1% CEOs insist Americans need to work until 70

Nothing says “shared sacrifice” quite like a rich guy telling everyone else they need to work longer.

We already know that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have spent a lifetime living off of government money, yet now want to cut that money for everyone else.

We have also heard Wall Street leaders promote cuts to the social system, while ignoring their own multi-billion dollar handouts. And the $182 billion handout queen from AIG, from the comfort of his Mediterranean villa, let everyone know that maybe Americans needed to work until they were 70 or 80.

Now we have more pampered American CEOs daring to step forward and insist on other Americans working harder and longer. How thoughtful of them.

One of those CEO’s is AT&T’s Randall Stephenson. He also thinks that Americans need to work until they are 70 years old. Stephenson received a $2.08 million pay cut – that’s right, a cut – last year for a failed deal on his watch. Most Americans won’t make $2.08 million in their lifetime, let along have their pay cut by that much.

Stephenson still made out okay though, coming in at $22 million for the year. He’s probably going to retire with the usual benefits that are denied regular workers, but yes, he thinks you need to work longer. Over the last five years, Stephenson has made $81.29 million, according to Forbes.

What the pampered 1% somehow misses is that corporate profits are roaring to record levels. Yes, under the far left-wing, Hugo Chavez-loving, rebirth of Stalin and Hitler administration of Barack Obama, corporate profits have out performed the Reagan years. Yes, a Marxist like Obama out performed Saint Reagan!

U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.

Social Security

Social Security via Shutterstock

But no, this isn’t enough for the likes of Stephenson, Blankfein, Bowles and Simpson, who see the need for the middle class to get their act together and work harder. It’s a bit like the old joke from the days of the Soviet Union, when Moscow would wire countries like Vietnam or Cuba and say it was time they had to tighten their belts. The response would be: “send belts.”

If only today’s corporate executives were trying to be funny. Sadly, they’re quite serious, which only proves how out of touch  they truly are.

Unemployment rates for older workers currently remain lower than for younger workers, but when an older worker loses a job, finding a new job can take almost a year. This is a real problem. As more Millenials (a very large group) come into the work force, they are also likely to put pressure on the system, and older workers may be forced out to make room. We just don’t know.

In addition, we have seen exploding healthcare costs and stagnating earnings for most people, other than the pampered 1% executives and elite government workers (like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson) who are set with health insurance and other retirement benefits that are far beyond what most workers see today. When is the last time you met someone who went into a new job that actually had a good retirement program (or any at all), besides a Wall Street giveaway 401K?

How legitimate is it to accept the word of some of the most privileged that have everything to gain financially by squeezing the middle class? When is enough enough for them, and for us?

All of us are equal, but some of us are more equal than others.


Executives of the Business Roundtable are urging Congress to raise the Social Security and Medicare age eligibility to 70, from the current 67 [sic], and to adopt means testing for wealthier retirees, in order to keep the entitlement programs solvent longer-term.

“When you look long-term at the U.S. fiscal health, you have to look at these questions,” said Business Roundtable President John Engler during meeting with reporters in Washington Tuesday.

Let them eat cake, Mr. Stephenson?

“It’s the power of compound savings here,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, and vice chair of the group’s health and retirement committee. “If you start to save now, it really adds up.”

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • We’ll start be razing the Hamptons.

  • Butch1

    These asses have never done an honest days work in their own lives or any manual labor and they have the nerve to try and force it on those who have. Each one of these miscreants should be forced to work a road crew laying asphalt on a hundred degree day for a month. Perhaps they may have a change of heart when they find out what real work is.

  • Houndentenor

    I am planning to work as long as my health is good enough to do so, but I realize that many people do jobs that they will not physically be able to do until 70. Having worked for several CEOs this doesn’t surprise me at all. They live in a bubble where they are isolated from the economic reality of the other 99.99% of Americans.

  • lynchie

    What I said had nothing to do with capped contributions. Read the post. Employers don’t want to make any contribution. They want to end that and make the employee do the total contribution which would effectively destroy any hope that a person could live on SS.

  • perljammer

    I hate to let a “teachable moment” go unused.

    Employer contributions to Social Security are not capped at all; only employee contributions. And neither employee or employer contributions to Medicare are capped at all.

  • lynchie

    In a lot of industries it is all about how much you can get done in an hour (day) fall behind and you are gone. Where are the jobs for 70 year olds. If currently employed they are at the top of the income chart and companies are ditching these people like the plague. Where I work if you are over 55 you are on a death watch. They are firing and replacing with $7.25 an hour newbies. So this whole thing is bunk. They want experienced people to take a pay cut but still bring experience and decision making that they can’t get with new employees.

  • lynchie

    Because employers don’t want to contribute matching funds for SS and Medicare. They want SS to be handed to Wall Street so they get out of the contribution.

  • rmthunter

    Coming from a bunch of parasites who have no skin in the game, this is really rich — and not in a good way.

  • HolyMoly

    Raising the SS retirement age to 70 = workers will have to stay employed longer = workers paying into company pensions longer = dying after drawing less of their pensions = more money in the pockets of the CEOs in the form of higher pay and bonuses.

    The robber-barons won’t do ANYTHING unless they stand to benefit from it, while the rest of us lose out on what we’ve worked so hard for.

  • UncleBucky

    And where? You show me where those 50 to 70 will be welcomed with open arms… (and not as Walmarsh or Uncle Depot greeters…)

  • Guest

    Remove the cap on the payroll tax and you solve most of the problem. Why is there so much resistance to this?

  • guest1

    End the Fed, end wall streets free money

  • caphillprof

    We’re hearing from folk who haven’t done one honest day’s work in their lives. It’s one thing to suggest that folk who dress up and go to meetings may be able to work longer, but how about people on production lines? meat packers? fruit pickers? plowers? road crews? construction crews?

    I know 50 something dentists who have ruined their backs standing on their feet for 40 hour weeks bending over patients. Same true of hair dressers.

    And none of this addresses slow mental deterioration and coordination deterioration etc as folks move into their late 60s (no matter how physically healthy they might otherwise be).

    I wish the Russian Revolution on America’s coddled 1 percent.

  • ezpz

    Some of these CEOS are on the president’s ‘Jobs Council’ which is headed up by none other than Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE.

    Oh, and the president agrees with them, a convenient fact to omit.


    “The Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is chaired by Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and Chairman of General Electric. In addition, Ursula Burns, Eric Lander, and James McNerney will serve as ex-officio members. More members of the council will be announced at a later date.”

  • condew

    I would think that any CEO in retail would prefer a population with good pay and the security of good benefits so they feel free to spend it; yielding lots of discretionary income. True, the Walmarts of the world would pay out more in pay and benefits, but their customers are more numerous than those employees and they would spend more.

    Put it another way, the conservative mania for austerity will reduce discretionary income, threatening the life blood of every retail establishment and crashing most of the “service-based economy”.

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