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The Very Serious People Missing the Interconnectedness of Everything

12:15 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

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As we see the various articles today about President Obama and the “grand bargain” being offered to get Republican votes for raising the debt ceiling, we also see further indications of the total cluelessness of so many of the folks who live inside of the beltway village.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post explaining how good jobs would attack the so-called deficit problem. This is without addressing the $3.7T plus costs of our wars since 2001 nor that the cost of the Bush/Obama tax cuts are far larger contributors to the “problem.”

The last few days, I have seen a couple of articles reinforcing for me that Pete Peterson and his acolytes are winning the battle. Just last Friday (July 1), Bloomberg had this article on the Government Accountability Office releasing a study (pdf) on how people are going to have to delay collecting Social Security and “buy an annuity” in order to pay for their retirements:

“The risk that retirees will outlive their assets is a growing challenge,” according to a study from the Government Accountability Office released today. Increased life expectancies and health-care costs coupled with declines in financial markets and home equity over the last few years have “intensified” workers’ concerns about how to manage their savings in retirement, the report said.

…snip…

“The risk that retirees will outlive their assets is a growing challenge,” according to a study from the Government Accountability Office released today. Increased life expectancies and health-care costs coupled with declines in financial markets and home equity over the last few years have “intensified” workers’ concerns about how to manage their savings in retirement, the report said.

Of course, the study does not and cannot explain how we are all supposed to be able to come up with the cash to buy an annuity nor does it explain how we’re are supposed to find insurance companies that will actually be around to pay off on the annuities, even if we could afford them.

Today’s (Thursday July 7) Washington Post continues in the same vein with this column from Michelle Singletary:

A survey by First Command Financial Services found that almost half of respondents said they plan to work into their 70s. Those participating were ages 25 to 70, with annual household incomes of at least $50,000.

Seventy-six percent who haven’t retired yet said they are likely to consider working at least part time when they do retire. Many said they planned to work longer because they need the income. Some who said they have sufficient savings wanted to keep working so they could delay pulling from their retirement nest egg for an idle period that could last 30 years or more.

…snip…

Recent research by EBRI found that even if workers delay retirement into their 80s, there is still a chance they will not have enough money in retirement.

In 2003, EBRI created a retirement security projection model to assess people’s retirement income prospects. The 2011 version added a new feature, which allows households to see whether delaying retirement past 65 could help meet their income needs. The model found that 84 is the age at which 90 percent of low-income households would have a 50 percent probability of having enough retirement income.

Once again, we seem to be missing a key ingredient here – the actual jobs that would allow people to keep working, even if they wanted to work until 84 years old.

Last Friday’s (July 1) NY Times The New Old Age blog was a bit closer to reality being faced by many of us, with the results of a second GAO study:

There’s a long list of reasons that older people suffer malnutrition and weight loss, a geriatrician recently told a Senate subcommittee on health and aging: smell and taste diminishing with age, high rates of depression, medications that that suppress appetite or upset stomachs, disabilities that make it hard to shop and cook.

But at the same hearing, an official with Government Accountability Office pointed out another, perhaps more basic problem: poverty.

What a new G.A.O. report calls “food insecurity” remains stubbornly high among seniors with low incomes. In 2009, about 19 percent of households with a low-income person over age 60 faced this problem — meaning that the older adult was uncertain of having enough food or unable to acquire enough.

Unemployment is officially at 9.1% (roughly 14M people) and underemployment is nearly double that. Social Security has been one of if not the most effective government program of all time, yet all we hear out of Washington is how there must be “shared sacrifices” (from all but the very richest of us of course) so Social Security must be “on the table” for budget discussions, even though Social Security has not contributed one dime to the “problems” with the budget.

Tuesday’s LA Times had this column with the headline, “What’s Behind GOP Attack on Product-Safety Database?” For me, I think it is just a variant of the Republican health care plan that now former Rep Alan Grayson noted:

Don’t Get Sick! And if You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

The Future Is Here and Now

10:42 am in Financial Crisis, Government by dakine01

Today’s (Thursday, December 23) NY Times has an article that tells me the future has arrived and it is not going to be pretty. The pundits and those who want to destroy all aspects of public service have been calling and complaining for years that public pensions are going to destroy the universe. Never mind that those public employees have often foregone higher salaries in order to have those pension plans. Never mind that it is the elected officials who failed to properly fund those public pension plans, it will be the retired police, trash collectors, fire department employees and all the other municipal and state employees in their greed that are going to be the end of civilization. (That’s snark for the snark deficient)

But regardless of all the calls for austerity, and all the calls and drum beating about things needing to be done to “rein in out of control pensions,” it is not civil servants that caused the meltdown to the world economy. Civil servants have not been the people who took tax cuts and placed the bets in the Wall St casino. They did not commit the fraud in mortgage processing.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →