Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Little Short of Retirement

Over here, Boink says:
Mrs. B and I are old enough to be (and are) retired persons. We were expecting to augment our SSB’s er… social security benefits to younger folk… with interest earned on life savings. There is a huge cohort retiring just now with similar expectations.

There are no such earnings, i.e., insured savings earn about 0.1% to 0.25% interest ever since 2008. Inflation is at a somewhat higher level than that every year. At least inflation on food and other essentials. So that older folks are eating their savings here just like the retired people did in the USSR after Yeltsin invited in Smith’s Chicago boys back in the 1990′s. The banks however have remained solvent at least officially and the bank officers have merited bonuses annually. I think that that is what became of the expected income-augmenting interest. Our interest became their bonuses.

The reality sort makes the Atlantic’s quiz rather pointless. In hindsight Mrs. B and I should have tossed the life savings into the stock market in 2008 or 2009 and made out like bandits …. but it didn’t look so prudent at that time, given the crash that had just occurred in 2008.
Response for posterity:

Well, that's the unpleasant issue we must face, isn't it? It is, of course, so much nicer being cheated by the Fed here than it is to get gang-raped by coalition soldiers in Afghanistan--and yet, it really does suck to get cheated out of a few years of reliable relaxation by the Fed.

Yet, that expectation some of us educated prog-blog-reading bourgeois had--of those dwindling years of fixed, but survivable, income--is built upon all that exploitation we decry. Those of you who have nest eggs built them up using a system of exploitation that denied a safe retirement to, say, Hispanic agricultural workers who fed you, asbestos-stuffed miners who powered your house, or even the painfully obvious dead Iraqi who powered your car (and your 401[k]). We're upset that our interest rates are down, even though the banks that we wanted to get those interest rates from are the ones who have spent decades denying that same security to the "illegal Mexicans" who fund Social Security while never collecting any, or who stock shelves or pack our amazon.com shipping boxes while never earning enough to have their own nest egg.

Secretly, we were all hoping that, despite the malfeasance of which we were quite aware, things would still turn out okay for us. Should we give our money to Citibank, ravager of the South American continent, or should we "toss the life savings into the stock market and make out like bandits" by investing in, oh, Apple (anti-slave-suicide nets pictured above, natch)? Halliburton? How about General Dynamics or Oracle or Bank of America?

So I share that pain, but what the hell else did we expect at this point? We're talking about bankers who have, with malice aforethought, starved literally millions of children, polluted the cradle of human civilization with depleted uranium, and who meet every week to discuss who to kill with their flying robots. What good was going to come out of that?

Like I said a couple days before that discussion happened to start up there, thank God for Iraq.


  1. Even more offensive than above is the continued support of the general system and it's continued spread to less developed and less enlightened parts of the world - if those barbarians would just fully embrace it, soon they too could have livable wages and savings. Just let us and our boys do our thing, and soon you will be fine too! It's gonna trickle, baby. This exact view is upheld by people who consider themselves educated.

    1. If you can quantify that kind of offense--if--I'm not so sure what you describe is "more" offensive. It's terrible, surely, but isn't it more honest? If you actually believe in the system, then there's no inconsistency in you having Apple and Sun in your portfolio.

      If you claim not to, though--if you're an upset radical internet blogger--and you still do all that stuff, we're in the realm of hypocrisy, which seems to add a further taint to all of the badness that was already there in the Rethuglican case.