You’ve probably seen this sign or something like it before. They are posted in subway stations, stadiums, post offices, even on signs hanging over the highway.
Your parents saw signs like this back in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, although back then they were written in German or Russian. These signs scare me, and they should scare you. It is one thing to warn people about unattended boxes or back packs; it is another entirely to post a broad warning that includes your neighbor who just happens to be a Muslim, a teacher who adds his or her commentary to the board-approved history text, or, God forbid, you.
If big government bothers you, an invasive government should terrify you.
Why put this in my blog? After all, this is a financial blog dedicated to issues related to 401(k) plans. There are two reasons. The first should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis: Because I can. This is my soapbox, and today I’m adding a little political commentary to the blog. You’ll find it easier to take if you agree with me. So agree with me.
The second is a far greater threat to National Security then all the unattended bags and suspicious characters you’ll ever meet: We’re about to see the income of millions, millions of our citizens drop 50% or more over the next 15 years. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services the population of individuals 65 and older will increase by 21.7% over the next 5 years, and 61% over the next 15 years. By 2030 more than 1 in every 5 Americans will be 65 or older.
What are the financial implications of that change? The median income in 2013 was $29,327 for males and $16,301 for females. 36% of that population will depend on social security for 90% or more of their income. 47% of non-married beneficiaries depend on social security for 90% or more of their income. 14.6% of all people 65 or older live in poverty. The % of seniors living in poverty is second only to persons under 18 for any other age band. Unfortunately, those expenses that are most important to seniors, medical expenses being #1, are increasing exponentially all but guaranteeing the rate of poverty for persons 65 and older will increase faster than the population increase.
Now that’s my idea of a threat. A very real threat to our way of life, our National Security if you will, that is all but ignored in Washington. I see it, and you should see it. We better sound out a warning loud enough that even the folks in Washington can hear. The numbers quoted above are not a suspicion; they are fact.