Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sucking up to the Rich and Making the World Do the Same: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Even after 70 Years"

Since World War II, when the US started to rule (much of) the world, Americans have   enjoyed a time of prosperity and exuberance because the war destroyed the competition, and the US was the only power that managed to turn war into a highly profitable business.

With this great showering of Fortune (God who came with the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt did evidently bless this nation more than any other), Americans also had more reasons to be sucking up to the rich, and the majority were taught that, if they were not (yet) rich, they were just "temporarily embarrassed rich." Sucking up to the rich also meant and required waging incessant wars around the world against the poor who dared to rise up against the rich. This simple fact has, however, been lost on most Americans. Killing the revolting poor was justified as helping to bring them prosperity, freedom, and their own beliefs in one's own exceptionalism (and sucking up to the rich). For much of the post-World War II period, this system and "social contract" seemed to work very well, and, if all the other nations had pay dearly for their errors, crimes, and sins, US exceptionalism underwritten and bankrolled by the God born out of the Middle East deserts seems to have exempted the US from most of the negative consequences of its own actions, which were distributed and displaced onto someone else or other peoples.

Now some 70 years afterwards, a certain era might be coming to an end.

On Sunday, August 10, conservative Newsmax reported:

1. Americans Face a 'Retirement Security Crisis'

More than half of new retirees will not be able to maintain their standard of living in their retirement years, according to a troubling new report.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates that before the Great Recession, 43 percent of households would not be able to maintain their standards of living. That figure has now risen to 53 percent.

It stood at just 30 percent as recently as 1989.

The center also estimates that the nation faces a "retirement income deficit" of $6.6 trillion — the gap between what Americans have available through Social Security, employer pensions, 401(k)s, home equity, and other forms of saving, and what will be needed to maintain standards of living in retirement.

Social Security Works, a coalition of more than 300 state and national organizations, warns that America "is facing a formidable retirement security crisis," and the retirement income deficit can be traced to four major factors.

First, less than half — 48.8 percent — of all private sector employees worked for an employer sponsoring a retirement plan, leaving 55.5 million workers without the opportunity of enrolling in one.

Even among the minority of households that had a 401(k) plan in 2010, the median balance in households headed by a person aged 55 to 64 was just $120,000 — enough to buy an inflation-indexed lifetime annuity of less than $600 a month.

Second, with wages stagnating in recent years, many workers have been unable to save for retirement. From 1979 until the beginning of the recession in 2007, the top 1 percent of earners received nearly two-fifths of all gains in household income, while men in the bottom 60 percent saw their real wages decline.

Today, about half of all workers have personal savings of less than $10,000, according to Social Security Works.

Third, home equity is no longer a reliable source of savings for retirement, due to a reduction in home ownership to the lowest levels since 1965 and the drop in home values.

Finally, Social Security benefits will have declined 25 percent by 2030 as the full retirement age rises and Medicare premiums continue to increase.

Americans without substantial resources are already struggling to get by on Social Security alone. The average monthly payout this year is $1,294, and $2,111 for couples.

Social Security collected $752 billion in non-interest income last year, while spending $822.9 billion, according to the American Action Forum. Since 2010, the program has run a cumulative deficit of nearly $220 billion.

Social Security Works concludes that the retirement income crisis "can be addressed most effectively by expanding Social Security and addressing its projected shortfall, not by cutting benefits, which would only compound the crisis."

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