While America Aged illuminates the scope of the problem we’re facing, and warns that the worst is yet to come. With the narrative flair and talent for decoding financial ambiguities that readers have come to rely on, Lowenstein brilliantly chronicles three fascinating pension cases: the collapse of the over-obligated General Motors, the pension strike that halted New York City’s subways and effectively shut down the city, and the scandalous bankrupting of the affluent corner of Southern California, the city of San Diego. Not only compelling historical sagas rich with detail and unforgettable characters, each story also acts as an object lesson. Lowenstein warns that these pension wars are only the beginning of the retirement and healthcare crisis we will face if we don’t find ways to address this latest moral hazard. Governments and corporations across the country used pensions as a seemingly easy way to curry favor with unions (easy because the expense would be deferred until a later generation). But now, with cumulative retirement deficits approaching $1 trillion, the day of reckoning has arrived.
Is there a way out? Lowenstein recognizes that fixing pensions will be difficult but securing retirement is a critical issue—especially in our rapidly aging country—and he proposes a cogent solution to the impending crisis. Masterfully written and convincingly argued, While America Aged is a timely and crucial wake-up call to a pension damaged America.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Roger Lowenstein, author of the bestselling Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist and When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-term Capital Management, reported for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade and wrote the Journal’s stock market column “Heard on the Street” and also its “Intrinsic Value” column. He now contributes articles and reviews to the Journal and the New York Times Magazine and is a columnist for SmartMoney Magazine. He lives in Westfield, New Jersey.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
How did government spending get so outrageous? Well unsupportable pensions along with a hedonistic mentality certainly didn't hurt. In an effort to increase their campaign funds state congressional leaders have sold out their constituency to the elite few - the government worker. It's outrageous that the average taxpayer, foots the bill for the outstanding pensions that the government worker receives upon retirement. Although in no way begrudging the worker security in the future, they have taken advantage of government weakness. True labor negotiations demand fair worker rights that will not kill the employer. That is because without the employer there is no employment. In government, however, our congressional leaders don't feel the direct pain of giving in to every demand. Consequences are deferred and the money isn't being fully subsidized by them. Lowenstein does an excellent job of exposing the true cost of irresponsible pensions.
The first third of his book is dedicated to how exuberant pensions has accelerated GM's troubles. Although incredibly interesting, there is less outrage in that section simply because it's a private company that forgot its dedication to the shareholders. It was for the shareholders to hold the company accountable for its actions. The second and third part of the book are about government pensions - in the New York Transit System and San Diego County. These are more appalling because its an incredible eye opener as to how much debt and how many problems Americans are leaving to their future. In our effort to appease the worker today we have screwed over the worker of tomorrow. I truly do think that this book should be required reading for every taxpayer.
This book is a real eye-opener. With a handful of true-life examples, it explains the longstanding penchant that unions have for demanding more and more, and management's acceding to union demands as long as the day of reckoning is pushed off well into the future. As someone who is not a union member, I was appalled at the absurdly generous retirement benefits that employers (both public and private) have agreed to over the years--benefits that anyone can see are unsupportable in the long run. See for yourself. This should be required reading for every single member of Congress.