Wednesday, November 17, 2004

50-plus

Digging my grave


Dear Ms. Maya,

Our records show that you haven't yet registered for the benefits of AARP membership, even though you are fully eligible.


It's a bit disturbing when the retiree lobby starts hounding you before the age of 30. I have to wonder what list I'm on that is primarily the domain of old people. From time to time I worry that I'm too mature for my own good. Once I got a sample issue of a magazine for "mature women" in the mail. Some of the issues were pertinent, like protecting against cancer and broken hips (since all that really starts early in life and requires constant vigilance), but other stuff I hope not to need for quite some time (until I really am a mature woman, I suppose) in spite of my ailing musculo-skeletal system.

I'm probably on some mailing list as a result of my correspondence with my grandmother. She's got one of those old-people-activist bents, where I receive email missives on a weekly basis detailing the plight of yesterday's workers--issues like pensions and benefits reform and whatnot. By the time I'm old, I'd better have a billion dollars in the bank to retire on, because I'm fairly certain no one is going to take care of me besides myself, social security reform notwithstanding.

I recently read an article that discussed the arguments for and against social security privatization. I found interesting the discussion of how social security and other entitlement programs were counter-cyclical and therefore like a Keynesian infusion of government spending which would be good for pulling the economy out of recessions, whereas tying old folks' money to stock market indexes could have the effect of deepening recessions, not just making life difficult for old people. So that was interesting. But I think Keynesian economics is dying on the vine anyway. No more muted technical command, we're going to be exposed to the wild swings of markets. Just deal with the pain, because rich people will end up richer once we get through the storm, and that's all that matters, right?

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