imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Retirement under capitalism

by Workers International League Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007 at 3:40 PM

Sometimes small statistics can have huge implications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics recently reported that the age at which U.S. workers retire has risen for the first time in 100 years. According to the report, in the mid-1980s, 18 percent of people in their late 60s still had jobs; today, it is 29 percent. Millions of U.S. workers can no longer look forward to the “Golden Years” of guaranteed Social Security, Medicare health insurance and employer pensions. One in four baby boomers surveyed said they would likely never be able to retire – in other words, they will “work until they drop”. For those that do want to retire, the age at which they can do so is also being systematically raised. Workers born in 1960 or later must wait until age 67, rather than 65, to get their full Social Security benefits. There is talk of raising it further to 70. The mainstream media took scant notice of this, and for good reason; it’s a huge indicator of deeper processes that are destroying the standard of living of workers in the United States and internationally. A quick look into why workers are delaying retirement – if they have the “luxury” of retiring at all – points a condemning finger at the current state of international capitalism, while at the same time warning younger workers of the even worse conditions they’ll certainly face under the auspices of the capitalist system.

The rise in the retirement age is an inevitable outcome of the ongoing pattern of attacks on wages, benefits, and Social Security; indeed, this is only the beginning. Politicians across the globe are beyond impatient in their explanations of the “economic necessity” of destroying their countries’ often-meager social safety nets. When it comes to Social Security, capitalist governments everywhere rabidly agree that the system must be “reformed”, i.e., destroyed. Because past workers’ struggles in different countries had varying levels of success, the age that one receives retirement benefits fluctuates as well. What remains consistent is the determination of the ruling class to drastically raise the recipient age.

In Germany the government is demanding that the beneficiary age be raised by two years, from 65 to 67, whereas in France, where workers have been particularly militant in past struggles, the government aims to push through an increase from age 60 to 65. In both countries, large protest movements temporarily deflected the attacks; but talk amongst the profit-mongers leaves no doubt that future assaults are already in the works in order to remain “competitive on the global arena”. Japan and Italy have already raised the pension age from 60 to 65.

In the U.S., the intentionally-faulty accounting methods used to inflate the Social Security issue into a full-blown “crisis”, was the first propagandistic step toward destroying what little remains of the social safety net. Contrary to those who say there is no way to continue funding the program, there is far more wealth produced and far more people producing it than when Social Security was first set up in the 1930s, a concession wrenched from the ruling class as the result of mass pressure from below and the danger of revolution. So even if there is a shortage in the Social Security fund, a minor shift in government expenditures from, say, military contracts, could easily cover any deficit. This supposed crisis is merely a pretext for the privatization of the entire Social Security system.

The motive behind this privatization effort has been explained in depth by various corporate-sponsored think tanks, whose studies about the effects of raising the Social Security recipient age promised spectacular economic benefits – the business moguls frothed at the mouth in anticipation. They found that raising the recipient age drastically increases the size of the work force (thus lowering wages in general while raising profits). It also showed that when the recipient age rises, less money has to be paid out, meaning, many who paid into Social Security their whole lives receive nothing. Most importantly, the large pools of Social Security cash could be used by investors on Wall Street to keep corporate America afloat, while at the same time boosting their own salaries in the form of broker fees – all at the risk and expense of the working class.

This “Chilean Model” of using public Social Security funds for private speculation is seen as a necessary component of capitalism’s future, even though it has already had a disastrous effect on the working class in South America (it took the dictator Pinochet and the help of U.S.-trained economists to implement the program in Chile). Connecting a person’s retirement security – through “private savings accounts” – with the unpredictable nature of the stock market, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Corporations have also been privatizing their pension plans for years, by converting them into the now ubiquitous 401(k) savings accounts. The 401(k) was the answer to the pension obligations that employers found burdensome to their profit-margins. According to the American Benefits Council, 50 percent of pension plans in the U.S. have been lost in the last ten years. Both the financial obligation and investment risk was shifted to the working class, who found out the hard way what the new system had in store for them. After years of hoopla over the successes that the 401(k) was having amid a rising stock market, illusions were shattered when the bubble exploded, taking with it the lifetime savings of hundreds of thousands who were heavily invested in 401(k). This is just a hint of what a privatized Social Security system would mean.

The incredible lack of foresight it takes to think up such crazy adventures regardless of the social consequences is not an accident, but the logical conclusion of a system that relies exclusively on rising profit-rates for its existence. When the international system of trade starts to stagnate and profit-rates begin to fall, the desperation of the ruling class rises. Their schemes to offset shrinking profits always falls on the shoulders of the working class, whose labor produces society’s wealth, and whose standard of living is looked at by the bosses in the same way a vulture sees road kill.

Because the international capitalist system is in a protracted decline, the employing class in all countries has resorted to the above tactics to try and recoup their losses. There is still much to be retaken from the workers, since profit-rates are expected to continue their decline and someone will be forced to compensate. Capitalism’s inability to increase – or even maintain – the standard of living of the majority of its population is its biggest indictment, and the main cause behind the workers’ movements in Latin America that are now heading in the direction of socialism. This is an indication of where the workers’ movement in the U.S. is headed in the future, since the crisis of world capitalism ignores national boundaries. “Never-ending social progress” under capitalism has been proven a myth.

At the bottom of the Social Security and retirement issue is an essential question: will the world’s resources be used to benefit those that actually create the wealth, and to protect and help those who most need it? Or will wealth remain in the hands of whoever is most capable of exploiting, taking, or hoarding it?

To be sure, the takers and hoarders are the ones making this decision for the rest of us. For them it’s a matter of being “realistic” about basic economic questions, i.e. how best to increase short-term profits under their guidance and privilege.

The current situation is exposing the inhumanity of our social-system for all to see, making the demand to bring these institutions under public democratic control for the benefit of everybody all the more urgent - before millions more have to endure a suffering justified by economic “practicality”.
Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

The Shortwave Report 08/31/18 Listen Globally! A30 11:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy