generational warfare being stirred up around this current recession is absolutely ridiculous. Today’s elderly people and near-retirees worked hard and paid into the system their whole lives. Any problems with our private & public pensions can be blamed on the people who designed the systems and failed to pay for them properly — not the workers who made decades of financial planning decisions relying on those pensions to be there. Exploding medical care costs are the fault of our broken health care system, not the people it’s trying to keep alive.

Life expectancy has increased by just 12 percent, or a little over 8 years, since our current batch of retirees entered the workforce (around 1965). That’s an increase of a little over 0.25% per year, which a thoughtfully designed pension system should have easily been able to deal with.

Boomers had the advantage of cheap college tuition and a minimum wage that was high enough that, for instance, my dad could work his way through an engineering degree at the University of Maryland by pumping gas part time.

The average monthly benefit for a social security recipient is $1,230. The MAXIMUM benefit you can get is $2,513. If that’s “greedy” well then I just don’t know.

@stuffisthings (oops I got the “overly sincere rant” button mixed up with the “short snarky joke” button on my keyboard, MY BAD)

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@stuffisthings I totally agree with this. There seems to be a misconception that older adults are living well off of entitlement programs, when actually, high levels (very high in my area) of older adults live in poverty and are extremely vulnerable to physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

deepomega (#22)

@stuffisthings It’s a shame that those aliens landed and took over congress, forcing tax cuts and wars and slashed education budgets onto all those aging citiz- *assistant leans over, whispers in ear* wait, WHO voted for them?

WhyHelloThere (#1,398)

actually, high levels (very high in my area) of older adults live in poverty

Elderly Americans are significantly less likely to live in poverty than younger Americans. 12% of elderly Americans live in poverty, compared to 19% of non-elderly adults and 27% of children. Source Because of policies like Social Security and Medicare, the elderly have gone from being the poorest age group in the US, as they were a hundred years ago, to being the least likely to be poor.

And that’s great. Nobody should have to spend old-age in poverty. But nobody should spend childhood in poverty, either. That’s the whole point: we need to expand the social safety net, not attack the one part of it that actually works the way it’s supposed to.

WhyHelloThere (#1,398)

Urgh. Let me try that again…

actually, high levels (very high in my area) of older adults live in poverty

Elderly Americans are significantly less likely to live in poverty than younger Americans. 12% of elderly Americans live in poverty, compared to 19% of non-elderly adults and 27% of children. source. Because of policies like Social Security and Medicare, the elderly have gone from being the poorest age group in the US, as they were a hundred years ago, to being the least likely to be poor.

And that’s great. Nobody should have to spend old-age in poverty. But nobody should spend childhood in poverty, either. That’s the whole point: we need to expand the social safety net, not attack the one part of it that actually works the way it’s supposed to.

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@WhyHelloThere Absolutely agree that no age group should be burdened with poverty. My point (not put particularly well) was that not all older Americans are xenophobic Republicans living in gated communities in Arizona. I live in a state where a high percentage of the population is over the age of 65, and some of these older people were union organizers and environmental crusaders. Yes, short-sighted policies were enacted under their watch, but the same could absolutely be said about any of us that are currently of voting age. I certainly hope I’m not lumped in with those who voted for Bush by upcoming generations.

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@WhyHelloThere Also, my view is admittedly skewed. I’m in school for my MSW with a gerontology specialization and am internshing at a hospice organization.

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