A looming retirement crisis

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  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    @ marxist

    "American capitalism depends on heavy military expenditures to "prime the pump." That's why the so-called "peace dividend" of the early 1990's did not materialize with the end of the cold war. Moreover current American capitalism depends on massive infusions of cash from an equally corrupt Chinese capitalism."

    I'm sorry that's bogus. Military expenditures have been less then 10% of our national budget and its less than 5% of GDP. In accounting terms we would call that "not material." Capitalism depends on access to capital, where the price of assets and the rate of return determine the growth rate. If the federal reserve keeps its nose out of this then we don't have problems with capital flow. If it gets involved then it skews how capital is accessed and the return on investment. Now those with access to the feds low interest rates are wealthy bankers and they have used cheap capital to grow their business while the rest of us suffer under a devalued currency. Socialism loves the ability to control this type of access to capital and therefore our system is like a socialist system except with out the shock troopers.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    It is my view that peoples attitudes change as they age and their circumstances change.

    Example if you are young you see no need for health insurance or planning for your retirement.

    As you get older and marry and have children you feel the need for insurance and job protection for your family.

    When your children move out and you have grandchildren your thoughts change also

    If you are caring for elderly parents you have different views on insurance and help from the government.

    If you are retired and sickly your thoughts on the governments role differ than when you were 25 years old.

    I feel we are all in this together and we should work together to solve each others problems.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    One thing we could do to help is to ensure there is no healthcare plan in place. That way the low income retirees could pay for the incredibly expensive healthcare on their own.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:38 a.m.

    RE: Carman "Please, socialism is dead. It died in the former Soviet Union,..."

    Regarding Soviet socialism, that system progressively changed through the years, and really began to change when Kruschev admitted to the Russian public that yes, indeed Stalin was an SOB. Russian style socialism became more humane through the years, to be replaced by a thoroughly corrupt version of capitalism. Polling in Russia indicates that 50% of the public there would like to have the old regime back. American capitalism depends on heavy military expenditures to "prime the pump." That's why the so-called "peace dividend" of the early 1990's did not materialize with the end of the cold war. Moreover current American capitalism depends on massive infusions of cash from an equally corrupt Chinese capitalism.

    In the future pragmatism should rule the evolution of systems, provided human rights are defended. My point is that capitalism is not the paragon of virtue most DN readers assume, and if the survival of this system requires the dumping overboard of seniors, its claims to superiority will be even more suspect.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    Carmen: I admire your enthusiastic defense of corporate America or big business, but you're leaving out the crucial role that crony capitalism occupies in the economy. Crony capitalism ensures that the 1% gets richer at the expense of the 99%. Big business and government work hand-in-hand to feather their revolving-door careers and nest-eggs. The capitalism you're talking about is long gone.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    To Marxist:

    Please, socialism is dead. It died in the former Soviet Union, it is all but dead in China, it has left Venezuela and Cuba in shambles, and has been discredited by the outcome of socialist/communist/marxist failures that littered the 20th century.

    Yes, there are market failures, externalities and greed which can cause big problems in capitalist economies. And these market failures should be addressed. But stop blaming the big, bad, boogey man you call corporate America. By-and-large, corporate America and our system of freedoms, laws, and culture provides the best jobs, the best products and services the world over, and has been the driving force behind the incredible American standard of living. Or move to Cuba if you think their system will leave you better off...

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 4:47 p.m.

    Unless we all want to be slaves to high taxes, and a highly re-distributive economy where NO ONE has any hope of escaping subsistence living, we need to IMMEDIATELY stop blaming big, bad corporations and/or government for any so-called "retirement crisis".

    Take control of your own lives people. Stop spending all your money on smartphones and eating out. Save 15% of your income. Invest it wisely in blue-chip stocks and high quality intermediate term bonds (3-5 years max), keep updating your skills, and work hard every day. If you do, 98% of the time you will be just fine. For the other 2%, don't fret about the tiny chances that something crazy will happen to you. Sometimes lightening strikes in odd places, but you can't ruin your life worrying about the improbable.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    Didn't the Dnews and their board applaud and praise the legislation by Sen. Liljenquist that did away with retirement pensions for teachers and public employees? Despite the fact that the Utah retirement fund is probably the best managed fund in the nation, everyone hopped on board with sticking it to the teachers one more time. In fact I think the Dnews even gave the good senator his own column here in the paper.

    It was a mistake that will NEVER be corrected. The fund had a couple of bad years when the economy was in the toilet but it quickly bounced back and is as strong as it ever was yet do we hear any cries from the Dnews to restore the old plan? No, we don't.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 15, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    The fault is not with the "rich". They hire the rest of us. When the top 5% pay 80% of all taxes, only foolish people would want to add that tax burden to themselves just so they could poke the "rich guy" in the eye.

    The problem is that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. The money was not properly handled. It was taken by force and then spent by corrupt politicians on programs that guaranteed their re-election. It's too late to fix it properly, but it can be dismantled over time.

    The greater problem is that ObamaCare is exactly that same kind of Ponzi scheme. Instead of "only" taking 15% of our money, ObamaCare will take 18% to 25%. That money will be mixed with the general fund (which is how Obama promised that he would eliminate deficit spending).

    We've been severly burned with Social Security. Are we foolish enough to let the government burn us again?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    Much of the retirement crisis is generated by wealthy tea party types, like the Koch Brothers, who want to dismantle social security and medicare. What is terrorism? The implanting of terror in others. This, then, is terrorism - and many elderly and boomers feel it. How much of this are we willing to take? Answer: not much more.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    I should add that the reason the Federal Reserve drive interest rates down was to incentivize consumption and discourage saving. Saving, according to their perverse economic paradigm, is a drag in the economy rather than a source of wealth. Until that kind of thinking is defeated, we'll never see economic stability and prosperity again.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    I was just reading today's obituaries in the Deseret News and:

    Here in Utah "where where we live longer" there were five (out of 29 recent deaths, there being one "memorial" listed) who died in their fifties, and two more who died in the year their full retirement came due. Two more died before reaching 70, and the average age at death of all (including a good number of long-livers)was 72 and change, if my calculations are correct.

    So retiring at 66 (soon to be 67) seniors are not quite so long-lived as they are cracked up to be, and they and their employers paid for it all. Those retiring at 66, if they started work at 20 on average, paid into the system for a full 46 years or more. The money they paid in was mostly worth much more than it is now. Things presently cost close to three times what they cost in 1980 on average; I don't know what they cost in 1967 before 1970's double-digit inflation, or what they will cost when inflation really hits us again.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    Apparently no one is responsible for themselves and their choice any more, and family members no longer have any obligation to care for each other. Everything has become the responsibility of "the government." With the government bankrupt, will the tooth fairy do the job?

    The assertion "Many Americans claim they are too busy trying to meet daily expenses to save anything." is the root of the problem. "Daily expenses" now include huge houses, flashy cars, the latest electronic toys, cell phones for toddlers, new cars for teenagers, and decades pursuing college degrees in worthless majors. And, food is no longer economical prepared at home meals, but frozen, take out or dining out. Waste no, want not!

    We must return to the concept that people need to save their own money for their old age.

    The welfare plantation and Ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare (and Obamacare!) are unsustainable and WILL collapse. Confiscation of every dollar earned by the "evil rich corporations" will fix none of it.

    The entire liberal fantasy of socialism is a demonstrable failure and instead of demanding more government fixes to government caused problems, we need to get government out of our lives.

  • Brian Wasilla, AK
    Sept. 15, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    Currently you can put off taking social security until you are 70 and are given an increase in the social security check you eventually receive. Why not take that out beyond 70 and give seniors some incentive to forego applying for social security until they actually need it? This is all done on a voluntary basis of course.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Darn auto-correct: interest rates need to REWARD savers instead of penalizing them.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    There is no incentive to save for the future, at least in a safe AND profitable way. The Federal Reserve has driven interest rates down to almost zero in banks, forcing Americans to become amateur investors. The result has been that they have become gamblers in the great casino called the stock market where the house always wins and most customers lose. The Federal Reserve has been the Great Enabler of the so-called 1%. So what needs to happen? Interest rates need to rise to read savers instead of penalizing them.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    If a person had money to save, where should he put it. In a Bank? In the mattress? In a tin can in the backyard? All of these pay about the same interest.

    Should he invest in stocks? Seems like most small amateur investors lose their money to the big boys.

    Is there any place where the savings can be held that would not lose value just by inflation?

    The Australian plan is right on target. The solution to the problems of the economies of the present world can only be solved by the overall government. Not by the individuals within. The only fault I see is the use of the words “nearly all employers” instead of all business operations. Even so they are only half way there.

    The final solution must provide that all people of the society are sustained by all the business operations of the society.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    RE 2 bits
    Cotton Wood Heights

    i agree with your comment "After the military victory he should have got out rather than try to occupy Iraq"; However I differ if we should have attacked Iraq.

    The three trillion dollar projected total cost of the war will make up a significnt future part of our deficit. It would be somewhat different if we did not need to borrow the total cost of the war in Iraq.

    Personally I find it intersting the same people who now are complaining about the deficit and want cuts in spending to ballance any increase in taxes were the same peoplee who pushed our premeptive attack and to this day feel we should attack Iran.

    I do not believe it was for the oil because as you perhaps know we only get 10% of our imported oil from the middle east. We get the majority of our imported oil from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Africa. Were we fighting so that China could have access to Iraqi oil? I do not think so.

    So how about the other comments on my post. Mobile WMD labs, buying Uranium documents, the rest.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    The loss of pensions is just one more example of Corporate America taking money away from workers and putting it into their own pockets. Reading this editorial makes that seem as if it's all the worker's fault.

  • Roger Terry Happy Valley, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Earlier in the week, the DN ran a story about the 20 percent of Americans who struggle to afford food for their families to eat. It's hard to put away anything for retirement when you're going hungry. In the past week, there was also a story about how the top 1 percent in 2012 collected the highest percentage of national income since before the Great Depression. This, I might add, in spite of the minuscule tax increase that the Republicans claimed would seriously harm these "job creators." Pretty funny stuff. If we keep moving in this direction, where the lion's share of earnings goes to the upper crust, and the rest lose ground, the consequences are perfectly predictable. Time to stop promoting economic myths and start dealing with reality.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    Perhaps we ought to not borrow money to give it away in the form of foreign aid in the middle east.

    Many of the future retirees who are not planning ahead will probably need help from the government in one way or another.

    We need to choose who we will take care of foreigners or our own citizens.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    It is interesting to hear repeatedly that "Baby Boomers" created a crisis; the truth is: that generation created a huge "surplus" with their contributions though not generally admitted. Politicians spent it all but today's seniors, retired / retiring, ensured funds that will outlast most of them, and provide for others too.

    If seniors expect to be paid according to their contributions that is how the system is supposed to work, that is how their benefits are calculated! That is how the private sector works, unless the company spends the premiums and defaults on their obligations!

    Ezra Taft Benson believed (1969: An Enemy Has Done This), as I independently concluded, that the problem with Social Security lay in its coercion and increasing longevity. Since then the Reagan administration introduced a significant increase in contribution rates that helped create the surplus (spent by the politicians); retirement age increased to 66, todays retirement age, then 67.

    As for the children of seniors looking after "their own" they had no choice; it is their contributions that provide current funds.

    Make Social Security voluntary for new employees. Restore the stolen funds; honor commitments.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    At a time when the 1% are taking 95% of all the profits, and the 90% are basically scrambling for crumbs -- merely subsisting, or living paycheck to paycheck. They barely can subsist on what they are compensated, let alone save anything. This is the very time we fault the masses for not doing enough to save for their own retirements?

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    "It is inexcusable for U.S. lawmakers to continue to treat Social Security as if all is well and no changes are needed. The same can be said for Medicare and, eventually, for the burdensome costs associated with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Deficit spending is not a long-term strategy."


    Yes, "inexcusable" is a good word for it. But, certainly not, "unpredictable".

    Ultimately, of course, the incompetence of our elected officials rests with the electorate. The dishonesty that allows Congress to pretend that spending more than the country brings in is something we can pretend away is the same dishonesty displayed by an electorate which, for decades, has neglected saving for the time in their lives when their incomes stop coming.

    Yes, at all levels, the root problem is the same....dishonesty.