Social Security Starves Us Slowly as the GOP Tries to Kill Us by Gutting Health Care
What it really comes down to is, what kind of a society do we really want to live in? Do we want it to be one where people starve, freeze, even die because of bad luck, because of being born to a poor family in the wrong part of the country where the schools suck and jobs are scarce, because the government decided it was okay for car-makers to move production to Mexico or China, make them there and then import them back into the US without any import tax, and sell them here, because they can’t afford to see a doctor, or get a needed medical test or procedure? Do we want to say that after working for 30 or 40 years, it’s okay for their Social Security benefit check to be a lousy $1400 a month? And remember, for 43% of older Americans, that Social Security check represents at least 90% of their income. Remember too that href="www.fool.com/retirement/general/2016/04/19/when-does-the-average-american-start-collecting-so.aspx">45% of Americans turn to Social Security at age 62, not because they want to but because they need the money, although doing so before age 66 means foregoing over 30% in higher inflation-adjusted benefits for life, and 76% higher benefits for not waiting until age 70 (a challenge only 3% of economically struggling Americans manage to meet, and one that has become much harder since Congress removed the "file-and-suspend" option for couples).
Try working out a budget on that, and see how you do. I can’t imagine it, especially for someone living in an urban area.
I’ll give you some help. The Bureau of Labor Statistics -- the same outfit that makes the estimate of what inflation has been for the year -- offers the following information on average elderly expenses:
* Housing costs average $1294 a month.
* Transportation costs average $571 a month
* Food costs average $459 a month
* Entertainment averages $205 a month
* Personal insurance averages $228 a month
That all totals $2757, or more than double what we have left of our average benefit check after deducting health care expenses.
Oh, by the way, the BLS says those health care costs for the elderly average $480 a month, which is a bit more than our 20% average, but hey at this point, who’s counting?
Clearly we have a problem. Either we Americans decide we are just going to take the Lamm approach and let a lot of our elderly just die -- or as is more likely -- become a huge burden on their children and/or grandchildren, holding them all down from being able to get ahead in the world by, say, going to college or moving to some place where there are actually jobs. Or we decide that we are a civilized people and that we, like the people in almost every European country, and many more developed countries in other parts of the world have managed to do, are going to adequately fund their old age with a Social Security program that actually provides the security promised in its name.
We aren’t doing that now, and the current Trump/Republican government in Washington is hard at work trying to adopt Lamm’s approach of just killing the problem off by pricing medical insurance out of their reach.