Blankfein's Bad Math and an LTE Opportunity
A few days ago, Goldman Sux CEO Lloyd Blankfein was "interviewed" by a CBS tool, giving him an opportunity to explain that entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are just too expensive to continue. Yes, it's old news, already reported earlier here and here. But what I totally missed is that Blankfein's math is waaaaaay off, creating an opening for some LTEs.
Blankfein's argument is that people live longer now than when Social Security was created. So according to him, we work 25 years and then have the gall to stick around for another 30 years, sucking the country dry with our lavish SS-funded lifestyles. Btw, more caviar, garcon, and make it snappy!! My driver will be here any minute to take me to Barney's!
But as Fair's blog (and propertius's comment at the second link above) points out, the math is all wrong:
So Blankfein–who was paid $16 million last year, and owns $210 million worth of his company's stock–thinks that people can retire on Social Security after working for 25 years? As Gene Lyons pointed out, that would mean that people are getting their first paychecks when they're 42–or, assuming they're willing to take the severe benefit cuts that come with early retirement, at 37. Or possibly he mistakenly believes Social Security allows you to retire at 41.
He also thinks people typically live to be 92 or 97, depending. In real life, of course, most people start working as early as 16, so they reach retirement age after 51 years of labor, when they have a life expectancy of 17 years–or 14 years if they're an African-American man.
The PTB are clearly going to hit this type of "fix" hard in the weeks ahead. There was someone whose name I didn't catch on msnbc this morning, claiming that Americans don't do hard labor in factories anymore. We just sit at desks, so clearly we can continue sitting at those desks an additional five to eight years, no?
Ignoring the fact that there are no jobs for anyone over 40 (or under 40, for that matter), Blankfein's bad math is a really good opportunity to write letters to editors about proposals to raise the retirement age. There are no complicated economic issues or numbers open to interpretation -- just simple common sense. I'll work on a draft during the weekend and post next week, when the holiday is over. If anyone else wants to hide from the relatives for a few minutes and do the same, please feel free! The more variations and different voices we have saying the same thing, the better.