The other day, I talked to an old friend I hadn't spoken to in months -- mostly because she's a wingnut and I couldn't take her pre-election insanity. So one of the first things she does is start complaining that her 40-year-old daughter's Social Security taxes went up "$200 a week and that's a lot when she's paying $55,000 a year for her daughter in college." (Her daughter makes $250K a year.) Through clenched teeth, I said, "Your daughter makes ten times what I do, and I wish I made enough to pay those taxes. I really don't want to hear her whining." Which shut her up for a bit.
My world and that of the people I know is much more like this:
In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.
These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.
Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”
New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care.