I went to Will Bunch’s book signing at the Rittenhouse Square Barnes & Noble last night, and then my friend and I went over to Drinking Liberally at Jose Pistola’s (I hadn’t even seen the new place).
On the way there, we saw a sad little episode: A sharp-looking elderly woman, dining al fresco with her husband, who had some kind of accident falling off her chair. She couldn’t move, and all I could think about was how vulnerable they are at that age — that one minute, they’re independent and happy, and the next they have a fracture that’s the beginning of a downward spiral. (Let’s just say I felt great empathy for her.) Poor thing.
(h/t K.) I keep thinking about that scene in “Sicko,” where an American ex-pat tells Michael Moore, “Here in France, the government is afraid of the people. In America, the people are afraid of the government.”That’s the way to do it!
More than one million French workers have taken to the streets to protest against austerity measures planned by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government.
The rallies came as a 24-hour national strike disrupted flight and rail services, and closed schools.
Activists are angry at government plans to overhaul pensions and raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
Union leaders say more strikes and protests are possible if the government fails to give an adequate response.
“If they don’t respond and they don’t pay heed, there’ll be a follow up, and nothing is ruled out at this stage,” Bernard Thibault, leader of the large CGT union, told a rally in Paris.
France’s retirement age is lower than many countries in Europe, but analysts say the issue is polarising politics in the country.
Labour Minister Eric Woerth introduced the pensions bill to the National Assembly, warning of dire consequences if it did not pass.
“If we don’t modify our pension plan, then tomorrow there will be no money left to pay the French pensions,” he told parliamentarians.
Under current rules, both men and women in France can retire at 60, providing they have paid social security contributions for 40.5 years – although they are not entitled to a full pension until they are 65.
The government says it will save 70bn euros (£58bn) by raising the retirement age to 62 by 2018, the qualification to 41.5 years, and the pension age to 67.
President Nicolas Sarkozy says reforms are needed to cope with an aging population and the country’s budget deficit.
The government is also looking to find 100bn euros of savings in three years, and is planning cuts in the civil sector.
Yeah, stick it to working people to bail out the bankers. Where have I heard that before?
Has Republicans and Dems tied at 46% on generic ballot. I’m sure this will be duly noted on every media outlet.
This is a righteous rant pointing out that what we have is a complete fucking fail. It’s a failure of our political institutions, of our financial system, of our economy as structured, of the economics profession, of unelected elite GOP Daddies who are supposed to fix things, of the media, of the whole fucking thing. Extended 9.5%+ unemployment is not ok. It means something is seriously fucking wrong, and the people in charge are unwilling or for whatever reason (including being idiots) unable to fix the problem.
To recap, a person is allowed to decide when to start drawing Social Security payments from the government. You can get them at 62, at 70, or anyplace in between. There is an obvious attraction to getting it sooner rather than later, and about 45% of those eligible choose to start getting the checks on their 62nd birthday.
The reason that the other 55% hold off is that the older you are when you start, the bigger the checks become. The payments for a person starting at 70 are about 70% higher than for a person starting at 62. (But relatively few hold out all the way until 70. The median age is 63.)
That trade-off, forgoing some years of payments to make the size of those payments bigger, sets up an interesting little finance problem which I discussed a year ago with the help of some annuity prices I found on-line. (It’s a good post. Here’s another link.)
The main conclusion from my analysis was that, unless you know you are likely to shuffle off your mortal coil earlier than actuarially expected, you should hold out until age 70. In other words, most Americans get this wrong.
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Mayor Daley is retiring. Will Rahm resign so he can run? Here’s hoping…