The rise in household income and decline in poverty are positive developments, and they were expected given low unemployment last year. But
"In 2006, the poverty rate remained higher, and median income for non-elderly households remained $1,300 lower, than in 2001, when the last recession hit bottom," said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in a statement. "It is virtually unprecedented for poverty to be higher and the income of working-age households lower in the fifth year of a recovery than in the last year of the previous recession."
Didja notice anything unusual in the last paragraph? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I DO believe it’s quite rare for a news organization to identify a source as “liberal,” as in “…director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities…” Media use the adjective “conservative” all the damned time when describing the political orientation of various and sundry pundits…too often, in my mind… but good on CNN for using, at least once, an appropriate modifier for the economic wet-blanket crowd. Refreshing, that.
But, the point above is neither here nor there. What occupied most of my time this morning were a series of articles about retirement linked in the article referenced above and in subsequent pieces I read. There was this one, for starters: “Retirement at risk: Who's falling short.” And that article led to this one: “Shrinking Social Security; A new report says Social Security will replace less of your income than it did before, thanks to taxes, Medicare and the reality of hitting your 60's.” And there were links within those links that cried out to be followed…and follow I did. What emerged was a rather depressing set of statistics and factoids about the doom facing my cohort and those that follow close on our heels: We’re not prepared, most of us, for retirement and what’s worse is few people are doing much of anything to rectify the situation. A lot of folks can’t save or contribute as much as they need to that ol’ 401(k) because…well, there’s just too much stuff we need right now… an iPhone, a new car (followed by another new car, next year), a bigger house, perhaps a little vacation place on the lake, a boat for the vacation house, college for the kids (if even that…), a cruise or two, a new wardrobe (“everything I own is ‘out!’”), yadda, yadda, yadda. And then all of a sudden you’re 65 and find yourself still working, with few, if any, alternatives.
I had a conversation with a friend the other night who’s in that boat I just described: 65 and still working. And a self-admission that although retirement beckons (“I’m getting tired”), the debt load is such that retirement is absolutely, positively out of the question…both now and for the foreseeable future. And savings? Non-existent. But the cash flow is good, the bills get paid, and the acquisition merry-go-round is still whirling. I fear for my friend. And others, too. Time is short.
President Bush is visiting
I’m afraid I just don’t have the intestinal fortitude required to live in N’Awlins these days. Not after reading this piece, anyway. Let’s hope things are going better on the
Our weather has changed here on The High Plains, thanks to a cold front that moved in overnight. The forecast is for widely scattered t-storms all day and tomorrow, too. It’s lightly raining as I tap this out, and that’s a good thing. Rain is usually good in this part of the world, unlike other places where just one more drop might cause a psychopathic response in the mass population. This cold front is bringing a ten-degree reduction in temps along with rain. Both are welcome…especially the cooler temperatures.
Today’s Pic: Another in the “SN3 Plays in the Puddles” series of pics from July, 1998. There’s another reason I’m posting this particular pic— it’s one of only three pictures (another, and not a particularly good pic here) of my beloved and much-missed ‘96 Impala SS. And this pic ain’t all that good either, come to think on it. Nice shot of the front wheel and turn signal, in addition to illustrating the quality of the wax job. That car really glistened when it was clean and washed up nice.
I don’t know exactly why I never took decent pictures of this car. Perhaps it just never occurred to me to actually…you know…DO it.