First, companies like Lucent decided that retiree pensions inherited from AT&T had 'crippled' them. They quickly found a way to canabalize them. According to Salon.com, "Hundreds of companies have slashed and burned their way through their employees’ benefits, leaving former workers either on Social Security or destitute — and taxpayers with a huge burden that, as the baby boomer generation edges towards retirement, is likely to grow. It’s a problem that is already affecting over a million people — and the most shocking part is, none of this needed to happen."
Now it has happened. I learned several years ago I was one of the few people to retire with a 401(k) and a pension. Unfortunately, that pension was calculated as a supplement for Social Security. There is no way I could manage on the pension alone. 401(k)s are helpful, but the employee bears the risk. Also, in these hard times, many employees have borrowed from their 401(k)s just to keep their families going. I know I did. I also know that, though a pension plan builds up slowly, it is considerably more reliable than the 401(k). For several months in 2000 and 2001, I hesitated to open my monthly 401(k) statements. The account bled money out its ears.
Now, the luckier employees have 401(k)s, and far too many people don't have anything to subsidize their old age except Social Security. And now John McCain wants to take that.
But now, McCain and other Republicans are making it clear: either programs protecting the health and financial solvency of American seniors must be significantly cut — or they will thrust the nation into an economic calamity unheard of since the Great Depression.
So what does a person get after working all their lives? "Another day older and deeper in debt" says the song. Senator McCain seems to say we old people must give up our hard-earned benefits, or else he and the rest of the Republicans will drag the whole country down.
I am using my personal blog, www.peaypatch.blogspot.com to record oral memories of just what did happen to people during and before the Great Depression.
We seniors played by the rules. We did not outsource jobs, thus reducing the Social Security Trust Fund. Most of us never even understood how corporations were eating away at our future welfare. We trusted them. And now the Republicans want to throw us away, as the ancient Romans threw away their aged slaves.