How does he do it? How many times have we thought this, said this, or heard this? How does he do it. An under-appreciated aspect of the Sanders campaign is its living contradiction to ageism. He’s great on ending racism and sexism for the most part, some ways to go, but what he is manifesting to the world is a 74 year old man with the energy of a 25 year old. Is he on amphetamine, like Kennedy? I wouldn’t blame him. (I used to like that speed stuff).
Most likely it’s the energy of the people. There is nothing quite like being at the center of a movement on a path toward victory – no matter what happens. The cat is out of the bag. The genie is out of the bottle. ‘Merica just woke up! All of us feel the Bern, but Bernie feels the bern of all of us.
This is how it’s done, peoples of the world. With honesty, good sense, and heart. With the interests of the people at the core. The emperor has no clothes, or is it the empress with no clothes (oh, to imagine Hillary naked, um, is that sexist?) Okay, to be fair let’s imagine Bernie naked too, not that pretty a picture either.
So, I’m 71, just a few years behind Bernie. That he can do what he’s doing at 74 is an inspiration to all of us. Old age is a state of mind. Why do we even count the damn years?
I was a teacher, took early retirement, got a pension from the State Teachers Retirement System. Got another job running a nonprofit for parents in the schools. So I paid into Social Security. In about 2010 I got a paper from the SSA saying I would be getting about $1000 a month when I was ready to draw on it. Then a few months before I did decide to draw on it, on got another paper saying I’d only be receiving $300 a month. WTF.
Of course I investigated this phenomenon and discovered that somewhere in there, the right-wing congress voted to prevent teachers from “double-dipping,” collecting both social security and a state or other pension. I was getting $1500 a month from my teacher’s pension! So my lavish income from my pension has fallen from the princely 30 K to the obscene $21,600!
Of course the congress folks who voted on this cut to my marginal lifestyle double-dip til the cows come home (as do police, fire, military, city officials of all stripes).
So, just like in Thomas Wolff (I recently visited his Look Homeward Angel boarding house in Asheville, N. C.), as the middle class declines, we open our large houses as boarding houses, and call it Airbnb. Half the people in my house at any given time I don’t recognize, but it’s nice, this communality, even if my bed is now less comfortable, and I have to live out of a suitcase in my own house.
Bernie will fix this. Fixing Social Security is easy as pie if we just raise the cap. In case you missed it, currently, if you make more than $118,000, you pay the same social security tax as someone making exactly $118,000, even if you make a million or a billion a year. Now that’s obscene. If we allow the tax to continue to rise proportionally, there will be enough money to raise benefits significantly for all and keep the system solvent forever.