The Retirement Crisis Is Upon Us

From Alternet:

Two-thirds of working Americans will not be able to maintain their standard of living when they retire. Many will go into poverty.

By Don Hazen
January 7, 2014

Unless we get serious and do something about it now, we are very quickly heading into a massive retirement crisis, not just for the huge, aging Baby Boomer generation, but for generations to come. It has to be fixed, but our leaders are intent on making it worse.

Two-thirds of working Americans will not be able to maintain their standard of living when they retire, sending many into poverty or near poverty. And none of it is our fault. Millions of Boomers, Gen Xers and others have not been able to save for the future. Pensions have disappeared. Wages have been flat. Healthcare costs have spiraled. Private plans like 401ks and 403bs haven’t kept up. There have been recessions, waves of high inflation and unemployment.

So, Social Security and other benefits have to be fixed and expanded. The frustrating part is that it is all easily fixable. But the political establishment from Barack Obama to the billionaire propagandist Pete Peterson to the Washington Post editorial page, are hard at work making it worse, by wanting to shrink benefits, not expand them.

To sum up the problem and the solution, here are nine key facts about the crisis to keep in mind:

  • Americans over age 65 are  projected to increase from 14 percent of the current population to about 21 percent of the population by 2035.
  • The Social Security Trust Fund had a  surplus of $2.54 trillion at the end of 2011, and is projected to be  solvent until 2033.
  • Though most people don’t know it, Congress has cut Social Security payments by 24 percent  since 1983, via delayed cost-of-living increases and higher taxes.

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