NY Times: US Seniors Prosper, Finding ‘Sweet Spot” in Middle Class

Today’s New York Times has a front page article (that continues onto a full page in the Business section) on the economic status of American seniors and says they are doing better than those before them and many others in American society.  While sometimes stories like this sound a note of generational resentment and make the case that others don’t have it so good, the story really makes the point that it is success of the social safety net and the better health of many Americans that allows them to work longer and be better off.  The article noted that seniors economic fortunes weathered the Great Recession and held steady and are in a “sweet spot.”  The article summarized that, “In the past, the elderly were usually poorer than other age groups.  Now, they are the last generation to widely enjoy a traditional pension, and are prime beneficiaries of a government safety net targeted at older Americans.  They also have profited from the long rise in real estate prices that preceded the recession.  As a result, more seniors now fall into the middle class – defined in this case between the 40th and 80th income percentile – than ever before.”

To me, this is something to be celebrated and an indication that what many of us have long fought for has improved the lives of the older generation.  We must be concerned about those who are still struggling and the many seniors who depend on Social Security for most of their income.  We have to be strong to continue to defend the guarantees of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  In the article, Kathleen McGarry an economist at UCLA says that Social Security is “the single most important tool in combating poverty among the elderly.”

Here is the link to the Times article:

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gny53

I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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