Shocker: Wealth-age gap widens in era of entitlements, high unemployment

posted at 9:15 am on November 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Alternate headline: Pew Research Pushes Grandma Off A Cliff in Her New Mercedes:

Older adults have made dramatic gains relative to younger adults in their economic well being during the past quarter century, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from two key U.S. Census sources.

All right, let’s see a show of hands.  Who among us is shocked, shocked to see that a massive transfer of wealth in the form of entitlement spending from younger workers to older adults, mainly retirees, has resulted in the older adults being wealthier?  Oh, let’s not always see the same hands.

Trends in household wealth reveal the pattern most vividly. In 2009, the median net worth (all assets minus all debts) of households headed by an adult ages 65 or older was 42% more than that of their same-aged counterparts in 1984. By contrast, the net worth of a typical household headed by an adult under the age of 35 in 2009 was 68% less than that of their same-aged counterparts in 1984.

As a result of these divergent trends, in 2009 the typical household headed by the older adult had $170,494 in net worth, compared with just $3,662 for the typical household headed by the younger adult. People generally accumulate wealth as they age, so it is not unusual to find large age-based gaps on this measure. However, the current gap is unprecedented. In 1984, the age-based wealth gap had been 10:1. By 2009, it had ballooned to 47:1.

Politico picks up on this “news”:

In fact, 37 percent of the younger group had a net worth of zero or less, nearly double the percentage from 1984. But the percentage of the older group with less than zero net worth has remained unchanged in 27 years, at 8 percent.

To be sure, assets do accumulate as one ages. But the gap between the two groups has doubled since 2005. Even adjusting for inflation, the disparity is nearly five times the 10-to-1 ratio recorded over 25 years ago.

Part of the explanation is that older Americans are remaining in jobs longer, have paid off more of their mortgages, and can collect Social Security benefits, while younger adults are facing the increasing cost of higher education, dramatically lower housing value, and record unemployment.

There is nothing magical or surprising about these results.  First, thanks to compound interest, investments tend to gain value more rapidly in later years, which accounts for some of the disparity in these results.  Adults under 35 put their cash into their homes rather than retirement accounts, which means that they don’t have investments to accumulate — and thanks to the housing collapse in 2008, don’t have a lot of equity, either, even if they still own a home.  After buying homes and establishing families, younger adults then start looking to the future.  Plus, high unemployment puts younger workers with less experience at arguably more risk of losing opportunities, although it also puts pressure on older workers with higher salaries as well.

However, those are obviously not the only forces at play here.  We have built our system to directly transfer wealth from younger adults to older adults, especially retirees, a process that has only accelerated in the past 25 years with expansions of Medicare and lowering retirement ages in Social Security.  When anyone questions this, defenders of redistribution produce television ads showing young adults pushing old ladies in wheelchairs over cliffs.  We hear horror stories of old people eating dog food, with the unsubtle context being this could happen to you.

Worse, we’re now not just transferring wealth from young working adults, we’re transferring it from young children and a generation or two yet to come.  Our deficits have exploded mainly because we have refused to reform our entitlement systems, which means we’re borrowing to pay for the entitlements we’re handing out now as well as eating up the contributions of younger adults.  There is no possibility of honoring the commitments those young workers receive in exchange for this redistribution.  It is very much a Ponzi scheme, and we may leave a series of generations holding the bag.

As a class, seniors have a serious fiscal advantage over their younger counterparts.  If ever there was a moment for reform, the Pew Research poll shows that we’ve arrived at it now.

Update: A few people have responded by saying entitlements do not equal wealth transfers.  Of course they do, at least as currently configured, because payments made today aren’t funding benefits for the contributors; they’re paying for benefits taken today by retirees.  If we went to a “Chilean model,” as Herman Cain proposes, or even partial privatization, then the payments made by younger workers would count as their wealth.  It wouldn’t go to supporting the accumulated wealth of retirees by letting them extend that wealth through supplemental payouts funded by the younger workers.  I probably should have made that explanation more explicit, but frankly thought it was so obvious as to not need explanation.

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Not sure that you can attribute this large amount of disparity to entitlements. SS is really a small amount of total wealth that seniors will have accumulated and really isn’t counted as an asset. The housing market burst seems like the biggest contributor to this temporary disparity, particularly since most young folks will have purchased their homes at or near the top of the bubble.

The answer here is not to punish those who did the right things and saved, but to reform the SS system so that the younger generation has more control (through private investment) of the rather significant amount of their earnings taken by this ponzi scheme.

AZfederalist on November 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM

St Louis Post had this article also this AM. My history is 43 years in a steel mill, paying SS since I was 12, taxes for a long, long time and saving every extra penny I have my fortune may be larger than my grandchildren. But my friends they are going to make me look like a piker in a few years unless…………….Obummer is re-elected.

Herb on November 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

La la la, I can’t hear you
-dems

cmsinaz on November 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

The older generation is failing to teach the younger generation as well as their elders taught them. They have hamstrung the younger generation with regulations that prevent them from having as much opportunity as they had at creating wealth. They have aborted away many of the younger generations peers that would have helped to pay for the benefits they have been reaping for decades and for decades to come. They have destroyed the sanctity of marriage and raised many of these younger generation kids in unstable homes, and not least of which have taught them no moral standards to use as a basis for building a successful life.

Now that they have benefited for decades spending their childrens money in the debt the government owes, and built their wealth through the theft of the next generation’s work, they still expect the younger generations to keep transfering the wealth upwards, and for the most part, the younger generation is too ignorant to realize that they need to cut the older generations off cold turkey or they will have a much poorer future and turn over a yet again less prosperous nation to the few children they will care to raise well.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

As a class, seniors have a serious fiscal advantage over their younger counterparts. If ever there was a moment for reform, the Pew Research poll shows that we’ve arrived at it now.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, Ed. Ever the optimist.

As long as the Boomer generation has its tentacles in Washington and elsewhere, this will never. Ever. Happen.

And you know it.

Good Lt on November 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

The answer here is not to punish those who did the right things and saved, but to reform the SS system so that the younger generation has more control (through private investment) of the rather significant amount of their earnings taken by this ponzi scheme.

AZfederalist on November 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM

And how do you replace the money that this drains from SS? Or is this a back door kill bill intended to bring SS to failure quicker?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

From class war fare to age war fare.

jeanie on November 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Not sure that you can attribute this large amount of disparity to entitlements. SS is really a small amount of total wealth that seniors will have accumulated and really isn’t counted as an asset.

My point is more that this is wealth that the young are not keeping. If this money got put in private accounts, that would put an end to the wealth transfer and young adults would have more wealth on the books now. That’s a transfer that retirees don’t have to make any longer.

Ed Morrissey on November 7, 2011 at 9:35 AM

1984.

Coincidence?

pain train on November 7, 2011 at 9:40 AM

In our “everyone’s an entitled victim” society is it possible that the youth aren’t working as hard as the did? I note over the same time period mentioned here (25-30 years) there has also been an explosion of college degrees in pseudo-academic disiplines which have absolutely no value in the market place.

tommyboy on November 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Young people in 1984 were not liable for the same level of tremendous college loan debt, compared to those of 2009. Net worth is lower for this group now because they bought into the governments offer of “free money”.

DrStock on November 7, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Doesn’t this all balance out anyway, now that our totalitarian regime view the “youth” as more worthy of federal funds for healthcare under the “Complete Lives System”?

Thank you, Cass Sunstein.

Flyboy on November 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM

And if you think Congress is going to “fix” this situation, consider who goes to the polls in greater numbers.

Fynxbell on November 7, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Good Lt on November 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Sad but true, they just have more to lose now.

Dash on November 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM

There is no possibility of honoring the commitments those young workers receive in exchange for this redistribution.

But I paid into it! That makes it OK to steal from people who aren’t even born yet.

forest on November 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Trends in household wealth reveal the pattern most vividly. In 2009, the median net worth (all assets minus all debts) of households headed by an adult ages 65 or older was 42% more than that of their same-aged counterparts in 1984. By contrast, the net worth of a typical household headed by an adult under the age of 35 in 2009 was 68% less than that of their same-aged counterparts in 1984.

Shouldn’t the size of the baby boomer generation be factored into this comparrison at some point?

The largest generation (baby boomers) is retiring wealthier than their parents, the smaller WWII greatest generation.

Dr Evil on November 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM

But I paid into it! That makes it OK to steal from people who aren’t even born yet.

forest on November 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Sadly, that is the argument that Hot Air “conservatives” make. It is so totally pathetic it makes me want to puke. I cannot imagine there are any things the average America beleives and acts on that makes my blood boil more than the idea that it is perfectly fine to steal the wealth of those who are not able to defend themselves or even born yet.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM

And how do you replace the money that this drains from SS? Or is this a back door kill bill intended to bring SS to failure quicker?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

First, SS is already a failure.

Second, SS is not a lockbox. You cannot drain money from something that doesn’t have any money in it. All you have is a set of promises.

Third, here’s my solution… offer those under 50 the option of putting half of their SS payments into a 401K of their choice if they agree not to use SS in the future. The agreement cuts out the future increases, and begins to decrease the future projections. The half payment to SS would support it for those over 50 (and those who opt in). Win/win by offering people a CHOICE of where they choose to invest for their future… themselves, or the government. (I know which I’d choose, and I’m in my 40′s!)

Oh, and I’d offer the same choice for Medicare with the option of putting half into a Health Savings Account.

dominigan on November 7, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Sadly, that is the argument that Hot Air “conservatives” make.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM

I’m a Hot Air conservative and I’ve never once made that argument.

dominigan on November 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM

My generation, recently retired, which paid into social security for 4 decades plus, is also the generation that let our politicians plunder our economy. This mess was created on our watch, even though it is accelerating under Obama’s mad rule. We should bear some substantial pain in setting things right.
I agree with the comments above regarding the negative effects of our education system on all of this. From the primary level through college, many of our kids learn nothing of value, while the costs of that system have skyrocketed. My generation got a good, practical, education all the way through.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 7, 2011 at 10:11 AM

dominigan on November 7, 2011 at 10:04 AM

SS is spending today 105-110% of receipts on a monthly basis today. At the current rates, it is going to get worse as more boomers retire. All of whom are in your age bracket. Taking half of the money from those who opt out, out of the system will make it worse far faster. So, your solution is the end of SS period. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I want the program ended. It would be awesome if it collapsed under it’s own weight, but it would not be so awesome if it collapsed right after having a conservative solution implemented that supposedly was intended to save it.

See the problem there? If you force it to collapse faster through conservative initiatives that are said to be beneficial, it destroys the conservative branding.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I’m a Hot Air conservative and I’ve never once made that argument.

dominigan on November 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Not all make that argument. But you should see the hate I get from the supposed conservatives on threads that talk about SS.

I appreciate any allies there are out there on ending SS.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Greatest Greediest Generation

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:18 AM

And how do you replace the money that this drains from SS? Or is this a back door kill bill intended to bring SS to failure quicker?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 9:33 AM

In a word, DEBT. It will take a large amount of borrowing to pay off the current commitment no matter what, but if we set it up so that those commitments go away, such debt can be managed long term. If we don’t we will have a spiraling, ever-increasing debt until we are forced to abandon the whole thing through a complete monetary collapse.
Continuing the current system IS throwing Grandma over the cliff.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Where I live I see this day in, day out. In my little subdivision about 1/2 the houses are empty right now. Why? Because the owners are retired. And they live here during the summer and play golf every day. But now, it’s November and a little too cold for golf. So they go to their houses in Arizona or Florida or California and play golf there.

But God forbid we raise the retirement age to 70. That would mean Grandpa would have to work 3 more years before playing gold 350 days a year. And that’s just downright tragic.

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I’m getting close to retirement. If I had been given a choice about whether I wanted to contribute to SS or invest the money elsewhere, I would have invested elsewhere and I’d probably be a lot better off. But nobody gave us choices, you work, you pay into the system. Now that the system is in trouble I keep hearing people gripe about elderly folks depending on entitlements…despite the fact that some of us have no choice. As for the wealthy, what are you going to do, say people who paid in all these years but have a healthy nest egg and don’t need it aren’t going to get anything? Should they volunteer to decline their SS? Maybe that’s an option but for those of us who don’t have a big golden parachute we have to depend on our SS “investment” for income.

scalleywag on November 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

The older generation is failing to teach the younger generation as well as their elders taught them. They have hamstrung the younger generation with regulations that prevent them from having as much opportunity as they had at creating wealth. They have aborted away many of the younger generations peers that would have helped to pay for the benefits they have been reaping for decades and for decades to come. They have destroyed the sanctity of marriage and raised many of these younger generation kids in unstable homes, and not least of which have taught them no moral standards to use as a basis for building a successful life.

Now that they have benefited for decades spending their childrens money in the debt the government owes, and built their wealth through the theft of the next generation’s work, they still expect the younger generations to keep transfering the wealth upwards, and for the most part, the younger generation is too ignorant to realize that they need to cut the older generations off cold turkey or they will have a much poorer future and turn over a yet again less prosperous nation to the few children they will care to raise well.

After fighting the immorality of the “worship youth” culture and all that it wants and has received for over five decades or so-it is a real joy to realize that it is my fault that these spoiled brats told us to go to Hades when we chastized them for their rebellion against God, family, civility, and responsibility.

Does this not entitle me and my older folks to some sort of coveted victim status. I too,demand my piece of the victim pie.

Don L on November 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM

scalleywag on November 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

We hear the argument all the time. Your solution is that we remain forever in an immoral system, because there will ALWAYS be someone close to retirement. Someone is always paying for the benefits of the retirees of today.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

scalleywag on November 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I understand where you’re coming from on as an individual. But as someone in my 30s, my beef is with your generation for having voted in the imbeciles that caused this problem. This problem has been known for 30 years. But your generation just kept punting the ball, figuring, hey we’ll let Angryed’s generation and his kids’ generation worry about it.

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

It really bugs me that after we older workers paid FICA wages all our working lives, that it is now called an entitlement to get some of it back. We were sold the lie that the money would go into a trust fund and would be returned with interest. When Congress stole the trust fund (which wasn’t our fault), they changed the rules on us all and made Social Security a Ponzi scheme. So now we blame seniors? Give me a break!

And agree with earlier comments, the wealth disparity is not due to mainly to entitlements. They are a pretty small part of the disparity.

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

When Congress stole the trust fund (which wasn’t our fault), they changed the rules on us all and made Social Security a Ponzi scheme. So now we blame seniors? Give me a break!
Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

See me at 10:28

You voted for these people for decades. Don’t play innocent on this,

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM

And blame the whole generation for punting the ball? There were plenty of us who voted for more sane fiscal policy, but remember there was no Hot Air, no Fox News, no Rush Limbaugh, etc. Only the libs (with the aid of RINO’s) who fostered this whole entitlement system had total control of the air waves. We were totally outnumbered by the bias of the media.

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Don L on November 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Your generation did not raise those kids? Some other group was responsibile for rasing them?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM

And blame the whole generation for punting the ball? There were plenty of us who voted for more sane fiscal policy, but remember there was no Hot Air, no Fox News, no Rush Limbaugh, etc. Only the libs (with the aid of RINO’s) who fostered this whole entitlement system had total control of the air waves. We were totally outnumbered by the bias of the media.

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Still your generation whether liberal or conservative.

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Which means you should have been knowing enough to plan to pay for your own retirement. Yeah, you had to pay out money to a corrupt government, but now you get to the time to retire and your argument is that you are dependent on the thing you say you wanted to get rid of??

We are blaming the generation as a whole, not individual members of it.

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Don L on November 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Your generation did not raise those kids? Some other group was responsibile for rasing them?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM

And you’re going to blame me for the excesses of other’s kids? Mine are all unstanding citizens and contributers to society. This blame stuff shows the shallowness of our culture -no complaints until it fails?

Look -Adam blamed God (it was that woman you made for me)
Eve blamed God (it was that serpent you made)
and you blamed the older folks when it is your fgeneration that just voted to annoint a faux messiah?

Don L on November 7, 2011 at 10:42 AM

By 2009, it had ballooned to 47:1.

When both political parties use generational theft to buy the votes of the largest voting block, this is the result, and there is no sign of change in either party.

FloatingRock on November 7, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The real story is NOT the number for the older people; given inflation and the like, you’d expect growth. The story is in the younger peoples number and it is simply this: Young people have been taught to live in debt and do so in far more increasing frequency. The simply spend more than they can afford to- and borrow the difference. They have learned they are ENTITLED to do so- and never expect their bills to come due. The OWS just screams the extreme end of this general viewpoint.

michaelo on November 7, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Although I agree there will be more loosers in the future, there have always been both winners and loosers in social security. The first to retire and have social security benefits had contributed to social security for one month. I worked for thirty years after the hyperinflation of the sixties, but my deflated income only became comparable to what I made in the fifties in the late seventies. In the fifties I sometimes paid federal tax rates above thirty percent. Since social security benefits are based upon a few years of maximum earnings, I am a big looser. I would be way ahead if what I paid in the fifties and early sixties had gone into a retirement account.

burt on November 7, 2011 at 10:55 AM

And you’re going to blame me for the excesses of other’s kids? Don L on November 7, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I know I know, as an individual you worked hard raising just your own kids. You kept to yourself, baricaded the doors and concetrated on the only thing that matters, your own family. You spent no effort to shame those in your community who were doing a piss poor job of raising their kids. You probably taught your kids at home or a private school, never once working to fix the progressive school system. You were the epitome of conservative values and a stalwart upstanding member of your community, when they got to see you at all.

How exactly do you think prior generations kept the country working so well over so many generations? Simply looking at their own kids and ignoring any depravity that others did?

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

In addition to paying into the system for 4+ decades, my wife and I did raise two kids, both of whom are now productive members of our society and economy. One regret is that we did not have 3 kids instead of 2. But in that regard we were subjected to the “population explosion” myth and constantly told that it was immoral to have more than 2 kids.
Having done all the “right things”, including saving whenever possible, being in the military, etc., and now being comfortable, I am still willing for our generation to take a hit if it really is part of getting things back on a sensible track. The problem is that the government will continue to waste huge amounts of money: That makes it tough for anyone to give up a chunk of what he was promised in return for contributing for over 40 years.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

‘faux Messiah’love it—may I be allowed to borrow from time to time?
And yes, Obama does channel FDR. But,SS does need reform,big time. AARP and similar do not speak for all of us.

jeanie on November 7, 2011 at 11:04 AM

My point is more that this is wealth that the young are not keeping. If this money got put in private accounts, that would put an end to the wealth transfer and young adults would have more wealth on the books now. That’s a transfer that retirees don’t have to make any longer.

Ed Morrissey on November 7, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Assuming we did this, how many of the “kids” that voted for Jugears in 2008 could be reasonably expected to voluntarily take care of the needs of their parents?

Nice thought, Ed, but I don’t think it’s realistic now that we’ve trained the offspring of boomers to be entitled to be sated.

platypus on November 7, 2011 at 11:07 AM

I’m 51 and have been paying into this Ponzi scheme since I was 16, according to last years statement between my employer and me we’ve paid well over $200K into the system not including Medicare.

I’ve done OK for myself but I’m by no means wealthy. I’ve got two high school kids that I’m trying to save for them to go to college. I don’t live beyond my means have a mortgage that isn’t close to being under water and no other debt. I’m teaching my kids to pay as they go and not to rely on borrowed money to get their wants and needs. I’m married to my first and only wife.

I lived through the 1990′s housing implosion that cost me all of my equity from my first two houses.

At this point I’d be willing to walk away from it if I could take my future social security taxes and my employers part and plow that into my 401K. Based on my supposed benefit if I retire at 67 I would need to get over 7 years of SS before I got out what my employer and I put into the system. I have another 16 years before my full retirement age so I’m sure the number of years I’d have to take social security will likely double between now and 2027.

Working longer for some is a viable option but what if you’re someone involved in manual labor, laying bricks at 70 is not something most people can do. I certainly am doing all I can to live a healthy and long retirement but you never know how much time you have and what health issues will befall you.

As to whether I voted for the representatives that did this, with Gerrymandering I couldn’t vote my Congressman, David Price, out no matter what. My district includes the Peoples Republic of Chapel Hill and enough Democrats to keep any Republican for taking the seat and holding on to if for very long. Price got booted once in the 1990′s only to win it back 2 years later. The Republicans don’t even help anyone out running against him because the district is so lopsided, hopefully the new district will be a bit more competitive.

Sparky on November 7, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Is that Ed Asner?

Tim_CA on November 7, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Still your generation whether liberal or conservative.

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

OK ed, who have you voted for to fix the problem? I voted for Reagan, both Bushes and any Republican who said he’d fix the problem. Thought W was going to fix it, but as you recall, the press and the libs made a laughing stock out of his attempts. I voted for Inhoffe many times and Coburn and conservative house candidates. I’ve been to many tea party rallies and contributed to most of the tea party candidates in the 2010 election. You can blame me if you want, but your “angry” is misplaced. Get the libs out of Congress and we’ll fix this thing.
Oh and BTW, I am still paying more into medicare than I am taking out by a mile. You and your generation can try to pin this rap on me, but I’d submit that in all likelihood you have not done any more than I to fix the problem! So does that mean you are kicking the can down the road yourself?

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 11:55 AM

astonerii on November 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

You’re one to talk about anyone else’s morality.

People like you should get no vote.

astonerii on October 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Apologize.

runawayyyy on November 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

SS is absolutely NOT responsible for the increasing disparity between these two age groups over the last 25 years.

If you look at the data, the “scary” percentages come not from an increase in the wealth of the elderly, but from a drop in the net wealth of the young. But the people now retiring paid SS taxes just as the youths of today do, at about the same rates. And the Social Security retirement age has actually increased over the period in question, not decreased as you erroneously stated above, so the 65 and over group’s wealth has increased even though their Social Security payments have actually been delayed. To look at it another way, my own net wealth has increased over that period, and I have been paying SS taxes the whole time but am still years away from retirement, for example. Again, the numbers show pretty clearly that SS isn’t even partially responsible for this trend.

It is almost certain that only three factors have caused this entire shift. First, the increasing amount that has to be spent on communications utilities (cell phone, cable, Internet) that hadn’t even been invented back in 1985; second, the increasing levels of student loan debt (which have risen far faster than inflation); third, the housing “bubble”, which had not yet fully deflated in 2009.

To be specific: by the time you are 35 you’ve cumulatively paid $30,000 in “connectivity” charges (where in 1985 if you had a phone and were 35 you had probably paid around $3K). Student loan debt, even when spread among the entire population, has similarly increased. And housing inflation alone would be enough to account for the $50K increase in household wealth in the 65+ group.

These factors are more than enough to account for the “wealth shift” in question. No need to blame SS. And giving the kiddies their own private retirement accounts and letting them count that as “wealth” wouldn’t actually do anything but artificially mask their spending and debt problems in studies of this type.

HTL on November 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

But your generation just kept punting the ball, figuring, hey we’ll let Angryed’s generation and his kids’ generation worry about it.

angryed on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

As someone that could be your father let me just say “Quit your whining about how bad you got it and pull yourself up by the bootstraps. If you don’t maybe I’ll just blow your inheritance money on slot machines…”

Bradky on November 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Let’s not forget that the “wealth” of the over 65 population is not only funded by social security but the ridiculously high pensions of government workers. A friend of mine’s parents both worked for the State of NY, retiring a few years ago. They both make their FULL SALARIES as pensions, $120K and $180K per year for the rest of their lives. They now moved out of New York and live in the much lower tax burdened state of South Carolina. So not only are they collecting for the rest of their lives on the backs of the New York taxpayers, they no longer pay taxes to the State of NY.

ivorygirl on November 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

It really bugs me that after we older workers paid FICA wages all our working lives, that it is now called an entitlement to get some of it back. We were sold the lie that the money would go into a trust fund and would be returned with interest. When Congress stole the trust fund (which wasn’t our fault), they changed the rules on us all and made Social Security a Ponzi scheme. So now we blame seniors? Give me a break!
And agree with earlier comments, the wealth disparity is not due to mainly to entitlements. They are a pretty small part of the disparity.
Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

It’s also not the fault of the people being forced to continue funding the Ponzi scheme.

gwelf on November 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

It’s also not the fault of the people being forced to continue funding the Ponzi scheme.

gwelf on November 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

what do you call advocating not paying back what people have paid at a 6.2% rate for 40+ years? I’d say the sentiment to break that promised puts you deep into socialist territory.

Bradky on November 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Waiting to hit 65.

(rubs hands together)

Ward Cleaver on November 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Hate to break it to you, Ward, but the number to beat is now 66 and rising.

HTL on November 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

It’s also not the fault of the people being forced to continue funding the Ponzi scheme.

gwelf on November 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Agree completely. Let’s put a stop to it, but the culprits aren’t seniors but libs in Congress. Get rid of ‘em (politically of course) and fix it!

Christian Conservative on November 7, 2011 at 6:47 PM