The New American Dream: No Jobs For The Young, No Retirement For The Old

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

We shouldn't wonder why people are working into their 70s--we should wonder why anyone retires, assuming they'll still be receiving their full pension in five years.

You may have seen a variation of this chart of employment in the U.S. by age group. This chart--courtesy of shows the number of those employed (with any kind of job--full-time, part-time, self-employed) as a percentage of the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (CNP), which includes everyone 16 years of age and older who is not institutionalized or on active duty in the Armed Forces.

A number of striking features pop out of this chart:

1. Employment in the 16-19 age cohort has been dropping for 35 years, and fell off a cliff in 2008.

2. Employment in the 20-24 and 25-54 age cohorts topped out in 2001 and has yet to recover the pre-recession levels of 2008.

3. The only age cohort with employment growth since 2000 is the 55 and older group.

There are many theories as to why youth employment has plummeted while 55+ employment is rising, but demographics and financial insecurity likely play major roles. Back when Social Security was established, few people lived beyond their 60s. A retirement age of 65 meant most people lived only a few years beyond retirement.

Now people live into their 80s, and medical technologies are enabling many to remain active even in their advanced years.

As people live longer, those reaching retirement age (early to mid 60s) often have elderly parents in their 80s who need care and financial support. People living into their late 80s, once a rarity, are now commonplace.

As the economy has stagnated, financial demands on their own children (in their 30s and early 40s) have increased, leaving many of those reaching retirement age with two generations needing help. Retirement is not much of an option when every scrap of income is needed.

Over the past 35 years, defined pension plans that were once common benefits of corporate employment have vanished and been replaced by 401K plans which transfer the risk to the employee. As the stock market has soared and crashed twice in the past fifteen years, those approaching retirement can no longer trust that their pension fund is secure.

The Federal Reserve's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) has destroyed low-risk yields on retirement funds (401Ks, IRAs, etc.), greatly reducing the yield on retirement savings. As a a direct result of Fed policy (designed to recapitalize banks at the expense of savers and retirees), those hoping to retire have been forced to put their savings at risk (investing in risky assets such as junk bond funds) or working longer because the low-risk yield on retirement savings are now meager.

The reality is that financial insecurity is rising for everyone heading into retirement. Even state and local government workers are concerned that their pensions aren't as secure as they were a generation or two ago, as the fiscal imbalances of many local government budgets are the New Normal.

The Federal government can effectively create money to pay Social Security, veterans and federal employee pensions, but there is no guarantee that these pensions will keep up with inflation or not be taxed to oblivion. One key source of financial insecurity is the growing awareness that the rules will be changed without consent of the governed to preserve the perquisites of the Ruling Class and powerful vested interests.

It would be foolish in the extreme to trust that the Powers That Be won't change the rules in a heartbeat when their power and wealth are threatened by instability. The Nobility will change the rules and the peasants will pay--end of story.

In this context, we shouldn't wonder why people are working into their 70s--we should wonder why anyone retires, assuming they'll still be receiving their full pension in five years.

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aztrader's picture

But the unemployment rate is only 5.3%!   Do we even have to ask who is lying?............

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Solution is obvious, more incarceration to reduce non-institutional portion of population, result in higher labor participation. There, fix it soviet style!

froze25's picture

Don't let your kids be raised on TV.

JMT's picture

Over 5.4 million job openings alone. Only 5million hired. There is a significant skills Gap

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

You are learn new skills in prison facility.

FrankieGoesToHollywood's picture

The US has this now: "4" year degree.  But rather than being released at the end, you are given a lifetime of debt to repay.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Thanks, central government, for bidding up the price of education by issuing any amount of debt for studying any subject.  Those institutions are full of Government Party loyalists, carrying Gramsci's plans Forward.  

The_Dude's picture

More correctly, companies no longer feel the need to train and develop employees.  They expect employees to sholder the cost of training and still accept below market wages.  If they can't find someone here willing to take that, they lobby Congress to allow them to bring in 3rd worlders to keep the wages suppressed.

Colonel Klink's picture

One must always spell it correctly, it's CONgress.

Babaloo's picture

All those retirement parties I've been going to must have been a figment of my imagination!  I better call my buddy whose having a party next week and tell him he's not really retiring, it's just a dream!

Karlus's picture

Now if we can just stop aging....then we can work for hundreds of years? Amiritebruhs?

813kml's picture

Zionist vampires already beat you to it.

MonetaryApostate's picture

You might want to consider this movie...
(It seems to be following the protocols & prophecies)
Just replace the time counter with RFID Implants...

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Movie is fictional premise, but is remind thinking citizenry that all control is exert by way of artificial scarcity. Remove notion of scarcity and you are liberate citizenry.

FreedomGuy's picture

To keep it solvent they will push the Social(ism) Security age to 100.

Who would think rational people would allow a system that has no property rights, no fiduciary responsibilities, is raided by government and has no contracts to be their "retirement" system? Only leftist economic-idiots would have that kind of system.

joseJimenez's picture

Yeah, and take the next 900 years off

JRev's picture

Getting dangerously close, Comrade:

Doubtlessly, the "civilian" model will be Cloud-connected; the same networked electrodes that can "zap" your heart back to life after a heart attack will likely be able to induce one should anyone in Slavelandia get too uppity. 

But hey, ain't medical technology just grand? 

large_wooden_badger's picture

It's new new normal, no jobs for these kids today ensuring there sure as hell won't be any pensions, 401k or social security when they're all aged up.

FreedomGuy's picture

Maybe we should do a $25/hr minimum wage in the USA, then? That should really help them.

JRev's picture

There won't be pensions, 401k's, or Social Security for the crusty old bastards who are aged up now at the rate we're going. Perhaps access to limited funds will be granted under the condition that all these pensioners being barely kept alive by pharmaceuticals and nutrient-deprived "food" relocate to their nearest Smart City. "For their safety," of course.

BlueStreet's picture

The Social Security Trust(less) Fund. 

lawyer4anarchists's picture

All of this is just a symptom of the overall problem.  The slow grind down is unstoppable.  The debt is too great. And the debt is traced straight back to the Fiat currency imposed on us through legal tender laws which obviously violate the 5th amendments "taking" clause.  So how did we get them? Simple a crooked court packing scheme you never were taught about.

froze25's picture

This is why the constitution is never ever taught in Public Schools.  Sure they teach you that it exist but you would think they would hammer it into your brain so that you could quote it "chapter and Verse" but they want you ignorant.  They don't teach you basic civil procedure so that you are dependent on a attorneys.  Keep you nice and ignorant and controllable.

813kml's picture

Greeter at Walmart detention centers is looking like a promising career path.

TrumpXVI's picture

Actually, not...the "greeter" has been eliminated from both of my local walmarts.  Hey, where do you think that much ballyhooed "raise" for walmart workers came from??

NoWayJose's picture

Still have greeters at mine.  Not a job for me though -- as others have posted, you are a cheap unarmed security cop screening outgoing carts.  My dream job at Walmart would be cart collector -- outdoors, exercise, and PAY RAISES!

TBT or not TBT's picture

Costco has them.  Not selling Brawndo yet, but there are a lot of supplements for sale.  

foxmuldar's picture

Greeters were not there to greet you, their actual job was to watch for shoplifters trying to take those 40 inch HDTVs out the front door.  Idiots still trying to walk out the doors with those TVs in their shopping cart. Not many ever get away. Their all being watched by security cameras and the cops are quick to respond when Wallmart hits the red button. Its usually hispanics or blacks since they make up the majority of those who still shop at Wallmart. 

About a week ago blacks stormed into a Georgia Wallmart and ransacked the place then left. Thank goodness there wasn't a greeter to greet them. haha!

duo's picture

I've watched too many people have their brains and bodies turn to mush shortly after retiring.  The boomers may feel entitled to it, but I'd rather be productive somehow, even if it's only providing organic produce from my garden or similar.

B2u's picture

Too funny!!  I retired at age 54 and moved to the tropics.  Buenos suerte!

TrumpXVI's picture

Yup...ya' gotta keep movin'.

lehmen_sisters's picture

Vote for Bernie, he will save all of us youngin's slinging drinks at Applebees and fetching laundry at the Baymont Inn. /sarc. End the Fed. 

FrankieGoesToHollywood's picture

The good news is you don't stay young forever.... or old for that matter.

Everybodys All American's picture

Socialists running out of other people's money.

corporatewhore's picture

why don't they eliminate the reduction penalty of benefits that occurs if one takes SS at age 62?  why don't they eliminate the SS taxation if one earns over a certain amount  prior to Normal Retirement Age?

why don't we have some intelligent person in Congress advocating such?  why don't we just go to a flat tax?


Cui Bono?

NoWayJose's picture

I find it amazing that people can pay into SS their whole lives and basically get NOTHING for it.  You lose yours if your reduced spousal benefit is more.  You lose SS if you have other pensions.  You get taxed if you get too much.  Yet they are handing out disability to able bodied but lazy younger workers!

f16hoser's picture

Thank God all 3 branches of government are staffed with Millionaires & some Billionaires. They deserve it!!!

Guess were left with MRE's and a Second Amendment...


Freddie's picture

What is kind of funny is watching dumb whites watch TV and Trayvon College ball plus NFL and NBA. 

Especially stupid white southern males worshipping their Trayvons at Alabama, Clemson, FSU, Tulane, Texas A&M and other places where 110,000 dumb whites cheer on Obola's Trayvon at the University stadium like dumb white sheep..

Maybe if they get their f**king jaw broken in a Knock Out game by their heroes, they might wake up.  Dumb crackers.

Here is one playing a knock out game with some white woman.

Dumb whites.

froze25's picture

The knock out game is a complete fantasy created by racist whites.  If it existed and it doesn't it would mean that black people could also be racist and we all know from our TV and public education that simply isn't possible because.....

JMT's picture

The 25-54 age group is growing strongly. Wtf are you saying. Most are doing great. Debt may be high but it was higher in relation to income from1994-2007 for this age group


If anyone is being shafted it ithose who are over40 and white

JMT's picture

The 25-54 age group is growing strongly. Wtf are you saying. Most are doing great. Debt may be high but it was higher in relation to income from1994-2007 for this age group


If anyone is being shafted it ithose who are over40 and white

taketheredpill's picture


ersatz007's picture

easy:   don't have kids and marry someone who is wealthy.  or, have wealthy parents in the first place.  the latter is a suggestion from Janet Yellen so you know it makes sense.  

RXJ1532's picture

The immutable class labled as the ultra-wealthy have this problem pre-solved, a global release of H5N8 and H5N5 viral airbourne strains with rapid human to human transmission and a >90% morbidity rate. All designed to be specifically engineered to target the >70 y.o. group. *Release date ~10-15 years*

BigRedRider's picture


nevertheless's picture

This looks just what they have in mind for Greece, only difference is America can postpone the pain with our printing presses.

rejected's picture

At 66 I thought about giving it up but the major inhibiting factor is survival. The young are screwed. My employer has laid off over 90% of my group. We are down to 8 trying to do what over one hundred used to do. A lot of maintenance and record keeping is not getting done and it's starting to show.

Worse... They have not replaced one person. We just had one get terminated awhile back and their not replacing him. The younger gens complain that we boomers are standing in the way but it's not true. I could quit tomorrow and they would not hire another. By the way,,, we have millennial managers. They simply combine jobs and intimidate the remaining employees. As I wrote there is much that isn't getting done,,, they simply don't care. Management has created a numbers system that they use to determine the work getting done. Of course it's all rigged to get them big bonuses. The customer be damned is their attitude.

This 'money saving' mode american companies are in trying to compete with foreigners earning $3 per day is destroying them. This won't stop until americans are down to that level, like at the beginning of the twentieth century when pay was low and sweatshops aplenty.

Disclaimer to the younger gens. This boomer voted against every trade treaty put forth. If you want to blame someone I suggest the 535 government traitors and the international -used to be american- corporations.  Just like the TPP they were pushed through by a paid off congress,,,, which is one reason I have given up voting.

Our system of government is now corporatism. Of the corporation,,, by the corporation,,, and for the corporation. We citizens are nothing more than domesticated con-sumers and cannon fodder when needed.