7 November 2011

Widest-ever wealth gap between young and old in the US

This very one-sided article has appeared in numerous newspapers' websites today. It places blame for economic disparity between the young and the old strictly on the shoulders of the old, regardless of income, home ownership, marital status, or work history.

One reason the economic division between young and old can be seen as increasing over the last 30 to 50 years is the effect of feminism and increasing numbers of women in the workforce - changing norms, in other words.

Whereas 50 years ago a wealthy man might have a wife who stayed home and did charity work, now, older men are sought out by women for what they have to offer - in the firm, or as an influential, hidden, character reference for other careers. Thus the household with the head at age 65 plus might have a 45year old wife with high earning power in today's world.

I am not surprised that whoever wrote this piece didn't want to include this probable effect. It's not something the middle class really wants to deal with. And as women continue to marry men with the best resources, how can we ever expect the situation to get better. One of the side effects of feminism. What's that called again - oh, collateral damage.

Another problem with this article - something omitted - is that many old people, particularly older women, live in poverty. They may not be in debt, and so would not be included in the 8% mentioned in the last sentence. But despite receiving old age benefits, many will be struggling to get by.

So often we see articles and blogs that onlty serve to create more antagonism between the generations. Would I be right in assuming that the author of this piece is under 40, and female, and has her own agenda?

One other issue is the comment made by Harry Holzer, labor economist and public policy prof at Georgetown University, who is quoted as saying "It makes us wonder whether the extraordinary amount of resources we spend on retirees and their health care should be at least partially reallocated to those who are hurting worse than them." Apparently he called magnitude of the wealth gap "striking."

Note that he, like the other 'experts' mentioned in this piece, places the blame on old people in general, when it is obvious that the ones who will lose out if money allocated for healthcare is taken away are those with limited resources. It will be the ones without private medical insurance who will have to try to make do with even less proper healthcare.

I don't know if we can assume that the situation is the same in Canada., regarding health care matters and more importantly, the gap between the old and the young, but knowing the effects that feminism has caused in Canada, it sounds as though it could be the same here as in the US.

U.S. Wealth Gap Between Young, Old Is Widest Ever
By Hope Yen, Associated Press
Huffington Post Business
Nov 7, 2011

U.S. wealth gap between young and old is widest ever
By Hope Yen, Associated Press
USA Today
Nov 8, 2011

Links updated July, 2012

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