As I noted in my last post, there are millions of older Americans who don’t have time to “wait” for the market–and their own retirment funds–to recover from the current recession. Some of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that we’ll just have to keep working indefinitely. But as MSN’s Jim Jubak points out, it isn’t as simple as that.
Everyone I talk to glibly says, “Well, I’ll just have to work longer.” At what jobs? In an economy in which companies regularly find ways to replace higher-paid older workers with younger employees, most people won’t be able to stay at their current jobs. And in an economy that is exporting its meat-and-potatoes manufacturing jobs and their higher wages and generating mostly lower-paying jobs to replace them, post-retirement workers are going to be competing with a horde of anxious younger workers for even ill-paying, no-benefit, part-time work.
We need Washington to wake up and realize that, yes, we need to create jobs to pull us out of the current economic slowdown but we also need to create jobs to fix the holes blown in the retirement plans of tens of millions of Americans by this financial crisis. We need not just jobs now but a coordinated national effort—public and private—to create long-term job growth for decades to come.
Jubak’s argument about the absolute necessity of job creation to any recovery is a sound one. But even he admits that it’s already too late for some of us.
We also need to find a way to help those people who reach retirement age but who are in no condition to keep working. Working longer isn’t a solution for someone who isn’t physically or mentally able to work.
Don’t hold your breath while waiting for this “help” to arrive. With a shrinking economy and a growing geezer population, longtime opponents of “entitlements” like Social Security are already gearing up to oppose any further government support for old folks facing hard times.