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Americans — Especially Women — Benefit Hugely from Social Security


#1

Americans — Especially Women — Benefit Hugely from Social Security

Guillermo Herrera

Today is Social Security’s 82nd birthday. We’ve updated our backgrounder on Social Security’s significant impact and a related analysis of its benefits. In June 2017, over 60 million people collected modest benefits through Social Security.


#2

The whole country benefits from SS. Whatever amount of money is distributed to recipients, most of that is returned to the US economy; stores, contractors, utilities, local and state governments, churches, charities; most anything people do business with, gains because of SS. The purchasing power SS gives to retirees benefits the US economy many times more than additional tax breaks for the 1% could ever do.

Beyond SS, pensions also add to retirees purchasing power, but unfortunately fewer workers are able to access a pension plan, having to settle for personal savings, 401, 457, or IRA retirement schemes, or other dubious US sanctioned retirement financing that provides minimal retirement security.


#3

I think it was in 1979 that I witnessed a finely dressed woman at a lunch counter watch casually until the server went back into the kitchen, then quietly tucked her check into her handbag and slipped out the door, her dignity intact, at least externally. About the same time, my Mother-in-Law, who like so many of her generation in the middle class quit working when she married, told me about watching another woman like herself in the display of African violets in a garden center’s greenhouse. The other woman was shopping very carefully, lifting the little plants to select the healthiest ones, and then pulling off one of the bottom leaves and tucking them into a damp paper towel. Mom didn’t report her observation either. We could see ourselves in those women reduced to stealing. But we didn’t have to because we both had SS.


#4

Women get …what 77 cents for every dollar men make? our social security benefits are always going to reflect our lower wages.
I am grateful for social security though.


#5

While older women indeed are more dependent on Social Security than men, statistics confirm that a majority of men would never be able to retire if they had no Social Security, even though more men than women have other income sources.


#6

Depends how you define “able to retire.” Women haven’t historically had the option.


#7

Neoliberal Obama offered to slash Social Security. He created the Catfood Commission.

Sometimes things are not as they seem. Much of the right wing outrage over Obama served as a smoke screen while he governed as a Reagan Democrat.

Do you want another Reagan Democrat in 2020? Me neither.


#8

Many women do with less rather than steal from others. I’d be careful about this, SS is a great program but if one is an elderly woman living on SS alone, eating out and buying plants are not priorities, rent&utilities, medications and groceries are. Without SS women w/out means particularly would be forced to live with children, relatives or in a car when they can no longer work to support themselves.


#9

If you’d read my comment a bit more carefully, you would have seen that this was some years ago (“I think it was in 1979”), before SS was really supporting older widows, when we heard regular stories about women with no pets buying only cat food at the grocery. And of course the point of the instances I cited was that these women were able to eat out (maybe to eat at all) and raise African violets only by stealing.

My Goldwater-Republican Dad complained about his payroll taxes going straight to his dad, who’d barely worked long enough under SS to qualify for benefits, while Granddad and Grandmother were living in our upstairs bedroom and mostly eating with us. But when Granddad died (71?) and Grandmother moved back to Ohio, to a multilevel care facility, Dad was very glad for the slight support of her bills that came from Granddad’s survivor benefit. Grandmother was lucky in both ways. The cat-food widows might have had husbands without SS.


#10

I read it. You are connecting women shoplifting to low (or no) SS payments. It is doubtful that a “finely dressed woman” taking off without paying the bill was doing so because her SS payment was too low.

My point is people (usually teenagers) shoplift for many different reasons. Connecting shoplifting to low SS payments is an insult to all the elderly women struggling to get by on SS. Even the republicans don’t stoop this low.

Alan Simpson: Social Security Is Like a "Milk Cow with 310 Million Tits!"

Yes everyone has heard of the “cat food commission.” It is not just republicans that cut benefits that have been earned (SS is not welfare). This is why the standard of living for the elderly keeps declining.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/12/obamas-cat-food-social-security-reform/ and


#11

Lucky you, you’ve never been in the position of seeing your “secure” middle-class income plummet for one reason or another. Desperation is the best motivation for shoplifting, especially for food. Really, just let it drop. You’re thinking of 21st-c teenagers, and not of those of us whose lives are being saved by SS, those of us who’ve had to decide between feeding our cats and feeding ourselves because we haven’t yet qualified for benefits. Let’s stick to today and leave Alan Simpson in the past.