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Your choices are increase social security benefits, or Logan's Run.

Ted Siedle at Forbes:

We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world. In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the "new normal" for many elderly Americans.

Calling 401k plans a "disaster", Siedle notes that the average 401k has about $25,000 in it, and regarding those few people who still have pensions, "Whether you know it or not, someone is busy trying to figure how to screw you out of" it.

Another thing to consider, only briefly touched upon in the article, is that due to this crisis, people aren't retiring, and that means less opportunities for the next generation A few years back the big crisis in the HR world was aging baby boomers nearing retirement age and how that was going to require a massive recruiting effort, which would necessitate accommodating Gen Y-ers in a big way, leading to a lot of articles like this. The positive spin on this (and you could even form a conspiracy theory if you wanted to) is that companies will have more time to deal with those issues. But of course that means more out-of-work young people during their formative years where job experience is tremendously important.

This is why Atrios is always, correctly, pushing the "We need to increase, not cut, social security benefits" angle. And if "because we don't want old people to starve to death" is too moralistic a motivation for you, there's also the societal cost to all of this. Eliminating the income cap on SS payments and even increasing the overall tax is a lot less costly than dealing with millions of elderly people struggling in poverty.

And looking at that second Atrios post i re-linked to... from the Forbes article:

Let me emphasize that we're talking about the overwhelming majority, not a small percentage who arguably made bad decisions throughout their working lives.

And just to keep this post going in as many directions as possible, here's why we'll never actually address this issue.

By fnord12 | March 22, 2013, 12:17 PM | Liberal Outrage