But....we all know decent, hardworking, but frankly not very bright people, who need the type of security that SS provides now to those over 62 or 65. The companies DH and I have worked for have tried hard to see that these humble, salt of the earth types, had health insurance, were encouraged to fund an IRA (whew! that's hard to explain to someone with minimal literacy skills) or contribute to the company plan, and to keep track of FICA contributions. (These firms also counseled employees whose wages were garnisheed but that's another story). Sometimes the firms reassigned aging, less robust employees to lighter but still necessary duties so that they could qualify for the max whatever benefit upon retirement. I know that I can provide for myself; I do not have confidence that these individuals will not be scammed, deprived, robbed etc. of their savings unless there is some sort of system that makes it mandatory to contribute $$ from some source or other to be returned to the contributor years later. For those in heavy industry or dangerous occupations such as farming, it is impossible to get disability insurance on one's own. SS provides that leverage. It's not perfect by a long shot but how do we protect and provide for those who are less capable yet are not cheats, layabouts, or scoundrels. People may be living longer but I question that they are all healthy enough to put in a full day's work after 65. Extending the retirement age for folks like my mother who is in OK health for puttering around the house but is hampered by arthritis and the now evident effects of poor diet during the Depression will not benefit the nation. My mother-in-law is in her early 70's and has osteoporosis; she represents the individual who is not crippled, but should not be working because of spinal disc fractures. Otherwise she will live to be 90+ if a hip fracture doesn't shorten her life span. 65 seems to me to be just right for this point in our history.On another issue, as long as SS is tied to wages how can we assist homemakers, stay-at-home parents, caregivers etc. who do not have reportable wages often for years? How can they achieve even the modest levels now available to SS recipients who have been full-time wage reporters for 3 or 4 decades. A great percentage of the poverty among elderly women is related to their lack of earning history, the modest lifetime income of their deceased spouses, and the demands of larger-than-the-norm today families of yesteryear. My mother had 4 kids (but 6 pregnancies), I had two surviving kids. My grandmother had 6 surviving kids (+ several miscarriages and dead infants) and farmed with horses pre-Depression.The above are just a few of the great complexities that have to be worked through as we make the necessary transition to a self-supporting retirement INSURANCE plan. Maybe we need to make this an INSURANCE plan, ie. insurance against poverty at a certain age in life, just as part of the contributions are for disability payments in the event of serious illness or injury. In Canada this scheme is Social Insurance (everyone has a SIN as opposed to a SSN). I am all for cutting out the bozos from the government table, but a lot of people need a structure imposed on them and I do not want to see survival of the fittest for senior citizens. We are more decent than that as a nation.
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