Romney is "not concerned about the poor," perhaps, but personally, I'm not all that concerned about the very young. The people having the hardest time finding jobs right now, and a big segment of the long-term unemployed, are workers over the age of fifty. Many of them will never work again.
Think about it. Why should an employer hire a fifty-something when there are so many younger workers available? Younger workers provide a much longer-term return on training. Employers who provide health insurance save money by avoiding those who, statistically, are more likely to get sick. Fifty-somethings who once earned decent salaries probably will find it entirely too depressing to take jobs as Wal-Mart greeters. The longer the period of unemployment, the harder it is to find a job.
So, how do the fifty-somethings survive? (Remember, thanks to New Democrat Bill Clinton, lifetime welfare payments are limited to five years.)
The permanently unemployed who are, let's say, fifty-two today can't collect Social Security for ten years — and can't collect a full benefit for fifteen years. Congress is not about to extend unemployment insurance to ten years, so we have to think about what a long-term unemployed fifty-two-year-old can do to survive the interim. Here are some possibilities:
- Find a sympathetic doctor who will help the fifty-something get on Social Security disability. (This happens pretty frequently.)
- Move in with and be supported by the kids, if they can afford (and tolerate) it.
- Live on the streets.