The future is coming into view. Donald Trump’s victory strengthened the decades-long attack on the role of government. But we’ve got the tools to fight back, and we’re not alone.
Consuelo Mendez was 23 when she arrived in the United States 45 years ago, looking for work. In Ventura County she found it, harvesting strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage, parsley and spinach.
As soon as Anastasia Flores’ children were old enough, she brought them with her to work in the fields. “Ever since 1994 I’ve always worked by myself, until my children could also work,” she recalls.
Sue Poucher, 64, is a Navy veteran from Michigan who joined the paid workforce at age 18, and left it in April 2014, due to a lack of job openings in her field, retail sales. She was one of 200 people who attended a daylong conference in Sacramento Oct. 15. The gathering, called “Tomorrow’s California: New Visions for Retirement Security,” focused on the release of a new report on aging, economics, public resources and policy solutions.
“I get Cal-Fresh, live in U.S. Housing and Urban Development subsidized senior housing and rely solely on my $943 monthly Social Security check,” Poucher told Capital & Main at the conference. “When food prices go up, what are you supposed to do, not eat?”
The Sacramento resident has no savings to fall back on,
Four years ago I retired from active ministry in the United Methodist Church. My wife Susan and I now live a comfortable, middle-class life based upon the three pillars of retirement. We both receive Social Security. We get a monthly check from my pension plan. We hold some savings. But that’s not true for most Americans.
Yes, retiring workers can look forward to Social Security if they have paid into it. But that automatically excludes some. Government employees, for example, get pensions, but not Social Security. Undocumented workers may have the Social Security tax deducted from their paychecks, but the funds likely go to an account that does not bear their names – therefore, they will not get those payroll taxes returned to them when they age into eligibility.
Besides, Social Security was from the beginning expected to provide supplemental income only, not the sole basis for a livelihood.