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More Help Wanted: Older Workers Please Apply
NY Times ^ | March 23, 2005 | MILT FREUDENHEIM

Posted on 03/23/2005 7:08:47 PM PST by neverdem

In a push to recruit older workers, Home Depot, the hardware chain, now offers "snowbird specials" - winter work in Florida and summers in Maine.

Borders bookstores lure retired teachers to sales jobs with discounts and the promise of reading and discussion groups. Pitney Bowes, the business services company, pays tuition for courses in computer programming as well as spare-time skills like golf and flower arranging.

After years of encouraging workers to take early retirement as a way to cut jobs, a growing number of companies are hunting for older workers because they have lower turnover rates and, in many cases, better work performance.

Some companies like Wal-Mart are making their pitches at senior centers and others are sending company brochures to churches and community libraries and posting their attractions on Web sites.

AARP, the advocacy group for older people, recently put on its Web site links to 13 "featured employers" - including MetLife, Pitney Bowes, Borders, Home Depot, Principal Financial and Walgreens - that are recruiting older workers with offers of health benefits, training and flexible work schedules. More than 71,000 people have used the Web site this month to seek job information.

At Home Depot, Ed Wright, 71, a retired electrical contractor, works the early shift from October to May in the electrical products department at the store in Lake Wales, Fla. Then, when the weather changes, he heads north and works part time from June to September in the Home Depot in Tullytown, Pa.

"I had heard you could do that, so I applied for a job here in Florida," he said. "It's the best of both worlds." Mr. Wright is not the only north-south commuter at the Lake Wales store. He said he had colleagues who went to Maine, Connecticut and Colorado in the summer.

Cindy Milburn, senior director of staffing at Home Depot, said the company was looking to older workers to fill a labor shortage a decade from now. "We wanted to plant seeds early on," she said, to build relationships with groups like AARP and government agencies that help people, including military retirees, find jobs.

Conventional wisdom has long held that workers become more costly as they grow older, with more medical problems and more missed workdays. But "overall costs are not much different based on the age of employees," said Dan Smith, senior vice president for human resources at the Borders Group. "Training and recruitment costs are much lower than for younger workers. It all evens out."

Mr. Smith said nearly 16 percent of Borders's current 32,000 employees were 50 or older, compared with only 6 percent six years ago.

For one thing, the older workers are much less likely to depart after a few years. The turnover rate for employees 50 and older was one-tenth that of workers under 30, according to Mr. Smith. "Costs of training, recruitment and learning the job routine," he said, "are all much lower than for younger workers."

That is no small matter, especially in retailing, where 60 percent annual turnover, not counting part-time help, is the norm for specialty stores, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group. If part-timers and temporary workers are covered, the turnover rate soars to 110 percent. (The group's survey did not cover department stores and outlet stores.)

Even with its loyal older people and a low turnover rate by retailing standards, Home Depot, which has 325,000 employees, hires 160,000 people each year, including part-time and seasonal workers and 20,000 for new jobs as the company adds stores, Ms. Milburn said.

Eileen Applebaum, a labor economist at Rutgers University, said the cost of turnover per worker was $2,335, on average, in a survey of representative California employers last year conducted by researchers at Rutgers and U.C.L.A. Simply holding down the turnover rate could mean annual savings in the millions of dollars for large employers.

The recruitment efforts for the elderly are reaching a willing audience, as more older people seek work because they need extra cash and health benefits and sometimes because they miss having a 9-to-5 routine with other workers.

In the 65-to-69 age group, "about one-third of men and almost one-fourth of women were working in 2004," said Joseph F. Quinn, a labor economist and dean at Boston College. "Already, there has been a dramatic change since the mid-1980's in the labor force participation of older workers."

The percentage of men in that age group still working rose to 33 percent in 2004 from 27 percent in 1994; the percentage of women in that age group working rose to 23 percent from 18 percent. According to AARP, almost one in three workers will be 50 or older within five years.

Larry Gershell, 72, for example, was a marketing executive when he retired at 65 after 40 years in book publishing. Within a year, he found a full-time job selling books at a Borders store in Midtown Manhattan.

"I like books; I like to read; I like to know what's going on," he said. "I love talking to mothers. I tell them not to worry about their kids who read comic books."

He also likes the relaxed atmosphere. "It's not stressful," he said. "No pain in the belly anymore. When I got home from my office, my wife used to say 'you want to kick the dog.' But we didn't have a dog." Now he takes home $30 worth of free books every month, a benefit he finds "marvelous, " and he also gets Borders's health benefits.

At Wal-Mart, which has 220,000 employees 55 and older, store officials are often sent on recruiting missions to churches, senior centers and meetings of local AARP chapters, said Sarah Clark, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

Older workers are still mostly in sales, office work and management, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Jared Bernstein, a labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

But at Pitney Bowes, a manufacturing company that is also big in business services, almost 1 in 4 employees is over 50.

The company is "very aware of the demographic trends," said Bruce Nolop, Pitney's chief financial officer. "It will be very essential to appeal to the older portion of the work force."

Terry Dendy, 56, a large-format preparation-press operator, was recently hired at the company's digital imaging center in Manhattan. Mr. Dendy said he worried about his age when he looked for work after his former employer closed. "But I had friends in my age category at Pitney Bowes and they told me I should apply," he said. "I did, and after that there was no problem."

These recruiting successes, of course, also reflect economic realities as dwindling company-subsidized health coverage for retirees and inadequate savings and pensions force many older people to stay on their jobs or look for other work. Still, as baby boomers age, many are eager to work for benefits beyond the paycheck.

"They don't want to go fishing; they want to stay sharp," said Jeanne Benoit, principal director of human resources at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, a military research contractor in Cambridge, Mass., that creates prototypes for aerospace projects.

In industries with labor shortages, like nursing, older workers already have an edge. Nurses, who typically retire at 53, are being recruited at high rates, said Peter Buerhaus, associate dean of the school of nursing at Vanderbilt University. "They are probably the fastest-aging work force in the country."

In 2002 and 2003, hospitals raised pay scales and hired 130,000 nurses over age 50, which made up more than 70 percent of the 185,000 total hired in those two years, Mr. Buerhaus said.

Many of those nurses may well agree with Ellen Van Valen, 67, a Home Depot manager, who says that age has little do with the desire to work.

Ms. Van Valen, who is assistant manager for internal operations at the company's store in Stratford, Conn., supervises a group that includes five workers in their 60's.

"The older folks seem to catch on a lot quicker," she said. "They're used to life in general."

Ms. Van Valen plans to work full time until she is 75. "Every day is a learning process," she said. "Hey, I could become a store manager down the road, but not right now."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Colorado; US: Connecticut; US: Florida; US: Maine; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: aged; economicconditions; economictrends; elderly; helpwanted; hiring; labor; promotion; seniors; workforce
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1 posted on 03/23/2005 7:08:48 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Good. It's about time they started paying for their Social Security.

:)


2 posted on 03/23/2005 7:14:04 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: neverdem

Who would want to retire and winter in Florida that wants to keep on living?


3 posted on 03/23/2005 7:21:39 PM PST by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Increase Republicans in Congress in 2006!)
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To: writer33

I love being retired. If I thought I had to get up and go to Walmart or Home Depot every day I would die.

I take classes and do volunteer work and eat out(a lot).

My working days are over.


4 posted on 03/23/2005 7:25:53 PM PST by Mears ("Call me irresponsible".)
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To: neverdem

bump


5 posted on 03/23/2005 7:28:34 PM PST by UB355
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To: writer33
Good. It's about time they started paying for their Social Security.

What's this "start" stuff? I have been paying social security since 1960.

6 posted on 03/23/2005 7:34:15 PM PST by Blue Screen of Death (/i)
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To: Mears
My working days are over.

Just keep pushing me into the grave. Thanks, Mears. :)

7 posted on 03/23/2005 7:34:44 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: writer33

You're very welcome----Be happy in your work!!!!!!!

I have five kids working hard to pay into my SS----LOL!


8 posted on 03/23/2005 7:36:29 PM PST by Mears ("Call me irresponsible".)
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To: Blue Screen of Death
What's this "start" stuff? I have been paying social security since 1960.

Yeah, but it's two workers for every one old fart on the Social Security entitlement and my back hurts.

:)Hehe!

9 posted on 03/23/2005 7:36:40 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: Mears
You need some of those business cards some retired friends have:

Bears their name and phone #, and "Call me if you need nothing done." :)

10 posted on 03/23/2005 7:36:44 PM PST by LNewman
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To: Mears
I have five kids working hard to pay into my SS----LOL!

Thank goodness, because I was starting to get a back ache from carrying you. :)

11 posted on 03/23/2005 7:37:40 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: LNewman

God,I love it---thanks for the laugh!


12 posted on 03/23/2005 7:37:58 PM PST by Mears ("Call me irresponsible".)
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To: writer33
Yeah, but it's two workers for every one old fart on the Social Security entitlement and my back hurts.

Have more children. They can be produced by unskilled labor that mostly enjoys the work.

13 posted on 03/23/2005 7:40:00 PM PST by Blue Screen of Death (/i)
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To: neverdem

I have two things to say about this.:

1. It's nice that the Seniors are starting be looked at as valuable. Bout' Time.

2. Screw AARP


14 posted on 03/23/2005 7:40:07 PM PST by Pompah (Oh Yeah Babe.)
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To: neverdem

I love retirement, but I have neighbors and friends who can't stand "hanging around" the house all day. For them, jobs like these are perfect.


15 posted on 03/23/2005 7:41:12 PM PST by jolie560
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To: writer33

I had back aches from carrying them------it's payback time.


16 posted on 03/23/2005 7:42:46 PM PST by Mears ("Call me irresponsible".)
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To: Mears

i dont know i think when i retire i would still work part time somewhere just for a discount like Best Buy or something


17 posted on 03/23/2005 7:45:17 PM PST by DM1
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To: jolie560
I love retirement, but I have neighbors and friends who can't stand "hanging around" the house all day.

Retirement is a way's away for me however "blessed be the day that I can be a "homebody"! : )

18 posted on 03/23/2005 7:46:55 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: writer33

Every senior (and I mean over 40 employee) my company has recruited in the last 10 years, has done twice the work of any junior we've tried to 'train'.

And I'm NOT kidding.

Ireland used to have a fantastic education system (actually, I think we still do..to some degree), but people are coming out now with 'first class honours degree' qualifications that wouldn't see them fit to butter bread.

I dunno...give me a hack with a bit of experience, and years on their shoulders, and I'd give them a job over ANY 'graduate'.


19 posted on 03/23/2005 7:47:48 PM PST by Happygal (liberalism - a narrow tribal outlook largely founded on class prejudice)
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To: Mears
My working days are over.

Ahh, the good "new" day's!

20 posted on 03/23/2005 7:50:04 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: neverdem

After years of encouraging workers to take early retirement as a way to cut jobs, a growing number of companies are hunting for older workers because they have lower turnover rates and, in many cases, better work performance.




I'm not surprised.


21 posted on 03/23/2005 7:52:48 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: writer33
Good. It's about time they started paying for their Social Security.

Oh, yeah, like they didn't pay 40 or more years into it as it is. What a idiot statement!

22 posted on 03/23/2005 7:54:29 PM PST by calex59
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To: Mears
it's payback time.

LoL! A statement with attitude!

Pay the back, back by laying on it and resting it!

Contemplation at times gives me a wonderful state of mind.

23 posted on 03/23/2005 7:54:33 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: Mears
I had back aches from carrying them------it's payback time.

Oh, no. Pack up the bags we're going on a guilt trip. :)

24 posted on 03/23/2005 8:14:20 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: Happygal
I dunno...give me a hack with a bit of experience, and years on their shoulders, and I'd give them a job over ANY 'graduate'.

I think Happygal is just jealous. That's what I think. :)

25 posted on 03/23/2005 8:16:40 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: calex59
Oh, yeah, like they didn't pay 40 or more years into it as it is. What a idiot statement!

I hooked me a big fish. You must be one of them testy seniors that didn't denote the obvious sarcasm.

26 posted on 03/23/2005 8:18:17 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: Blue Screen of Death
Have more children. They can be produced by unskilled labor that mostly enjoys the work.

What? And have them working triple time so I can have my early bird special? I don't think so.

HAHAHAHA!

27 posted on 03/23/2005 8:24:24 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: writer33

"Yeah, but it's two workers for every one old fart on the Social Security entitlement and my back hurts."

By the time you get up in age it will be one worker for every two old farts. That won't be too great since they won't handle the load. I hope you are investing well.

A good number of young people today come in late, leave early because they 'don't feel well', call in sick on Mondays and Fridays to go shopping or get an early start on their now 4-day weekend. My wife brings home some amazing stories about what they get away with. On her lunch hour she runs into the 'sick' ones who are out shopping. The boss ran into one of them, too! Funny scene. They actually fired one, though, for repeat performances. And my wife and her old fogy friends are there all the time and do twice the work with 1/2 the moaning. No wonder these companies want the older folks.


28 posted on 03/23/2005 8:28:55 PM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Right Wing Assault
A good number of young people today come in late, leave early because they 'don't feel well', call in sick on Mondays and Fridays to go shopping or get an early start on their now 4-day weekend. My wife brings home some amazing stories about what they get away with. On her lunch hour she runs into the 'sick' ones who are out shopping. The boss ran into one of them, too! Funny scene. They actually fired one, though, for repeat performances. And my wife and her old fogy friends are there all the time and do twice the work with 1/2 the moaning. No wonder these companies want the older folks.

I think you're just jealous. :)

And by the time I get there, it would be a waste of time for me to draw it, because I'd only get a percentage of the whole. Me, I think it was a waste to even come up with Social Security.

29 posted on 03/23/2005 8:34:16 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: neverdem
"After years of encouraging workers to take early retirement as a way to cut jobs..."


The bean counters never took into account what is called "corporate memory". That is, there is a lot about any job that is not written down. Over the years, people learned what worked and what didn't.

When companies cut people, they are not just losing an individual, they are losing all the knowledge and skills that person has.

For too long now, management has not thought much of those skills and that knowledge, but every so often a company will cut too deeply and the business will suffer, sometimes it is fatal.

Too much "fat" in a business can be harmful to it's health, but the opposite can also be true.

For a long time now many businesses have been like a teenage girl with a eating disorder, they have eliminated all the fat years ago, but they still keep trying to lose weight (by not hiring enought workers to do the jobs that need to be done correctly). This places a lot more stress on the remaining workers, until eventually they leave for greener pastures taking with them their "corporate memory".

30 posted on 03/23/2005 8:50:37 PM PST by CIB-173RDABN
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To: writer33

har har

They should put up flyers at GM HQ.


31 posted on 03/23/2005 9:29:56 PM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: PhiKapMom

That is the POST OF THE DAY!


32 posted on 03/23/2005 9:32:15 PM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: BurbankKarl

Glad you enjoyed it.


33 posted on 03/23/2005 9:33:09 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: writer33

Yeah, jealously is my forté.


Now pass the peanuts, the gallery awaits.


34 posted on 03/23/2005 9:35:13 PM PST by Happygal (liberalism - a narrow tribal outlook largely founded on class prejudice)
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To: BurbankKarl

Thanks -- first thing that popped in my mind when I saw this article.


35 posted on 03/23/2005 9:36:43 PM PST by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Increase Republicans in Congress in 2006!)
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To: Happygal

My "hack" father with 8th grade education turned a small mortgage brokerage into a 600 million dollar mortgage banking business, which, after he was fired (6 months short of full pension) and replaced by an Young runny nosed Ivy League MBA, lasted about a year and was gone.

Gotta love those hacks. :)


36 posted on 03/23/2005 9:42:20 PM PST by Critter (America, home of the whipped.)
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To: Happygal
Now pass the peanuts, the gallery awaits.

:)

37 posted on 03/23/2005 9:43:16 PM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: Critter

ooops, that's what I get for not proofreading... "a young runny nosed..."


38 posted on 03/23/2005 9:43:47 PM PST by Critter (America, home of the whipped.)
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To: Happygal
I dunno...give me a hack with a bit of experience, and years on their shoulders, and I'd give them a job over ANY 'graduate'.

"Mrs. Happygal, you trying to seduce me, aren't you?" :)

39 posted on 03/23/2005 9:44:12 PM PST by anymouse
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To: CIB-173RDABN

"The bean counters never took into account what is called "corporate memory". That is, there is a lot about any job that is not written down. Over the years, people learned what worked and what didn't."

You cannot imagine what that is costing FedGov. The problem is no one cares at all. They just have to go with the new way of doing things so they pay out through the nose particularly when it comes to building or renovating.


40 posted on 03/23/2005 11:38:46 PM PST by Spirited (God, Bless America)
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To: EGPWS

Newly retired here. Been about 9 months now, the term of a pregnancy. I love it, but each morning I wake up still thinking there's something I have to do (like commute from the suburbs to Chicago where I worked). It's like a momentary nightmare, then I get over it and realize I'm free, free at last. That old work ethic is a hard thing to shake. Need to master the fine art of leisurely behavior. Starting to catch on though. Relaxing this very moment on my recliner (with my shawl and cat). Actually, with my laptop computer, freeping as usual.


41 posted on 03/24/2005 12:05:00 AM PST by flaglady47 (O)
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To: neverdem
Borders bookstores lure retired teachers to sales jobs with discounts and the promise of reading and discussion groups.

No wonder all Borders employees are crotchety old liberals then.

You should have heard the hisses when I picked up Ann Coulter's latest book there a few months ago.

42 posted on 03/24/2005 12:09:09 AM PST by MitchellC
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To: MitchellC
No wonder all Borders employees are crotchety old liberals then.

Good, those libs are paying taxes reducing the deficit and debt.

43 posted on 03/24/2005 12:54:40 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
Good, those libs are paying taxes reducing the deficit and debt.

But on the down side, they're creating a whole new generation of liberals with their sinister little 'staff recommendations' section.

44 posted on 03/24/2005 1:50:54 AM PST by MitchellC
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To: neverdem

The wave of the future.

The demographics require this. Otherwise, there will be a shortage of workers meaning we'll need to have immigrants in to do many jobs.


45 posted on 03/24/2005 4:38:05 AM PST by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: neverdem

I would quietly point out that if 40 million American taxpayers (workers) hadn't been aborted by the liberals since 1970, we'd have more jobs to PAY for the democratic AARP spending habits and Social Security..


46 posted on 03/24/2005 4:46:42 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: writer33
"It's about time they started paying for their Social Security"

Those of us who are nearing retirement age have paid far more into the system than we will ever get back. In addition, if we die before the right age, we can't leave any of it to our heirs. And it's hardly our fault that Congress squandered all the money.

I would be happy if they'd just give me and my husband back what they took.

Carolyn

47 posted on 03/24/2005 4:50:39 AM PST by CDHart (The world has become a lunatic asylum and the lunatics are in charge.)
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To: writer33

"Good. It's about time they started paying for their Social Security."

The fact that what has been paid into FICA has been squandered by the government is moot in your argument. What has been paid into the system on my behalf, out of my earnings, if instead paid into a regular investment program, would be worth approximately $2 million dollars today. That would generate a 6 figure annual income and leave a substantial estate to pass on to heirs - a far cry from what comes from this left inspired money grab we call "Social Security".

We did pay for our "Social Security" - many times over what will ever be paid out.


48 posted on 03/24/2005 5:23:04 AM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: GGpaX4DumpedTea
The fact that what has been paid into FICA has been squandered by the government is moot in your argument.

Should've been fixed forty years ago. And since I wasn't here to advocate for it, I get to pay into it another 30+ years to maybe draw 70% of the benefits. And my children really get hosed. All made possible if nothing is done.

And yes...I was using sarcasm.

49 posted on 03/24/2005 6:55:01 AM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: writer33

"I think you're just jealous. :)"

No, I'm not jealous. I just abhor that kind of attitude. I don't do or even want to do that kind of stuff. It's called stealing, even if it is "cute". I'm sure if you had employees you would be thrilled with those kind of people.

I agree SS is a joke.


50 posted on 03/24/2005 4:39:17 PM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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