Almost everyone reaches an age when working for a living is no longer possible. That is the retirement age when income decreases significantly, the cost of living continues to rise and the need for high-cost, unaffordable health care increases.

Many retirees quickly find their fixed incomes will not stretch far enough.

Social Security, started in 1935, was never intended to be a fully funded pension program. It was intended to supplement pensions.

Wage earners, who now do not earn enough to set aside sufficient money for retirement, will require financial assistance through safety net programs including food stamps, Medicaid (MaineCare), and housing and fuel assistance. Some retirees also have such low incomes they qualify for MaineCare.

Economic recession has wiped out savings for unemployed millions and thousands are now retiring monthly, according to AARP. That lost wealth, age-related health care needs and a minimum Social Security income will increase the numbers of people falling into poverty.

Those increasing numbers can be traced to the fact that just 400 people in this country now have half this nation’s wealth. The other half is divided up among all the rest of about 3.1 million people, says Robert Reich in “Inequality for All.”

Thanks to money power in politics, that 1 percent is able to further plunge millions more into poverty.

That money power has brought a small contingent of single-issue members to Congress. This small group with libertarian (i.e. anarchist) views is now able to damage our country by forcing a government shutdown in an effort to deny health care to millions, purposely or unwittingly cause another economic recession by preventing our government from paying its debts and also reduce or defund safety net programs for the needs of a rapidly rising retiree population.

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

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