February 4, 2005

Coffee and complaints about Social Security.

The first article I noticed on opening up the NYT this morning directly addresses what was the first thing I yelped about after listening to the President's State of the Union address. Here's what I said:
I did note that when Bush assured "older workers," that he defined "older workers" with an age break that just barely left me out.
I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way.

For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time.

So that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I'm one of the "younger workers"?

Let's see what the Times has:
"I'm not in the 65-year-old group which he says will keep the benefits and not in the 25 group that gets to invest all their money," said Mr. McEwen, a 50-year-old lawyer who was having coffee and reading a paperback in a Starbucks here on Thursday morning. "So I'm the most affected of all."...

Most of the people interviewed in a day's snapshot of middle-aged opinion - one morning, one city and the chance encounters of a reporter and photographer - said that politics, at least to a certain degree, colored their views. People who voted for Mr. Bush tended to be more optimistic about his plan, while people who did not generally took a dimmer view.

Oh, they just walked around looking for fiftyish people to get a reaction from. I guess I'll have to wait to hear analysis. But it sure was helpful to know some lawyer was having coffee and reading a paperback at Starbucks. Come on! I need information! What paperback was he reading? And he was just "having" "coffee"? Please! Was he sipping or gulping? Was it a latte or a cappucino?

I got some email yesterday from someone who supports Bush's plan and said he was disappointed to be just above the 55-years-old line. Supposedly, the new plan is so good that it's better to get in than to be cut out, even if you are far along in your earning years. I wrote back that I felt I was being forced to figure out a lot of new things just to keep my full benefit. My emailer insisted I'd be better off. My response:
Well, if it's better to be outside of the line than inside of the line, why have the line at all? So the geezers won't bitch?

Unfortunately, all I've been able to hear about the plan so far is that if you voted for Bush, the plan is good and if you voted against Bush, the plan is bad. Well, I voted for Bush, and though I have no idea if the plan is good, I am incapable of seeing the connection between the supposed financial crisis and the way the plan addresses it. All I hear is: there's a big crisis (or not) and here's this new way to structure benefits (which you might find appealing, whether there is a crisis or not).

But what I really need to know is what one guy at Starbucks has to say off the top of his head. And look, there's a guy over there. He looks about 50. Wonder what he thinks?

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