Neil Young, "Old Man"
I'd say, "as if we needed more," but our commentariat has thick heads.
The Census Bureau just released its first-ever report on Americans in their 90s and older. There are currently just shy of 2 million Americans in the 90+ age range, and their numbers are growing pretty rapidly.
The median personal income for people 90 and older during 2006-08 (the years covered by this study) was $14,760, which isn't very much, especially considering that dealing with infirmities costs money, not all of which is covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Nearly half (47.9%) of this group's income came from Social Security. Cutting Social Security means putting this extremely vulnerable age group on catfood - there ain't no two ways about it. Even if you only cut Social Security for those currently under 55, they'll start hitting 90 in 35 years; you're impoverishing the same age group, just beginning with a later cohort.
This is especially true because another 18.3% of the income of today's 90+ group comes from retirement pensions. People in their 90s in 2006-2008 turned 65 in 1971-1983, back when your average working American was far more likely to have a bona fide pension connected to his or her job than anyone does now. That number is going to see some serious shrinkage over time, making Social Security even more critical to those entering this age group in the upcoming decades. If pension income for this group shrinks, as it will, and Social Security is cut as well, they'll be lucky to even afford cat food.
So that's just one more reason why tampering with Social Security is insane. There's a long list of them, I know, but maybe this one will hit home with some people that aren't troubled by other reasons. Always worth remembering when you write your Congresscritter, or when your uncle tells you over Thanksgiving dinner that we can't afford Social Security as it is, and it's just got to be cut.