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America is facing a crisis when it comes to retirement income security, with nearly half of households with members aged 55-64 having no savings at all and relying solely on Social Security. Approximately 52 percent of Americans aged 65 and older are living on less than $30,000 annually, with one in four surviving on less than $15,000 per year. Census data shows that nearly 17 million older Americans are financially insecure, with more than 10 percent living in poverty.

The retirement crisis is exacerbated by the lack of good ways for workers to save for retirement, with 57 million working Americans lacking easy access to saving mechanisms. The shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans has also contributed to wealth inequality, with more workers participating in lower-quality retirement accounts. Despite the belief that working longer could mitigate the crisis, factors such as age discrimination and skills obsolescence make it difficult for older Americans to find decent work when needed.

A large number of Americans are not prepared for retirement, with more than half of those aged 55-64 feeling that their retirement savings are not on track. Concerns about achieving financial security in retirement are also significant, with 79 percent of Americans agreeing that there is a retirement crisis. It is alarming that despite these challenges, some experts deny the existence of a retirement income crisis, using misleading numbers to downplay the severity of the issue.

The Republican Study Committee has proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare, further endangering the financial stability of older Americans. The push to raise the full Social Security age beyond 67 is seen as harmful, especially with high elder poverty rates in the U.S. that have remained steady for the past 30 years. Senator Bernie Sanders has raised awareness about this issue, highlighting the urgent need for Congress to take action to address the retirement and elder poverty crisis in America.

Sanders argues that the U.S. must confront the fact that despite being one of the richest countries in the world, its seniors are among the poorest. Addressing this disparity requires acknowledging the existence of the retirement crisis and implementing solutions to ensure a secure and dignified future for America’s elderly population. By facing the facts and working towards solutions, the U.S. can make progress in alleviating the pain and fear associated with the retirement income security crisis.

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