Paul Krugman tries to explain that not all Americans have trust funds.
We seem to be hearing less these days about cutting Social Security, and weâ€™re even seeing some attention paid to proposals for benefit increases given the erosion of private pensions. But my sense is that Washington still has no clue about the realities of life for those not yet elderly. Which is where that Federal Reserve study comes in.
We learn, for example, that 3 in 10 nonelderly Americans said they had no retirement savings or pension, and that the same fraction reported going without some kind of medical care in the past year because they couldnâ€™t afford it. Almost a quarter reported that they or a family member had experienced financial hardship in the past year.
And something that even startled me: 47 percent said that they would not have the resources to meet an unexpected expense of $400 â€” $400! They would have to sell something or borrow to meet that need, if they could meet it at all.
Â His point is that most of our policy maker are utterly oblivious to the realities of life for these Americans. But maybe they can learn from reality television —
On Wednesday, CBS debuted â€œThe Briefcase,â€ a show in which, as Reality Blurredâ€™s Andy Dehnart explains, â€œtwo poor families get $101,000 and have to decide whether to keep it or give it to a needy family, not knowing that family is making the same decision.â€ He notes it is produced by â€œBiggest Loserâ€ creator Dave Broomeâ€™s 25/7 Productions and Sony, so you know that thereâ€™s some experience exploiting desperate people built in to the thing….
… In Vulture, Margaret Lyons does a ferociously great job explaining exactly why the showâ€™s â€œaltruism pornographyâ€ is so repulsive, starting with the fact that â€œIn the 2014 fiscal year, Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp, earned over $54 millionâ€¦. Thereâ€™s something really perverse about Les Moonves earning money based on the emotional and financial anguish of poor people, by making a game-theory spectacle of human suffering that he could end, himself, personally, if he wanted to.â€
At least they don’t have to kill each other. Yet.