The Fourth Dimension – More Ageism in the Media

fish-and-chipsA  column by Jim Tankersley in The Washington Post claims the Baby Boomer generation is responsible for America’s woes, from the federal debt to climate change. .

A video on the web site shows two fat white boomers sipping Merlot and noshing  peanuts, with the tagline, “Baby boomers pillaged our economy. They should help fix it.”  Tankersley advocates cutting Social Security for retirees.

“Politicians shouldn’t be talking about holding that generation harmless. They should be asking how future workers can claw back some of the spoils that the “Me Generation” hoarded for itself,” writes Tankersley.

 The Fourth Estate or the Fourth Dimension?

There is no acknowledgement that.America’s tax and political structure benefits the obscenely wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Research shows that boomers are affected by wealth inequality, just like everyone else.  Moreover, boomers lost houses and savings during the Great Recession, brought on by unregulated Wall Street bankers and financiers who plundered the middle class without consequence.

Boomers today suffer from chronic long-term unemployment and epidemic age discrimination hiring. Should we blame millennials for refusing to hire older workres – or a federal government that has abdicated its responsibility to insure equal justice for all?

Millions of boomers have or are being forced into a penny-pinching “retirement” that includes a future of part-time work in low wage jobs and the very real prospect of poverty. Oh yeah, Congress sat idly by while defined benefit pensions went the way of the dinosaur so the aforesaid mentioned Wall Street financiers could make a quick buck on 401(k) plans.

In reality, retired workers take only about 72 percent Social Security funds; the rest is dispersed to disabled workers and their dependants and survivors of deceased workers.

Notice I use the word “benefit” when referring to retired claimants, who contributed to Social Security for their working lives.

The Social Security Administration estimates that  39.5 billion retirees receive an average benefit of $1,355 per month – a not particularly generous sum, especially when you consider their health care costs (which are not fully covered by Medicare).. Almost half of unmarried persons – mostly women who have been disproportionately affected by sex and age discrimination – rely on Social Security benefits for 90% or more of their income.

Why is the Washington Post carrying this kind of trite and superficial commentary?

Coincidentally, another media giant, the Los Angeles Times, last week lost an age discrimination lawsuit when a Superior Court jury awarded $7.13 million in damages to former Times sports columnist, T.J. Simers.

Simers, 65,  claimed during a two-week trial that he was forced out of his $240,000 a year job because of age and health discrimination after he suffered an apparent mini-stroke. .The Times claimed – obviously unsuccessfully – that Simers was punished because he failed to disclose his business relationship with the producer of a video that was briefly posted to the newspaper’s website.

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