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Unread 05-21-2012, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,125 posts, read 576,174 times
Reputation: 400
Default Is there any organization that actually lobbies on behalf of retirees?

Hi everyone,

Another thread on this forum has inspired me to actually talk about and look for an organization that actually lobbies on the behalf of retirees in this challenging economic environment. The situation is that retirees are being made the fall guys (receiving negative interest rates on savings) in favor of banks and large hedge funds who reap the rewards of cheap money that they receive from the Federal Reserve.

Our retirement savings are eroding by virtue of negative interest and higher inflation costs. Real inflation as measured in the same way as it was measured pre-Clinton/Greenspan is running much higher than reported because of the new ways that inflation is being calculated, e.g. with substitution. While banks and hedge funds spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress (it is worth billions to them to do so), who speaks for retirees?

I don't trust the AARP which seems to be nothing more than a marketing arm of insurance companies. I've written and talked to my representatives, employees of the Federal Reserve, and the White House. NO ONE CARES! How long can retirees last without any income other than the paltry amount that is withering away frome social security and pensions? Is there any organization that at least will speak out against the current Federal Reserve and government policies?? If so, I want to join!
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:42 PM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,940 posts, read 2,648,982 times
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1. AARP
2. Labor Unions


I think that if you take the time to follow what the AARP has been doing, you'll be pleasantly surprised. The number of town hall-type meetings, in all 50-states, and the more than 100,000 surveys returned by members on key issues are impressive. For folks who belonged to a union, most of the unions are strong advocates for senior issues from what I've observed.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
7,942 posts, read 5,161,454 times
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There is a lot I don't understand about the original post. The first thing is the talk of "negative interest rates on savings". The interest rates are not negative, they are just very low. Perhaps that is some economic jargon with which I am not familiar; if so, please enlighten me.

The second thing is the allegation that "retirees are being made the fall guys". This whole nation (not just retirees) is suffering from all sorts of things, including the low interest rates, the bad job market, stagnant wages, and so forth.

The third thing is the OP's take on inflation. Inflation is not something new; over the years the inflation rate has gone up and down considerably. It always has affected retirees and always will, which is the reason Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation. Saying that the SS COLA's are lagging slightly behind the "real" rate of inflation (however one chooses to define that) is just quibbling and it doesn't prove any conspriracy to screw retirees.

In a sense, depending on one's exact age and circumstances, it can be argued that retirees have it made. Certainly those of us my age (68) and older were mostly able to retire before the job market went to hell and we have avoided the painful situation of losing our jobs. Also, most of us had purchased homes before the big run-up in real estate values starting about 2001, and many of those homes are now paid off. Having a paid-off home is part of the normal progression of things once people get to be my age.

Younger people as a whole are facing more difficult and bleaker circumstances right now, and it is rather absurd to ask them to come running to the aid of us retirees based on bogus crying of the blues. This whole business of lobbying for our age group rather sickens me in fact, as it reeks of extreme selfishness and a strong entitlement mentality.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Hills & Hollers
17,583 posts, read 13,206,732 times
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AARP was first organized to support retirees. Now it supports itself and insurance companies. Labor unions support themselves also and at the risk of being "political," AARP and unions also support just about anything and anyone that comes from the left side of the aisle without regard for where their members may stand. Follow the money!

Anymore, only organizations like the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare really represent seniors with little or no regard to political affiliation..
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Unread 05-21-2012, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,125 posts, read 576,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
There is a lot I don't understand about the original post. The first thing is the talk of "negative interest rates on savings". The interest rates are not negative, they are just very low. Perhaps that is some economic jargon with which I am not familiar; if so, please enlighten me.
Happy to explain. Thanks for asking.

Negative interest rates refers to the difference between real inflation and interest rates that one can receive from secure deposits (e.g. treasuries, savings deposits, etc.). Measured by CPI, inflation currently is running at a bit over 2.5%. Thus, under normal circumstances, a saver (retiree) might expectr anything from 3.5 to 5% on relatively safe deposits. Instead retirees (I am one in this class) receive interest which is less than inflation. This is termed negative interest payments.

The interest is even greater if inflation was calculated as it was before the Clinton/Greenspan administrations when the concepts of substitution and automatic re-weighting of categories were introduced. These concepts helped deflate the real inflation and thus has the effect of reducing social security and other inflation based payments to retirees. Real inflation, calculated as it was pre-Clinton/Greenspan, is probably above 5%.

The reason retirees are receiving less than inflation is because banks and hedge funds can borrow as much money as they want from the Federal Reserve which accomplishes this miracle by printing money (actually easier since it is the push of a computer button). Banks use this money which they receive at under 1% interest rates to invest in Treasuries, overseas bonds, and gamble on derivatives as recently famously exhibited by JP Morgan. They don't loan money because they don't have to when they can make easy money on the carry trade (explained above). The Federal Reserve controls the interest on Treasuries in the same way. They just print money to buy the governments debt. In fact, the government is now buying over 60% of its own debt. The effect is to take money away from retirees (providing low interest) and transferring it to hedge funds and banks (the beneficiaries of low interest). That is why bankers can still pay themselves hundreds of billions of dollars in bonuses.

Quote:
The second thing is the allegation that "retirees are being made the fall guys". This whole nation (not just retirees) is suffering from all sorts of things, including the low interest rates, the bad job market, stagnant wages, and so forth.
Almost true but not quite. There is one, single class of our society that continues to amass wealth an untold rates. That is the famous (or infamous) top 1%. The above paragraph explains how they are doing it. It is simple if you have access to 0% money. I could do it if the Federal Reserve gave me trillions of dollars in 0% money, I too could easily make hundreds of billions of dollars by purchasing Treasuries. It is simple.

Quote:
The third thing is the OP's take on inflation. Inflation is not something new; over the years the inflation rate has gone up and down considerably. It always has affected retirees and always will, which is the reason Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation. Saying that the SS COLA's are lagging slightly behind the "real" rate of inflation (however one chooses to define that) is just quibbling and it doesn't prove any conspriracy to screw retirees.
I am referring to how the whole calculation was rejiggered under Clinton/Greenspan. I explained above but you can read more about it by googling "inflation substitution Greenspan". Inflation is kept low because it no longer takes into account lower standard of living. In effect, the basket that is being measured is constantly changing and being re-weighted.

Quote:
Younger people as a whole are facing more difficult and bleaker circumstances right now, and it is rather absurd to ask them to come running to the aid of us retirees based on bogus crying of the blues. This whole business of lobbying for our age group rather sickens me in fact, as it reeks of extreme selfishness and a strong entitlement mentality.
Most everyone is facing very bleak times since the money is no longer there. People do not have money to spend and therefore the economy continues to contract. It is the effect of transferring money to a smaller and smaller number of people who purchase less and less.

Hope this explains.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,125 posts, read 576,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
AARP was first organized to support retirees. Now it supports itself and insurance companies. Labor unions support themselves also and at the risk of being "political," AARP and unions also support just about anything and anyone that comes from the left side of the aisle without regard for where their members may stand. Follow the money!

Anymore, only organizations like the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare really represent seniors with little or no regard to political affiliation..
Thanks for the information about the NCPSS. I will look into it.

I receive AARP publications and it is full of ads for insurance companies and travel agencies disguised as some public service. AARP is simply a marketing venue and has nothing to do anymore with securing the needs of retirees. We badly need such an organization.

I agree also with what you have to say about unions. They betrayed their members a long time ago and simply became another corporation looking out for the interests of the top elite. The members are of little concern.

Thanks for your comments!
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Unread 05-21-2012, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,125 posts, read 576,174 times
Reputation: 400
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomexico View Post
1. AARP
2. Labor Unions


I think that if you take the time to follow what the AARP has been doing, you'll be pleasantly surprised. The number of town hall-type meetings, in all 50-states, and the more than 100,000 surveys returned by members on key issues are impressive. For folks who belonged to a union, most of the unions are strong advocates for senior issues from what I've observed.
I have not observed this in print or in their literature. My perception of them is simply a vehicle for promoting the financial industry to a target audience of retirees and near retirees (I began receiving literature from them when I was 50 for changing insurance). Not once, as far as I have seen, have they raised the issue of how retiree savings are being demolished by current Federal Reserve policies.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 03:49 PM
 
Location: New England
10,624 posts, read 6,350,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
There is a lot I don't understand about the original post. The first thing is the talk of "negative interest rates on savings". The interest rates are not negative, they are just very low. Perhaps that is some economic jargon with which I am not familiar; if so, please enlighten me.
It is possible that, with the pathetic rate on savings and other factors when filing with the IRS, there is negative gain. My mother used to say that pretty soon we will be paying the banks for holding onto our money for us, and she may be right before long. How low can they go...
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Unread 05-21-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
7,942 posts, read 5,161,454 times
Reputation: 13069
Quote:
Originally Posted by richrf View Post
Negative interest rates refers to the difference between real inflation and interest rates that one can receive from secure deposits (e.g. treasuries, savings deposits, etc.). Measured by CPI, inflation currently is running at a bit over 2.5%. Thus, under normal circumstances, a saver (retiree) might expectr anything from 3.5 to 5% on relatively safe deposits. Instead retirees (I am one in this class) receive interest which is less than inflation. This is termed negative interest payments.
During what period of time did interest on secure deposits such as bank certificates of deposit (CD's) ever keep the depositor consistently and reliably ahead of inflation? I am not talking about short-term fluctuations.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,125 posts, read 576,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
During what period of time did interest on secure deposits such as bank certificates of deposit (CD's) ever keep the depositor consistently and reliably ahead of inflation? I am not talking about short-term fluctuations.
What is generally called "financial repression" is not new, but the current wave began in 2008. Between 1980 and 2008, CDs reliably provided constant returns to savers. It is not by accident that this period of time was probably the most robust time for our economy. Financial repression is a rather cunning way to transfer wealth from savers to large institutions. It is by no means the first time in our history when this has occurred. Similar policies were followed during the Great Depression which led to economic ruin for over 25 years.

It is simply folly to believe that it is possible to have a growth economy with negative interest rates. But it doesn't matter to those who profit from this financial repression. By some measurement hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost by savers and transferred to large financial institutions via this mechanism. It is totally artificially created by Federal Reserve money printing polices. Ron Paul is the only politician who speaks about this, but his oratory is so contorted that I imagine most people have no idea what he is talking about.
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