Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Retirement Benefits, Working in Retirement, and Worker-Retiree Ratio

“When the Social Security [Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance] program was initiated in 1935, the average life expectancy was 61 years old. Considering that the average age for retirement has remained consistently 65, beneficiaries in the early years of the program were receiving payment for a much shorter time. Currently, average life expectancy has increased to 75 and the average retirement age has remained at 65 rising to 67 by 2027 (i.e., for those born after 1960). So, not only are there more beneficiaries as compared to workers, but these beneficiaries are receiving payments for a much longer period.” (Stanford University) Total annual Social Security benefits paid have increased from $1,27 million in 1935 to $897 billion 2015. (Wikipedia) These number do not include Medicare or Medicaid. CRISPR and like technologies will undoubtedly extend the longevity and health of the elderly (the oldest recorded age is 122 years), producing extended years of productive work, and also extended years of retirement.

Obviously, something should be done before too much of our entire economy becomes care for increasingly healthy and vigorous retirees. For example, plans allowing people to continue in less demanding and lower paid work while keeping eligibility for all or a portion of their monthly retirement benefits appear worth considering. Fear of an aging community voting backlash at the next election freezes Congress repeatedly into permanent inaction. Working in retirement is already encouraged by social security rules and recognized as a 21st Century phenomenon.

The People are as aware as Congress about the effects of excessive debt, are more concerned than Congress about burdening their children, and are far more likely to limit the National debt than an irresponsible Congress“The 1991 Patient Self-Determination Act passed by the US Congress at the request of the financial arm of Medicare does permit elderly Medicare/Medicaid patients (and by implication, all “terminal” patients) to prepare an advance directive in which they elect or choose to refuse life-extending and/or life-saving treatments as a means of shortening their lives to shorten their suffering unto certain death. The treatment refused in an advance directive under US law, because of the 1991 PSDA, does not have to be proved to be “medically futile” under some existing due-process procedure developed under state laws, such as TADA in Texas.” (Courtesy © Wikipedia)

In the U.S., firearms remain the most common method of suicide, accounting for 51% of all suicides committed in 2006 (Wikipedia). In 2012, 64% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides. In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicides, and 11,078 firearm-related homicides in the U.S. (Wikipedia)

Obviously there is an impending Worker-Retiree Ratio crisis on the horizon for which there is no obvious solution at this time. Probably Congressional action would impose extremely controversial solutions, whereas use of initiatives may be more acceptable. Thus any resolution of this issue is obscure at present, but will have to be faced eventually, and to have Advisory Initiatives as a solution aid may turn out to be vital and decisive.