Category Archives: Social Security

How much Americans have in savings

A financially-secure retirement has three nest eggs:

  1. Pension, which is rapidly vanishing for many working Americans.
  2. Social Security: Although Social Security was never intended to be a retiree’s sole source of income, 35% of Americans over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments. (Accounting Degree Review)
  3. Savings: Experts say you should have 5 times your annual salary saved by age 50, 6 times by age 55, and 7 times by age 60.

Again and again, we’ve been told that the average American has too little in savings. According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35% of all U.S. adults had only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts; 34% had zero savings.

More recently, the news is no better.

Kathleen Elkins reports for CNBC, Oct. 8, 2018, that the median American household has just $11,700 in total savings. That means half of U.S. households have less than $11,700 in savings; 29% of households have less than $1,000.

Personal finance site MagnifyMoney used data from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to break down how much American households at every income level have saved:

  1. Top 1% in income:
    • Average savings $2.5 million
    • Median savings $1.13 million.
  2. Top 10% in income:
    • Average savings: $961,570
    • Median savings: $156,510
  3. 60 to 79.9% in income:
    • Average savings: $133,770
    • Median savings: $77,020
  4. 40 to 59.9% in income:
    • Average savings: $65,830
    • Median savings: $34,020
  5. 20 to 39.9% in income:
    • Average savings: $29,080
    • Median savings: $0
  6. Bottom 20% in income:
    • Average savings: $8,720
    • Median savings: $0

What a median savings of $0 means is that half of Americans whose incomes are in the bottom 39.9% not only have no savings, they are in debt.

How much have you saved, compared to the average savings of your income group?

~Eowyn

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NJ millionaires, incl. a rabbi, arrested for welfare fraud

President Trump’s proposed budget blueprint for 2018 was met with harsh criticism over funding cuts to programs like SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said one of the Trump administration’s objectives is to wean Americans off of welfare programs:

“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money we spend, but by the number of people we help. If you’re in this country and you want to work … We’re going to get 3% growth and we’re going to give you the opportunity to work.”

Do the carping critics of Trump’s proposed cuts know about rampant welfare fraud, such as these latest, very egregious examples?

In a series of reports in June and July 2017 for Fox Business (here and here), Brittany De Lea tells of stings conducted by New Jersey law enforcement which resulted in the arrest of millionaires, including a rabbi, for defrauding millions of dollars from government welfare programs — Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), Social Security, and public housing.
The defendants have all been charged with theft by deception, misrepresenting their incomes to show levels low enough in order to qualify for public assistance programs. In New Jersey, the maximum allowable gross monthly income for a family of five to be eligible for SNAP assistance is $4,385—which amounts to about $52,600 per year.
For unstated reasons, De Lea did not give the names of the accused fraudsters. Those arrested include:

  • Three married couples in Ocean County, New Jersey were charged with welfare fraud for under-reporting incomes in order to receive a collective $2 million in unmerited public welfare benefits.
  • Four other couples in the area faced similar charges for cheating the government out of $1.3 million. In one case, a couple received Medicaid benefits for multiple years despite their annual income of more than $1 million. Another couple fraudulently received $178,000 in housing, food and health benefits by falsely listing their businesses — from which they netted $1.8 million — under relatives’ names.
  • Seven couples in Lakewood, New Jersey, including a rabbi and his wife, were charged with gaming the system out of $2 million. Another 12 “wealthy individuals” were charged with defrauding Medicaid and other government assistance programs by misrepresenting their incomes. One couple alone collected nearly $75,000 in unentitled benefits from Medicaid between 2011 and 2013, despite their annual income of more than $1 million.

In fiscal year 2016, government spending on Medicaid totaled $14.5 billion for the state of New Jersey, and a whopping $553.4 billion for the U.S. as a whole.
It was only when I searched the Internet for more information on these arrests did I discover this — Lakewood, NJ, is a majority Orthodox Jewish municipality of 100,000, and the welfare fraudsters arrested are all Jews, including the rabbi and his wife.
As reported by Jen Krausz for NewsMax, July 4, 2017, the arrests sparked a “backlash — hateful social media comments, fliers, and slurs painted on a sheet covering a Holocaust memorial,” which prompted this statement from regional Anti-Defamation League Director Joshua Cohen:

“The allegations and the charges levied against (the defendants) have nothing to do with their religion. That’s why we’re deeply concerned when we see comments online, whether it’s on newspaper websites or social media, that are anti-Semitic.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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Feds paid $1 BILLION in Social Security benefits to individuals without a SSN

serious
Drain the over-bloated, incompetent swamp.
From Fox NewsThe Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.
The agency’s inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.
The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.
Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who “did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application.”
“Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay about $182.5 million in benefits, annually, to representative payees who do not have an SSN or paper application supporting their selection,” the inspector general said.
The inspector general also found the agency paid $853.1 million in benefits since 2004 to individuals who had been terminated as representative payees by the agency.
Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.
DCG

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Head of Democratic Party Donna Brazile: no Obama economic recovery, people are in despair

Yesterday, I received a rare phone call from my brother. He just needed to commiserate with the only person he knows who isn’t liberal and who shares his political views about the upcoming presidential election.
He complained that his wife, their two adult sons, and his friends all support Hillary Clinton and think Obama is great.
I said, “Have you asked them why they like Obama?”
He answered, “They say the economy is great! Unemployment is low, interest rates are low, the economy recovered from the recession.” He also said that his wife thinks Donald Trump is “crazy”.
Not surprisingly, they get their news from the MSM and don’t pay attention to the Alternative Media. God help us from intentionally low-information voters, otherwise called useful idiots.
So this post is for my brother. Perhaps he can email this to his sons, wife, and friends. (Probably not. This is the same brother who was silent in 2008 when one of his friends, whom I don’t know, accused me of being “evil” and a “racist”. My brother had forwarded an email from me, without my consent, of a photo of Obama carrying Fareed Zakaria’s then-recently published book, The Post-American World. My brother then very helpfully forwarded his friend’s email to me, in which his friend called me an “evil racist”.)
obama-with-fareed-zakarias-book
Donna Brazile, a longtime Democrat apparatchik who, in July 2016, replaced Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as Chair of the Democratic Party Committee, sent an email to John Podesta, Chair of Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign committee, in which Brazile said:

“I think people are more in despair about how things are – yes new jobs but they are low wage jobs… HOUSING is a huge issue. Most people pay half of what they make to rent…”

Here’s a screenshot of Brazile’s email from WikiLeaks:
donna-brazile-to-john-podesta-one-a-week-email
What Brazile wrote in her email is confirmed by a recent Harvard University Business School study, “Problems Unsolved & A Nation Divided: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2016,” which found that the Obama economic recovery is a myth. As the 72-page report’s title suggests, not only has the economy not recovered from the 2008 recession, it has continued to deteriorate.
In the words of the report’s authors Michael E. Porter, et al.:

“America retains and enjoys many strengths. However, various economic indicators show that the U.S. economy has failed to deliver strong growth and shared prosperity for nearly two decades. These structural issues pre-date the Great Recession and are compounded by political paralysis. […]

While a slow recovery is underway, fundamentally weak U.S. economic performance continues and is leaving many Americans behind. The federal government has made no meaningful progress on the critical policy steps to restore U.S. competitiveness in the last decade or more. […]

U.S. competitiveness has been eroding since well
before the Great Recession. America’s economic
challenges are structural, not cyclical. The weak
recovery reflects the erosion of competitiveness, as
well as the inability to take the steps necessary to
address growing U.S. weaknesses.

Our failure to make progress reflects an unrealistic and ineffective national discourse on the reality of the challenges facing the U.S. economy and the steps needed to restore shared prosperity. Business has too often failed to play its part in recent decades, and a flawed U.S. political system has led to an absence of progress in government, especially in Washington.”

You can read the report here.

For those who prefer charts instead of words, the following charts from the Harvard study — on labor force participation, job creation, news business formation, productivity, household income, entitlements vs. investments — all show a continuing decline under the Obama presidency, except for the gap between entitlements and investment, which has widened.
us-economic-performance-chartsSource: ZeroHedge
Donald Trump is right in his concluding remarks at the third presidential debate last Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, on why the American people should elect him as president:

“When I started this campaign, I started it very strongly. It’s called ‘Make America Great Again’. We’re going to make America again.
We have a depleted military, it has to be helped, it has to be fixed. We have the greatest people on earth in our military. We don’t take care of our veterans. We take care of illegal immigrants — people that come into the country illegally — better than we take care of our vets. That can’t happen. Our policemen and women are disrespected. We need law and order, but we need justice too. Our inner cities are a disaster: you get shot walking to the store; they have no education, they have no jobs.
I will do more for African Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in ten lifetimes. All she’s done is talk — to the African Americans and to the Latinos. But they get the vote and then they come back, they say ‘we’ll see you in four years.’
We are going to make America strong again. We are going to make America great again, and it has to start now. We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama, and [pointing to Hillary] that’s what you get when you get her.

https://youtu.be/VLdmEDOAA4A?t=1h30m35s
Donald Trump is not perfect or a saint; he is his own worst enemy. But if you’re sick of what’s happened to this country for the last 8 or more years, if you are no better, or even worse, since Obama became president in 2009, then voting for Hillary Clinton is the stupidest thing you can ever do.
eric-trump-tweet-on-hillary-and-jobs
Listen to what she says: Hillary Clinton has no new ideas. If you elect her, you’ll get not only four more years of Obama, America will be saddled with a predominately left-wing Supreme Court who will set this country’s course for generations to come.
the-hillary-supreme-court
~Eowyn

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Minimum wage hikes hasten replacement of human workers by robots

Robotics is developing in such leaps and bounds that the replacement of low-skilled human workers by robots is inevitable. But the political , i.e., non-market forces, push for and resultant increases in the minimum wage are hastening that replacement — and it’s already happening.

Demonstrators for minimum-wage increase

Demonstrators for minimum-wage increase


Stephen Frank of California Political Review reports, May 15, 2016:

[T]he fast food industry is going to end the hiring of humans. In California there is a McDonalds that is using a robot to make up to 360 burgers and hour—and kiosks to take orders and payment. Jobs for teens are in danger. Now Wendy’s, in 6,000 stores will fire cashiers and “hire” kiosks to do the job of taking orders and payment. This starts before the end of THIS year—the next step are the robots making the food.

You see, an increase in minimum wage to $15/hour is actually more than that to the employer, when one adds health care coverage, Social Security unemployment insurance, and other costs. That means, according to one calculation I’ve seen, a $15/hour low-skilled (and too often surly) worker like in the fast-food industry actually costs the employer $40,000 a year.
Jessica Haworth reports for the UK Mirror, May 25, 2016, that former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi warned that huge job losses are imminent because robots will take over staff jobs at the fast food empire. He said the reason is “common sense” — buying highly skilled robots, while expensive in the short term, is a cheaper alternative than employing people on minimum wage to work in the company’s worldwide restaurants. Rensi explains:

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry. It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000…robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15…an hour bagging French fries. It’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe. It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.

Predictably, a McDonald’s UK spokesperson denies it: “The suggestion that McDonald’s is planning to replace employees with robots is completely untrue. Our staff are vital to our business and in the UK alone we employ over 110,000 people who serve 3.7m customers every day.”
McDonald’s denial notwithstanding, the fact is that Pizza Hut has already recruited a fleet of walking, talking humanoid robots to take orders and process payments. One of them is Pepper, the humanoid robot made by Japanese technology firm SoftBank, which has already been used by Nestlé to sell coffee machines. Pepper can read and respond to human gestures, expressions and tone of voice, allowing customers to communicate with the robot “just like they would with friends and family”.

Pizza Hut's Pepper robot

Pizza Hut’s Pepper robot


Pizza Hut said that it plans to have Pepper robots working as waiters in its restaurants in Asia by the end of 2016, to take orders and engage with customers. Vipul Chawla, managing director of Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia, said, “We are excited to welcome Pepper to the Pizza Hut family. With an order-and-payment-enabled Pepper, customers can now come to expect personalised ordering at our stores, reduce wait time for takeaways, and have a fun, frictionless user experience.

Note: After a very unpleasant experience with the local branch manager at my husband’s Citibank, with which he has done business for decades, I discovered that I was able to do everything online any way. I will never set foot in that bank again and will begin the process of taking all our money from Citibank and move it elsewhere.

While the low-skill fast-food industry is leading the way of robots replacing humans, this is just the beginning.
A new study, by London Business School professor of management practice Lynda Gratton and futurologist David A. Smith, into the future of human employment is predicting a surge in machine-led work into higher-skilled occupations such as robotic counsellors, body part makers and virtual lawyers. Even lawyers, doctors and accountants may be redundant in 20 years after their jobs are taken over by robots. Gratton and Smith also analyzed work that will be critical for the future — in communications, robotics, space, environment and medicine — and concluded that they will be more efficient and successful if undertaken by machine.
The reason in the case of middle- and high-skilled work is not labor cost, but efficiency: robots are able to produce better results. As futurologist Smith explains: “In fields such as law, accountancy and medicine, machines are likely to produce generally better answers than humans.”
Prof Gratton advises:

“Studies have suggested that a third of jobs in Europe will be replaced by technology over the next two decades. As middle-skilled roles disappear, workers may find that the ‘rung’ above them no longer exists, and that the career ladder may begin to look more like a career web. The ultimate implication is that workers cannot now expect to gain seniority by moving ‘up’, but rather moving sideways by gaining additional complex skills.

What America and other countries will do with the MILLIONS of low-skilled people displaced by robots is anyone’s guess.

robot delivers food in hospital ward

Robot delivers food in hospital ward


H/t FOTM‘s Anonymous
~Eowyn

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Friday Funny: How to save Social Security

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=munyCTnRAV8]
H/t FOTM’s josephbc69
~Eowyn

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