Today we’re going to take a moment from the normal conspiracy topics of the day to look at something we have noticed over the past few years that is starting to become a trend. Almost every single day, if you look at any mainstream media website, newscast, talk show, or magazine, there is some sort of article that seems to preach the awesome advantages for people of retirement age to keep on keeping on. Common Sense Conspiracy certainly applauds anyone who wants to stay active in the workplace into their golden years, and we feel that for a lot of hard-working Americans out there, working is just such a way of life that they simply can’t wrap their mind around, well, doing nothing. Still, though, we wanted to take a second and analyze what is going on here. Is the government and the mainstream media conspiring to convince “baby boomers” to keep working? And if so, why?
We all know about the woes of the Social Security system. However, despite the repeated refusals of politicians to do anything about it, the Social Security Administration still insists that the system will be more than able to fulfill its obligations for many more years, and when the magic day in the 2030’s arrives when there just simply isn’t enough money to go around, they still estimate that most people would get 75% of what they should. So, the government is insisting that the system is going to support itself. Have you ever wondered how they arrive at these conclusions? Well, that’s an easy one. It may be morbid, but the government uses think tanks that use statistics to calculate how long different demographics are expected to live. When they give us these figures, it’s based on the idea that we will all live within a certain age range and collect a certain amount of money. That medical advances could change the picture never is included in the equation. They never explain how they can be so sure when technology is increasing exponentially in weeks, not months or years. Put simply, they are bravely saying that there’s enough money when there is simply no way they could know that for sure.
Another conspiracy theory often floated about Social Security is that if too many people retired at once, would the system just implode? Much like a run on a bank, it probably would. After all, the system runs on the premise that the current working class is putting in the funds to pay the previous working class. So, if suddenly everyone that could draw quit working at one time, yes, it’s fair to say the system wouldn’t survive. It’s also fair to say that there is not any real scenario (barring nuclear winter) where that would be likely to happen. So, is the government encouraging people to keep working because it can’t afford to pay them? Not exactly. But it certainly works to their advantage.
The Social Security benefits system is already skewed towards convincing people to hold out longer. While you are eligible for benefits as early as age 62, to get the most you can get, you need to wait years longer. In return for holding out, you will get a higher monthly salary for the rest of your life. So, to take the fullest advantage of the Social Security system, you would ideally work until you were 66, retire, and then live to be well over 100. The ideal situation for the government is for you to work 65 years and 11 months of your life, paying into the system, and then drop dead. That’s a win-win.
The reality here is simple. Is there a conspiracy here? Absolutely. The government uses the mainstream media to try to convince people to keep working voluntarily. They know full well that the retirement ages are going to be raised in the not-so-distant future, but it will take lots of hand-wrangling in Congress before it happens, and of course, it would never happen if it’s on the wrong side of the election cycle. So, in the meantime, if they can get more people to keep working on their own, it helps buy some time until they can make it compulsory.
The mainstream articles use typical tactics to push their cause. The articles, without fail, appeal to the “American spirit” and the fact that these people are such hard workers, that they just love to work, that they feel their life is not complete without working, and that their work ethic is so great, that they just can’t fathom a world where they wouldn’t work. Go for the gold, America. Work until you die! Push it to the limit! Think of all that money you can put into the system after you don’t have to!
That’s what really sucks about the whole deal. If you do keep working and do not take from the system, you at least should be rewarded for it by getting to keep your money. Yet, even as you save the government’s neck, you still pay in. You literally pay Social Security tax on your wages even though you could stop working and they would have to pay you. So, the government can’t even show a little appreciation for the good turn with another.
When it’s all said and done, this fits into our patented “Sometimes It Is What It Is” category. Is it a conspiracy? Absolutely. It’s one of those that is so obvious that even the biggest conspiracy naysayer out there couldn’t go against us on this one. Does it matter in the long run? Probably not. Remember, they are only encouraging people to keep working past retirement age until they collect enough political capital to make it the law of the land.