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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