“Earlier this year, the employment rate of prime working age women reached an all-time high, passing 75 percent for the first time in U.S. history. Defying widespread expectations that the COVID-19 pandemic would disproportionately harm the economic prospects of women, they have recovered faster than men and played a dominant role in the overall labor market recovery.”
Growth of life expectancy gap between low- and high-income Americans
“In a 2015 report, the National Academy of Sciences compared the 1930 and 1960 birth cohorts and found that life expectancy for the bottom quintile of men at age 50 decreased slightly to 26.1 years over the 30-year period. Meanwhile, life expectancy rose for men age 50 in higher-income quintiles. As shown in Figure 1, the life expectancy gap between the bottom (quintile 1) and top fifth of the income distribution widened from 5.1 to 12.7 years.
“In 2016, a Brookings study found, for men born in 1940, those in the lowest income decile at age 50 could expect to live to be about 76 years old compared with 88 years for the highest income decile. Another research team, led by Raj Chetty, found that disparity in longevity continued to increase over 2001–2014; the average gap between the bottom and top 1 percent was 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women.”
“Less affluent Americans — those who depend most on Social Security — have seen little rise in life expectancy, and in some cases actual declines,” Krugman observes. “So anyone invoking rising life expectancy as a reason to delay Social Security benefits is, in effect, saying that aging janitors must keep working — or be cast into extreme poverty — because bankers are living longer.”
Good to see Paul Krugman weighing in on how raising the retirement age again would hurt low-wage workers. Krugman’s comments in the NYT came a few weeks after the newspaper published this article promoting a higher Social Security retirement age by an economist from a DC think tank and a business school professor:
For the Good of the Country, Older Americans Should Work More and Take Less – Eugene Steuerle & Glenn Kramon
To their credit, the authors addressed a couple of the criticisms we raised with a version of this piece published on LinkedIn. They specify what time frame they are using to show life expectancy rose. They mention in passing that a higher age for Social Security eligibility would impact certain types of low wage workers negatively. But their suggested policy changes to adjust for major lifetime benefit losses by low-wage and middle-wage workers due to a higher benefit age are weak antidotes, would not help most low-wage workers, could be hard to administer, and would be less likely to be considered by Congress than raising the age. Their recommended compensatory changes are: Making it easier to qualify for Social Security disability benefits and raising the minimum old age benefit amount (both good ideas in their own right). They also fail to mention that US life expectancy, though higher than many years ago, has been dropping for several years now. Most important, if the retirement age were raised, they omit that lifetime Social Security benefits would drop a lot more for lower wage workers because their life expectancy is much lower than for others. In addition, raising the retirement age would only fill about one fifth of Social Security’s long term financing gap. Congress still would have to raise taxes or cut benefits – hopefully in a more equitable way.
Finally, the authors bundle Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block when the cost of the two programs is rising for different reasons and controlling costs has very different distributional impacts. While Social Security costs are rising mainly due to demographic changes, Medicare costs have been rising inexorably for decades due to failure by the government and other health care purchasers to bargain effectively to keep prices in sync with the general cost of living and restrain profit taking by providers and middlemen funneling funds through the system. Vigorously reducing Medicare costs would reduce Part B premiums, leaving retirees more money to spend from their Social Security checks, while also helping to balance the national budget.
CCSE on this issue earlier this year:
“A proposal by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 would be a massive benefit cut, particularly affecting low-wage workers. If Congress enacts it, millions more Social Security taxpayers would not live long enough to collect a cent in retirement benefits.
“Most recently floated by presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, an increase in the age at which workers collect full benefits is often included in proposals to bring Social Security into financial balance along with other types of benefit cuts and tax increases.
“Few people realize that low-wage workers are already receiving a cut in lifetime Social Security benefits due to an increase in the retirement age to age 67 gradually being implemented under legislation enacted four decades ago. The age for collecting full benefits is going up two years for all income groups, but lifetime retirement income for those at the bottom is affected the most.
“Why? Because low-wage workers, on average, live shorter lives. They already collect fewer Social Security checks than those who are better off. Though a higher retirement age may not affect differences in monthly payment rates, it would have a relatively greater negative impact on lifetime income for people with a history of low earnings. It would also affect the relative value of their benefits compared to taxes they paid.”
“‘We just want to be assured that they are abiding by American values as they try to dismantle Hamas, and we all conveyed that collectively and clearly,’ Schatz told reporters. ‘I do believe they heard us, but obviously we have a long way to go.'”
Who’s calling the shots? The US? Israel? The military industrial complex? All talk – no action?
By way of analogy, can Dr. Evil restrain Mini Me’s tendency toward violence? Dr. Evil meets Mini Me – Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me 1999
“Orphans are multiplying in the streets, the bombing survivors are traumatized and once the truce ends, everybody knows death may fall again from the sky at any moment. Many are left without medicine, and there is also almost no clean water or food…”
“Look, what does it mean, Israel is not responsible? Israel has engineered this since — you know, since the early ’90s, when the world pushed Israel and the Palestinians — and the Palestinians wanted this — to have a kind of a compromise. And this is following the Palestinian First Intifada, that had a very clear political message: We want to — we don’t want our children — I heard so many activists say that — we don’t want our children to live in the way we lived under occupation, so let’s compromise and have a state, a Palestinian state, alongside Israel. And this was an accepted, an accepted way out from the bloodshed and the crisis and the conflict. And the world supported it, or seemed.
“And Israel did everything possible to foil the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. So it only increased and enhanced its colonialist drive during — since the beginning of Oslo. And Israel disconnected Gaza and put it — treated it as a separate enclave with no connections to the people of the West Bank and the rest of Palestine and Israel — not since Hamas came to power, long before, in the early ’90s. So, what is not responsibility, not Israel’s responsibility? It is Israeli policy that has created such a chain of reactions, that we could tell it. We could say — we said it over and over again, to Israelis, to diplomats, to foreign diplomats, to foreign countries. We warned over and over again. We knew, and we wanted to prevent it from happening. So how can they say Israel is not responsible?
“And you know what? Every Palestinian who is killed today in Gaza is registered in the Israeli-controlled population registry. Palestinians are not registered in a separate one. It’s Israel which controls. If a person is not registered, he is there — if a newborn is not registered in the Israeli registry of population, then the newborn does not exist. Israel controls still today. Palestinian Authority is obliged to give every name of a newborn and every change of address to Israel for validation of this change. So what is not responsible? It’s part of Israel. I mean, Israel controls the whole country, controls the people, decides how much water they have, what is the economy they are allowed to have. If they don’t go to universities in the West Bank, Israel decides. Israel decides about every detail of these people. So, what’s happening now is not Israel’s responsibility?
“This is — exactly, this is how the majority of mainstream media don’t want to deal with it…”
Netflix documentary goes deep on how governments can easily transform ordinary people into mass murderers. Leaders and citizens of all parties involved in Israel/Gaza conflict should watch this. No nation is exempt:
Background on Nuremberg trials prosecutor Ben Ferencz who is quoted extensively in the documentary: Ben Ferencz – Wikipedia
More historical information:
“Under the Cover of War is an important resource for anyone seeking to understand the full story of the 1948 Palestine war and the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rosemarie Esber meticulously documents and poignantly recounts the first phase of the Zionist conquest of Palestine and the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians—an estimated 84 percent of them were pregnant and nursing mothers, children under 15, the elderly, and the infirm.”
“The case raises ethical and legal questions about whether AI can replace or supplement human tasks and interactions, particularly in a field as complex as healthcare. California-based public advocacy firm Clarkson Law filed a similar complaint against Cigna earlier this year and has previously sued tech giants Google and ChatGPT creator OpenAI for harvesting internet users’ data to train their AI systems.”
Are health insurers programming computers to teach themselves how to be negligent, ornery, late in responding, incompetent, lazy, temporizing, and dim-witted? Traits like these in a claims reviewer might reduce costs and improve their bottom line.
“About 11 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi Aventis control 90 percent of the world’s insulin supply, while CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx manage about 80 percent of the U.S. insulin market. The Virginia lawsuits characterize the six companies as an ‘oligopoly,’ or a market controlled by a small number of participants, the same term used by California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) in a similar lawsuit filed in January in that state’s courts.”
“A RAND Corporation study from 2019 found insulin in the United States is substantially more expensive than prices in 33 other countries. The average price across all insulins in the U.S. was $98.70, compared to $6.94 in Australia, $12.00 in Canada, and $7.52 in the UK.”
As Israel’s military flexes south, a UN agency estimates that, for every 3 of the of thousands of children killed in Gaza, another one is missing or trapped under the rubble. One child in Gaza has been killed every 10 minutes. Will the US government continue to give Israel weapons and carte blanche to pound the civilian population as it pleases?
“Inside the administration, a growing number of American diplomats, defense officials and aid workers have called for a cease-fire, including more than 1,000 staffers at the U.S. Agency for International Development. At the State Department, there have been multiple dissent cables from diplomats urging the administration to use more leverage to stop the violence…
“The central dispute between Biden and Netanyahu is not over a cease-fire, which neither supports, but over the view in Washington that Israel has an unacceptable standard for proportionality. In its effort to eliminate Hamas, Israel is using powerful bombs, leveling neighborhoods and taking down high-rise buildings, tactics that inevitably kill large numbers of civilians and, many argue, further radicalize the Palestinian population.”
The Israeli government’s overriding goal of displacing and replacing the Palestinian population is evidenced, not only by its aerial liquidation of Gaza, but also by escalation of settler and army violence against disarmed Palestinians living in the West Bank. While pro-Palestinians are criticized for chanting “from the river to the sea,” Israel is actually achieving that end in real terms.