Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Are You Ready For Older Americans Month?

May is Older Americans Month, the time of year we honor our fellow Americans who are celebrating their 29th birthday for the 29th time.

And how are Americans over age 65 faring? Put on your bifocals and check out the income statistics:
For all older persons reporting income in 2009 (37.3 million), 19.8% reported less than $10,000 and 37.8% reported $25,000 or more.

The median income reported was $19,167. The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2008 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 54%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 25%). In 2008, Social Security benefits accounted for 37% of the aggregate income of the older population. The bulk of the remainder consisted of earnings (30%), asset income (13%), and pensions (18%). Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 34% of beneficiaries (21% of married couples and 43% of non-married beneficiaries).

So today's seniors are living on $20,000 per year, and slightly more than one-third are completely dependent on Social Security. See? That's why we need to slash -- er, "reform" -- the Social Security system! These olds are just milking off the government teat with their newspaper subscriptions, London Fog jackets and Moon Over My Hammy breakfast plates. But for some reason, older Americans like having a social safety net. Bring on the angry town halls!

My elderly parents were pretty much completely dependent on Social Security and Medicare, and so I'm unable to have much objectivity on the topic. Social Security is crucial to our national well being. We need to keep it firmly in government hands and make sure it works for future generations. You can keep your Medicare voucher program, Mr. Ryan. This Gen Xer doesn't want it.

But back to "Older Americans Month"! Maybe we Gen Xers can get in on some of this action, too? The government should just lower the bar on the event to age 35 because this economy is aging all of us very quickly.

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