August 14, 1935
What’s it like to get old in America? I’m an expert on this topic. Yep, aches, pains, and various ailments are part of it—but, generally speaking, elderly Americans can afford food and shelter.
For most Americans, getting old once meant spending the remaining years in want after a lifetime of work. Then, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. It rescued America’s elderly, at least from the worst kinds of poverty.
No wonder we hear people voice distress about Social Security being not so secure.
The system isn’t broken; it has simply become obsolete because of our increased longevity. That’s a good thing! In 1935, the average lifetime was a lot shorter than now. My grandfather Allen retired and got one Social Security check before he died. I’ve received 216 (so far!). He and I contributed part of our wages for the same length of time before retirement.
If we want to live longer and collect for a lifetime, we have to pay in more. Raising the age of retirement is one way, and a logical one. Another solution is to pay more in taxes while employed. I don’t think it would take punitive taxation to guarantee the Social Security safety net. Personally, I think it would be worth it.
Use it or lose it
A woman was talking on the phone with a friend: “My body has gotten totally out of shape. I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided on an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got those leotards on, the class was over.”
Two more old folks
An elderly couple, childhood sweethearts, had married and settled down in the old neighborhood.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they take a stroll down to their old school. Holding hands, they find the desk they shared. There he had carved, “I love you, Sally.”
On the way back home, a bag of money falls out of an armored car practically at their feet. Sally quickly picks it up. They don’t know what to do with it so they carry it home with them. She counts the money and discovers it’s 50,000 dollars.
John says, “We’ve got to give it back.”
Sally says, “Finders keepers,” stuffs the money back into the bag, and hides it up in the attic.
The next day, two FBI agents go door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for the money. They knock on John and Sally’s door. “Pardon me,” one says, “but did either of you find some money that fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
Sally says, “No.”
John says, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.”
Sally says, “Don’t believe him. He’s getting senile.”
But the agents sit John down for questioning: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
“Well,” John says, “when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday…”
At this, the FBI guy looks at his partner and says, “We’re outta here….”