Here’s a current scenario that is happening all too often to way too many of my friends and family and hundreds of thousands of strangers across our great Homeland.
You are a loyal and longtime worker. You’ve been with the company for over 20 years. You’re called into the office a year before your 62nd birthday and told you have two Hobson’s Choices: ”Sign this paper saying you will retire the day you turn 62 or get fired today and lose your health insurance and go on unemployment. The decision is all yours!” Of course, these “new firees” are terrified and stunned and only hear, “You’re fat and ugly and stupid and smelly and we’re through with you, now get out!”
The reality of these late-term firings is simple: Talented, older, workers cost a lot more money than young and stupid people fresh out of school. It’s easier to blame the bad economy for getting rid of older workers than to reveal the truth about the company’s want to preserve the bottom line profit margin.
These newly fired workers — and yes, being forced into taking early retirement is a firing just the same as getting pink slipped — are always shocked they’re being fired. They’ve been loyal. They haven’t been out of work in decades. They have no idea where to turn or where to go and so they inevitably, and ironically, opt for the social safety net option and agree to take early retirement.
I say “ironically” because the GOP crashed our economy on purpose to try to prevent President Obama from winning a second term, and the GOP want to cut the very public rolls these new “firees” will have to use in order to survive into a hopeful old age.
Republicans have opposed a lion’s share of stimulus measures that once they supported, such as a payroll tax break, which they grudgingly embraced earlier this year. Even unemployment insurance, a relatively uncontroversial tool for helping those in an economic downturn, has been consistently held up by Republicans or used as a bargaining chip for more tax cuts. Ten years ago, prominent conservatives were loudly making the case for fiscal stimulus to get the economy going; today, they treat such ideas like they’re the plague.
Traditionally, during economic recessions, Republicans have been supportive of loose monetary policy. Not this time. Rather, Republicans have upbraided Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, for even considering policies that focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.
And then, there is the fact that since the original stimulus bill passed in February of 2009, Republicans have made practically no effort to draft comprehensive job creation legislation. Instead, they continue to pursue austerity policies, which reams of historical data suggest harms economic recovery and does little to create jobs. In fact, since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have proposed hardly a single major jobs bill that didn’t revolve, in some way, around their one-stop solution for all the nation’s economic problems: more tax cuts.
We live in the prison of a Republican created and controlled economy and yet the blame for our current fiscal depression is somehow being aimed at Democrats. What a riotous and disingenuous scam the GOP are running on us!
Taking early retirement at age 62 instead of waiting for the full-benefit retirement age of 66 — if you were born in, say, 1950 — costs you a lot of money. Taking early retirement reduces your monthly benefit by 25% so, if you qualify to receive $1,000.00USD a month at 66, you’d only be given $750.00USD if you take early retirement at age 62. If you lived 20 years in retirement, you would lose $60,000.00USD in benefit payments by getting out at age 62 instead of age 66. Once you take your payout, that’s your payout for life. You don’t get full retirement benefits at age 66 if you retire early at 62.
In a sick way, forcing people into early retirement benefits the government by reducing future payouts while also clearing well-paid workers from company rolls. The only loser in this scheme is the worker and the worker’s family. The worker goes from a robust employed citizen to one who is on a fixed income in the dash of an eye. Forcing early retirement at age 62 is a terrible non-choice that defines Ageism and the savage shelving of talented minds and engaged hearts at a time in our nation when we need the wisest and the toughest working for as long as they are willing to give us their energy and sweat.