If You Don’t Learn Anything Else About Social Security “Reform” Learn This

A frequent contributor to this blog (HL Gaskins) sent in a fantastic and informative clip from MSNBC’s The Last Word that aired last November. I am posting it here because the five-minute essay by Ezra Klein needs to be seen by anyone who gives a damn about Social Security and what it means to so many working people. And after you watch it, pass it on to others.

My parents, both gone, are the kinds of folks Klein is referencing in his piece. When I hear knuckleheads on TV and radio, fretting over the national debt or pretending they want to “save” Social Security and Medicare, saying that we ought to raise the retirement age or the Medicare eligibility age or otherwise penalize working folks for the sins of Wall Street gamblers, I think of my parents. And then I get pissed.

Fortunately, Ezra Klein expresses my outrage in a much more civilized manor:

8 Comments

  1. Troy

     /  February 25, 2013

    That should put an end to the debate over SS. Very well articulated. Bravo!

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  2. Ezra’s little essay on Social Security here is certainly worth posting again, I completely agree. I would however like to explicate one thing he said, and that is that when you take retirement at age 62 you get ” . . . smaller benefits over your lifetime”. That would not be true if everyone lived to age 75 and then died because the government formula used guarantees the same amount of money to a retiree either way, but with the interesting built-in assumption that everyone lives to age 75.

    Ezra’s statement is true, it turns out, only because, as he said earlier in the clip, people in the lower end of the pay scale live about 5 years less that those in the top half. Understanding that is why I elected age 62 when I retired. I figured I could live on less than my income, bank the rest and maybe even earn some dividends on the accumulation. And that’s the way it has worked out. I got the same amount of money in the first 15 years that I would have gotten in the first 12 had I waited 3 extra years to retire. And, there were some earnings on the part I saved.

    None of this of course diminishes Ezra’s argument against the Goldman CEO’s crass suggestion that the retirement age be raised – in fact it supports Ezra.

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    • writer89

       /  February 25, 2013

      I agree, and did the same thing when I reached age 62. In addition to my calculations regarding the actual payback, I also decided it might be good idea to get in while I can, before something bad happens to the program! It’s been a little tight keeping my income down until I turn 66 (next month!) when there will be no penalty for earning more than a certain amount of income — which means that I can put my self-employment into overdrive and still collect that monthly check.

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    • Jim, I’m glad you figured out how to get those extra years with a bonus!

      And Blankfein’s crassness makes me sick, especially since it is shared by so many people like him.

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  3. genegarman

     /  February 27, 2013

    I too retired at 62. Life is a gamble. I am 77, a Korean vet (U.S. Marine) and still going strong. Some of you recall I ran for Kansas state senate in 2012, but lost to the Republican Chamber of Commerce Religion Right candidate, age 24, who had $70,000 in his campaign chest for the General Election. I took not one dime from anyone. What’s the Matter with Kansas?

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  4. henrygmorgan

     /  February 27, 2013

    Gene Garman: I too am 77 and a former Marine, 8 years in the fifties. Lejeune, Pendleton, K-Bay, Vieques, Gitmo, Korea. Where were you stationed? Semper Fi. Henry

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