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Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Desperate for Work or Fearful about Losing Their Job"

Dean Baker:

The Daily Beast Acts Up on the Economy, by Dean Baker: ...The unemployment rate for the year [2011] is likely to average above 9.0 percent. The number of people who are involuntarily underemployed has generally been 8.5 and 9.0 million, close to double the pre-recession level. Millions more have given up looking for work altogether. Real wages have been stagnant or falling for the last 4 years, with little prospect of turning around any time soon as the high rate of unemployment continues to depress wages.
In addition, tens of millions of baby boomers are approaching retirement with almost nothing to support themselves other than their Social Security. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the median older baby boomer (ages 55-64) had just $162,000 in wealth. This is roughly enough to buy the median home. This means that if this household took all of their wealth, they can pay off their mortgage. They would then be completely dependent on their Social Security to support them in retirement. And, half of older baby boomers have less wealth than this.
In short, most of the country is looking at a situation where they are desperate for work or fearful about losing their job. Older workers are looking at a retirement where they are not far above the poverty level, even after spending a life working in middle class jobs. ...

Then we should surely impose austerity immediately to make the jobs picture even worse, and focus it on social insurance programs for older workers looking forward to a retirement near the poverty level. Asking those who are far, far from poverty to help, and waiting until the economy is on solid footing before taking steps to address long-run budget issues is, of course, out of the question.

    Posted by on Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 01:35 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (38)


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