As Janet Heinritz-Canterbury of the California Alliance for Retired Americans explains it, retirement in America has historically rested on a three-legged stool – the pension from your job, income from your own investments and assets, and Social Security.
But where are most Americans today in their ability to even contemplate retirement? Most of us no longer get pensions from our jobs; what investments we may have are losing money while home prices have declined; and now some members of Congress and possibly President Obama are out to substantially lower Social Security benefits.
According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), a frightening 35 percent of Americans over 65 currently rely only on Social Security (an average person gets benefits of $14,000/year) to survive. On January First of this year and continuing for the next 19 years, an additional 10,000 people A DAY will be turning 65.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without basketball. So goes the thinking in the NBA, as the players and owners reached agreement over the holiday weekend on a new six-year deal that will give us a shortened, 66-game season and the all-important marquee games on Christmas Day.
For all the discussion of the issues the past few months, writers have been quick to move from analysis of Basketball Related Income to breaking down the 2011 (barely)-2012 season. In part, that’s because all the details aren’t in, but here are a few links for your reading pleasure.
First up is a memo from National Basketball Players Association head Billy Hunter explaining the deal. Take the cheerleading with a grain of salt, of course, since Hunter’s been under fire and needs to tell players what they won after giving up some paychecks. (This is what everyone says,
“It’s not brain surgery.”
My cousin’s husband, Keith, says this to me a lot. He says it whenever he’s giving me complicated instructions on how to tackle some grueling home-repair process, usually one involving multiple steps and materials and equipment I’ve never heard of. And at that point I always picture myself standing over some inert patient on a gurney, bone saw in hand, wondering if I should go ahead and cut into their skull or wait for a trained professional, because as far as I’m concerned what he’s describing might as well be brain surgery, it sounds that difficult.
But for Keith it’s really not difficult. He’s done this kind of thing for years. He worked in residential construction for more than a decade and has remodeled every house he’s ever owned, generally more than once. He takes his own expertise and know-how completely for granted,
Fun fact: L.A. leads the nation in jobs—just the kind that most people don’t think of as jobs. We’re the national leader in “nonemployers:” entities relying on independent contractors rather than employees. As economist Jack Kyser explained in 2006, “a lot of people want to have a business but don’t want the headaches of actually having to employ people.” The Times cited Kyser in explaining that “businesses become nonemployers to avoid the costs of workers’ compensation, paid leave, health insurance and state taxes.”
In many cases this sort of practice is, not to put too fine a word on it, illegal. Starting in just a few weeks, though, the state has a powerful new tool to deal with these lawbreakers. SB 459 goes into effect on January 1, 2012, and it levies large fines against employers who willfully misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid their legal and tax responsibilities.
Earlier this month, 36 House Republicans filed an amicus court brief to support corporate America’s war on workers’ rights. They are embracing a suit filed by the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Restaurant Association , and other business lobbies to block a new ruling by the National Labor Relations Board.
This ruling, by one of those out-of-control federal government agencies, could be devastating to the job-creating corporations that are the engine of the American economy. Just listen to those who should know:
“The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is causing great uncertainty among manufacturers at a time when our economy is struggling to recover,” Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, recently warned.
“Just when we thought we had seen it all from the NLRB, it has reached a new low in its zeal to punish small business owners,”