Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SOS - Save Our Seniors

Contrary to what my current employers would often like to believe (and what my picture here on the blog site might appear to show), I am not currently retired. I go to work every day, collect a paycheck every two weeks, and contribute to a retirement program for the day when I finally do get to set aside the care and strife of the daily grind. 

I have worked for a number of organizations in my career (some would simply say that I can't hold a job). One of them with a pension so criminally mismanaged that my net results for ten years of labor was little more than than enough to super-size a McDonalds value meal. I have worked far more years with organizations, as part of an ongoing trend, that had 401k plans. I fear that the perfect storm economy has hit those of us in my generation however, and pushed the expectation of those days of leisure as far out of reach as our long ago youth. 

A downturn in the market has turned my 401k into a 201k, increasing government debt pushes the benefit age of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid out beyond the horizon, and the "snow on my mountain" only adds to the increasing stress of trying to sell horseshoes and anvils in a world full of automobiles.

 
The truth of the matter is that anyone these days who is talking about early retirement is either a crook, or a union employee whose pension allows them to retire based not on age, but on years of service. Even many of those early retirees are more than a little concerned these days, as pension funds and health benefits are coming under increasingly close scrutiny by companies on the verge of bankruptcy.

 But have no fear my friends, I have a plan; and it is my full intention to increase the scope and scale of my bad habits in hopes of saving the day. I intend to smoke at least one cigar every day, not only celebrating the bliss of this relaxing lifestyle, but contributing valuable taxes to the government through the purchase of these leaf-wrapped beauties. 

I likewise intend to enjoy a glass of Guinness, wine, or whiskey on a regular basis; safe in the knowledge that when the government has finished taxing tobacco out of the hands of all but the most die-hard of smokers, they will attack alcohol with next with equally onerous levels of taxation. Not only will I be contributing (in my own small way) to the reduction of the crushing debt that government is placing itself under by my petty indiscretions, but I might likewise be contributing to the reduction in lifespan of a stogie-smoking curmudgeon. Perhaps by enjoying these harmful habits to the fullest extent while still able to, I will contribute to my own reduction of health for the future. 

I urge you to join me in this effort. With luck, we will be able to further contribute to federal debt reduction in our dotage by not living long enough to receive any of the benefits that we have contributed to (been extorted from is more like it) in many years of labor, and which the government will not in any case possess to distribute. Have no fear friends, I am neither preaching suicide nor feeling suicidal; but it sometimes seems that only by stating such a radical and extreme position that we can begin to stop the madness going on. It is only by shocking people out of the media fed lethargy that they appear to be suffering from that there is any hope of real change. It is only by presenting them with the patently absurd that the nature and seriousness of the situation is recognized.  

At some point people in this country are going to have to wake up and understand the consequences of actions that we appear to be taking far too lightly these days. Government debt does mean something, as does the inflation that inevitably follows. The path that we are on today leads to crushing debt and runaway inflation that all will have to pay for some day. For those of us following "the Greatest Generation", it means that we may find ourselves "the poorest generation"; robbed of our future by a Social Security Ponzi scheme foisted on us by the federal government on one side and by devastated personal accounts tied to a market that can never recover as long as it's managed by that same government on the other.

 If there are any people of good will out there today in public service, if there are any of you elected leaders who are are truly compassionate, if there is anyone left in government with a wit of common sense left, I beg you to save us from ... you before its too late. 

 

5 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Tim,

I've been clicking my heels together and chanting "These are the Golden Years," over over and over again, but nothing changes.

The only thing that consoles me though, is that I managed to retire from the City before the "fit hit the shan" on this last go-round...

After ~47 years of working, although I'm beginning to miss the income, I doubt that I'll ever miss the work.

I remain busy "playing" as my wife calls it, on the computer and occasionally tackling my "honey do" list, which I have come to despise.

Maybe I should add lighting up to my many other vices to hasten the inevitable...

:-|

Winky Twinky said...

I fear that by the time too many Americans finally wake up to reality, we'll be in so deep...who knows what will happen. I think you're right about the sin taxes too. Smokers first, drinkers next... then to keep in line with the coveted government-run health care, fast food goers after that. So go enjoy your super sized happy meal while you can...

Tim Higgins said...

HT,

I highly recommend the lifestyle and have decided to ignore the potential consequences. To quote the emminent Mark Twain:

"There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry."

Tim Higgins said...

WT,

I forgot about the fast food part, though I agree it is on the short list federally, and on the books already in NY if I remember correctly.

Great call!

Roland Hansen said...

I need all the saving I can get!