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Re: Haves and Have-Nots
I too did that kind of work. In Colorado the weather changes from minute to minute in the mountains where I did most of my flagging. And yes, it is hard on the body. I took it in stride - I was in Colorado more like a working tourist geezer .
There are lots of people who have similar backgrounds as you. Done things "right" and wind up mired in a system that doesn't stand up for you. When a complaint is made, a story is published, the solution I received from the AARP for one, was to "write your congressman". What a cop out. I didn't join to "write my congressman". Seniors today need both AARP and congressman that represent them. Isn't it more progressive to have actual help than grocery coupons and Oprah trending?
On the unemployment numbers: Note that the published unemployment rate seen in the daily news is just the number of unemployment claims processed and paid. This does Not reflect the actual number of unemployed. Many people are ineligible or have already exhaused benefits and are not counted. The estimated actual unemployment figures for any area are more accurate and in many cases appalling.
Notice that Obama has never said anything about raising the minimum wage for ALL, Immediately. This increase is over some period of time and for only certain workers. There is no realistic raise like that for the average worker. By the time the words left the president's mouth, they were paleolithic.
Re: Haves and Have-Nots
Existing are many retirees who are stuck at minimum Social Security benefits forever because of having to start their payments at 62 in order to have ANY income at all. With no other income, the arithmetic does not work out at all for living. This is existence, not living! If one is forced to do this due to economics, the benefits need to increase each year according to what the rate is for that year entering the system, until the maximum is reached at 65 or 66.
With the baby-boomer generation coming into retirement age, there is a large number who spent their working lives at relatively unskilled jobs that offered no retirement plan, no 401s and the like, no insurance, paid so little that saving was out of the question. Life after 50 meant jobs lessened or ceased altogether. A large group of have-nots! That economic forced many into accepting less than livable Social Security.
This post could as easily have been part of the discussion about raising the minimum wage - although I'm glad it has it's own post - I would venture a guess that many of the opponents of a hike in the minimum wage are the same people who advocated doing away with Social Security - it's all part of the same philosophy - elimination of the American Dream and consolidated the wealth in the hands of the least amount of people possible - working hard your whole life and having a comfortable retirement as a reward at the end used to be the American Dream available to all - it's been exchanged for investing in the Global Lottery - the Giant Ponzi Scheme called the Stock Market - hoping that without the inside information that a majority the already rich are privy to you might be lucky enough to pick one of the same stocks the richest of the rich did and you get to go along for the ride..........but I apologize - I degress - yes Social Security should have a mechanism for unpunishing those who in order to survive have had to apply early and I also think the COLA should be increased.......................
My own personal situation is an example of what you speak of - I've worked at mostly minimum wage jobs my entire life - I've worked full-time almost every week since my discharge from the Military in 1968 - my goal was to hold out until I was at least 66 years old before applying for Social Security
I am currently work full-time as a Flagger with seasonal weather related layoffs for aprox. 3 months during the winter - my job is directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic safely in and around construction zones - my hourly pay is 9/hour around 15k annually
I am 64 years old and I have been doing this work for the last 4 years - not because I choose too but because I have to. I stand on my feet from 8 - 12 hours a day - usually 40+ hours per week in al kinds of weather - lunch is eaten while standing and doing my job and there are no scheduled breaks of any kind - bathroom breaks are attempted in the wild when traffic is light but again there are typically no extra Flaggers available to relieve anyone on a scheduled basis.
I'm not complaining - it's just the nature of the job and I'm happy to have the work - are there Federal and State laws that prohibit these kinds of working conditons - yes of course there are but there are also millions of people out of work and minimum wage whistleblowers are a misnomer
I was doing ok until this year because for the last 5 years I had around 100k in a IRA but have had to supplement my income by drawing out about 20k each year just to survive. My IRA ran out at the end of last year so I had to apply for Social Security at age 64 this last February because when I am laid off each year around Xmas I file for unemployment but my weekly benefit amount is only $126 week.
I lost approx. $200/month by filing at age 64 vs waiting until age 66
Just to add some perspective - to collect $126/week in New Hampshire you file for benefits the first week of your layoff - it takes a few weeks for the paperwork to be processed and then if you are approved there is a one week - "waiting period" - so by the time you start receiving benefits it could be 3 or 4 weeks since your last paycheck from working - while you are waiting for your unemployment benefit to be processed you have to attend - in person workshops at a regional unemployment office which in New Hampshire may require driving 30 miles or more one way and remember gasonline costs $3.50/gallon and New Hampshire has no Mass Transit to speak of - my drive is approx. 30 miles round trip.
While collecting unemployment in New Hampshire you are required to do - unique new work searches every week and to document at least three searches every week when you file yur weekly benefit request - the longer you are on unemployment the number of documented searches required also increases as do the frequency of the in person workshops.
One of the questions on the weekly benefit application is - have you received any monies not previoulsy reported to this department - the first month I started receiving my $1449/month Social Security payment - I had to answer the unemployment income question yes -
Guess what happened next? Yup - my unemployment checks were stopped - because in the wisdom of the unemployment system in New Hampshire - if a person is receiving Social Security they must have retired and no matter what they say they are no longer seriously looking for work and even if they were the Social Security earnings limit of approx. 15.5k/year is most likely going to prevent them from working full-time which is a requirement of receiving unemplyment in the first place - heh heh
Now keep in mind - I only applied for Social Security because I couldn't live on my seasonal weekly unemployment payment of $126. I have worked at the same job for the last 4 years and have every intention of returning to it once the weather allows for work to resume - the Social Security earnings limit is aprox. 15.5k and I make $9/hour - a normal 40 hour work week equals 2080 hours a year - 2080 hours x $9/hour = $18,720 - but we cannot do much construction in New Hampshire when the ground is snow covered and frozen so my annual layoff is around 12 weeks each year and 12 weeks x 40 hours/week = 480 hours x $9/hour = $4320 and if you subtract that from my annualized salary of $18,720 it = $14,400 approx. $1000 below trhe Social Security income limit.
Bottonline - I am one of those locked into a lower Social Security rate for the rest of my life and I still continue to work and probably will have to for the rest of my life - so yeah I agree - the Socail Security system already doesn't provide for a - living wage and it's only going to get worse - many will argue well it was never intended to be a persons sole source of retirement income and my response is - maybe so - but it is for a lot of us who have worked every day of our lives and it's something most of us are just going to have to deal with - but we don't have to like it!
( " If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe, and this is all that it proves. Sam Adams )
" ) " - Anonymous
Haves and Have-Nots
There is a wide and growing, gap between those who have in the world, and those who don't. Not only is the gap growing but so is the un-willingness to address it in any meaningful way that gets toward actual resolution of the problems at hand and/or, especially, its root causes, which are many, by those who have. The 2014 economic conference at Davos, Switzerland was supposedly focused on issues of the widening gap between the rich and poor and how to work toward alleviating it. Almost no time was devoted to this. Hmmmmm.
In the US are many new retirees who are stuck at minimum Social Security benefits forever, due to having to start their payments early at 62 in order to have ANY income at all. These decisions are not made of freedom but of necessity - decisions made under duress.
With no other income, the arithmetic does not work out at all for living. This is existence, not living! If one is forced to do file early and receive minimum benefits, due to bad economics, the benefits need to increase each year according to what the rate is for that year, as if one is just entering the system, until the maximum is reached at 65 or 66, for those who have no other income at all! Lest we forget - This is America! Where are the organizations who "say" they support the well being of seniors?
The availability of actual assistance is near nil, with none of that offering anything more than emergency or band aid "help". (Don't be a single male with no children!) All the government hype about ending homelessness, helping those who have the least, is just hype, as the "Tale of the Tape" reveals the actual story - Homelessness and need have increased drastically among have-nots. (An exhaustive and continuing, study is done of Connect-To-Care, the Dallas government's excuse for a help mechanism, which showed their listed "resources" to be the same overworked, underfunded, organizations that have always been there.) There has been repackaging of the same "resources" lists in other websites and organizations, while the resources themselves remain unchanged or less funded, leaving those who actually need help the most, in the same or worse overall shape. If there are little to no actual resources available, which is the case in reality, what do these organizations actually do? Jobs for those who have! Notice how many low income people are employed in any of these.
With the baby-boomer generation coming into retirement age, there is a large number of retirees just entering the social security system, who spent their working lives at relatively unskilled jobs that offered no retirement plan, no insurance, no 401s, and the like, that paid so little that saving was out of the question. This was influenced by the full scale and unregulated "outsourcing" of jobs, and the demise of unions. Life after 50 meant jobs and job offers, lessened or ceased altogether. This economic forced many into accepting less than livable Social Security, made and is making, a large group of retirement age have-nots who are out of work and in need of available assistance.
(Of sour note is the many who are plagued by student loans whose collection arms are more than willing to accept and/or forcably take, from those who who have no other income than Social Security and/or who are below the poverty level, leaving that individual with nothing at all, below where rent can be paid, food purchased - a loose cannon. If you are living on the edge, not making enough for basics, this particular organization will still try and take from you, oblivious to the fact they can be rendering a person homeless!)
And no, retraining doesn't get you a job or help with age discrimination. The fact that a senior has to ask someone for a job in the first place instead of having them call you, is the real issue. To say there is no age discrimination is denying reality in many, if not, most, cases. Experience is relatively meaningless after a certain age.
The question is Not how anyone got to retirement without having, but how to remediate it starting, Now, without looking at how and/or, especially, why, that individual got to retirement age in this shape in the first place.
I think that's called - Non Judgemental. Remember that one. Takin a real beatin since the internet! So has honesty.
And especially, of question, why this subject is one that so many don't want to address, see others address, have commentary/dialogue about, and why the refusal to offer explanation to back up this "reasoning"/stance for not wanting such discussion. If a stance is solid, it stands on its own merit, and there is no fear, no reasoning for not putting it up for scrutiny! Of question is the unwillingness-refusal to help anyone who doesn't have, without knowing their pedigree, or more.
What happened to helping someone who doesn't have, without knowing, or even trying to find out, how they came not to have? Not just band-aid motion but sufficient to help fellow humans get themselves out of the cycle of poverty itself.
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