The late American comedian George Carlin was known for his crass, rude, and outright crude jokes, but many times his jokes were a social commentary on real problems. In one of his most famous sketches, “The American Dream”, he talks about how the government and major corporations are going to try to take people’s Social Security to “give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.”
Warning: Crude language. Not for small children.
Carlin said this in 2005, and he was telling the future it seems as in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, MarketWatch.com notes that Social Security cost-of-living increases will likely stagnate for next year, meaning the same amount will be paid in terms of number but the actual purchasing power will decline as a result of currency decline.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), Americans aged 65 and over:
Get 33% of all income from Social Security
50% of married couples and 70% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 50% or more of their income from Social Security
21% of married couples and about 45% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income
If that’s you, you know the deal: The check’s the same each month for a whole year, but the prices, well, they just keep going up.
At the end of every year, the Social Security Trustees take these higher prices into account by raising monthly checks a few percentage points; this is called a Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA.
But here’s some bad news for the 63 million Americans—nearly one in five—who receive Social Security benefits now: It’s possible that there won’t be much of a cost of living adjustment—if any—for 2021. Why? Because one major component of the Consumer Price Index—and thus the COLA—is fuel prices (heating oil, gasoline and so forth). These prices have plunged, thanks to the coronavirus-induced economic collapse that we’ve seen over the last few months.
Falling energy prices are good for many people obviously, but if you’re retired, don’t drive as much as you used to and live in say, Florida or Arizona, a drop in heating oil and gasoline might not mean that much to you. But that spike in food prices? You’ll have to (pardon the pun) eat that with a Social Security check that could stay flat. The Social Security Trustees (the head Trustee is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) will announce the 2021 COLA in October. (source)
Cost of living is a MAJOR issue. It is the reason why working so many jobs today, especially if it is less than $15 per hour, is slave labor because of the decline in purchasing power.
Back in the 1992 presidential election, a factory worker made about $13 per hour, and yet this person could afford a home and the amenities of life without relying on welfare. Now, it is mathematically impossible not only to own a home, but to have an apartment anywhere in the country without having to take a second job.
It is good to save money. However, the reverse is now true in America, because due to currency manipulation, the value of the dollar declines so fast that there is more value in spending the money in the moment than saving it because unless one is very wealthy, one cannot recover enough money to stabilize or increase gains in assets, meaning a net loss for the great majority of people with savings accounts.
Social Security is a big matter for a lot of people because it is all they have. It is already a crime how wages do not increase and American workers are reduced to actual slaves by their financial state, let alone the general lack of cost-of-living increases in wages for most people. This will continue the trend of general impoverishment and likely make the current state of affairs worse than what it already is, driving more people closer to poverty and looking at desperate political answers.