Social Security

Neoliberalism 3.0: 'more forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings'


That was then. |||

Five weeks ago, in response to my piece about the death of neoliberal contrarianism, Matthew Yglesias countered that "neoliberalism is alive and well" at his home perch of Slate. If that's true you sure couldn't tell by reading Yglesias this month.

Yesterday, to mark May Day, he asked the question "Should We All Become Marxists?" (Partial answer: "Capitalism is looking pretty shabby," and "In summary, I'm not a Marxist. But I worry that political conservatives are going to turn me into one.") And hours before that, Yglesias declared that we need aggressive government intervention to counteract the problem that the world of 401(k)s "basically sucks":

We know roughly how much people need to put away in order to retire with a standard of living they'll be comfortable with. And we definitely know what kind of investment vehicles are most appropriate for middle class savers. And we have abundant evidence that, left to their own devices, a very large share of middle class savers will make the wrong choices. What's more, because of the nature of the right choices it's obvious that the dominant business strategy for vendors of middle class investment products is to dedicate your time and energy to developing and marketing inferior products, since the essence of superior products in this field is that they're less remunerative.

In other words: A disaster. What's needed is a much more forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings, whether that's quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes and more Social Security benefits or something like a Singapore-style system where "private" savings are pooled into a state-run investment fund.

This is now. |||

Setting aside the contested question of what "we know," a major problem with the Social Security model of forced savings, as Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy spelled out in a Reason cover story last year, is that "current workers are indeed paying for current retirees, not for their future selves, which means that as the number of contributors falls, payouts cannot continue at the same rate." And the number of contributors is falling like a rock: "In 1940 there were 159 workers for each beneficiary. Today there are fewer than three."

Because of this fundamental design flaw, the only way to even tread water on payouts, let alone provide the "more Social Security benefits" that Yglesias advocates, is by jacking up taxes. Which will make an already crappy economy crappier, an already low labor-force participation rate lower (thereby reducing still further the number of current workers paying into the system), all while likely increasing the number of people eligible for unemployment or other safety-net benefits from the money-bleeding government. Neat!

You don't have to read ideologically blinkered libertarian magazines to reach similar conclusions. Here's then-President Bill Clinton in his 1999 State of the Union Address:

[B]y 2013, payroll taxes will no longer be sufficient to cover monthly payments. By 2032, the Trust Fund will be exhausted and Social Security will be unable to pay the full benefits older Americans have been promised.

The best way to keep Social Security a rocksolid guarantee is not to make drastic cuts in benefits, not to raise payroll tax rates, not to drain resources from Social Security in the name of saving it. Instead, I propose that we make the historic decision to invest the surplus to save Social Security.

Don't panic. All is well. |||

Needless to say, there are no longer any surpluses to spend, and no amount of wishlist tax hikes will bridge the current chasm between federal government revenue and expenditure, mostly because the latter doubled in nominal terms between 2000 and 2010. So the Clintonian approach is out, and tax hikes are in, and at least some commentators are agitating for more payouts, not less. This is the kind of thing I mean when I keep saying that the economic-policy center of gravity on Planet Liberalism has in recent years moved noticeably to the left.

Certainly, it has become unmoored on this subject from the original thinking of the original neoliberal, Washington Monthly founder Charles Peters. Here's a section from Peters' 1983 "A Neoliberal's Manifesto":

Another way the practical and the idealistic merge in neoliberal thinking is in our attitude toward income maintenance programs like Social Security, welfare, veterans' pensions, and unemployment compensation. We want to eliminate duplication and apply a means test to these programs. They would all become one insurance program against need.

As a practical matter, the country can't afford to spend money on people who don't need it—my aunt who uses her Social Security check to go to Europe or your brother-in-law who uses his unemployment compensation to finance a trip to Florida. And as liberal idealists, we don't think the well-off should be getting money from these programs anyway—every cent we can afford should go to helping those really in need.

So much for that version of liberalism.

Glenn Reynolds makes another important point about the "state-run investment fund" aspect of Yglesian forced savings:

If you want to see a pooled state-run investment fund, look at CalPers. It's going broke amid horribly politicized mismanagement. And state-run pension funds are subject to all sorts of politicized investment decisions that have nothing to do with the interests of the pensioners. At least with 401k plans, the politicians aren't involved — though I sense a political move to change that, too…

More on CalPERS and politicized pension-fund spending in this Reason cover story. For a day-by-day account of CalPERSian economics, I recommend Pension Tsunami. And to see what kind of politics results from retirement statism, look no further than the headline on this call-to-arms from the gang that opposes a Koch Bros. purchase of the Tribune Company: "Tell State Controller John Chiang: CalPERS must act to save the Los Angeles Times."

Yglesias and I debated entitlements, spending, and sequestration politics two months ago on WHYY Philadelphia.


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  1. Resolved: No more entertaining the delusional ramblings of the porcine bootlicker.

    Is the a “second”?

  2. Shorter Yglesias:

    All your money are belong to us.

    1. BS…..! There is no “shorter” Yglesias. There is only a wider Yglesias.

    2. Personal freedom and individual choice really is terminally frightening to these mental cheese puffs, aren’t they?

      1. we’re not all top men, you see

    3. ‘capitalism’ sucks, so the answer is to create a government fund that channels money into the hands of select rich people with political connections. But it’s ok, because we’ll make sure top men will be working on it. top men.

  3. Pensian Tsunami.

    At least you didn’t misspell it “PenisTsunami” and bring T o n y into the fray early?

    1. Thanks. Although I think I’ve coined an interesting new word.

  4. So, Iglesias has finally noticed that our savings rate is abyssmal. I’m going to guess that he’s still one of the Federal Reserve’s cheerleaders in its war on savers, however.

  5. “quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes”

    How could someone write that without laughing?

    1. Art Vandelay| 5.2.13 @ 11:15AM |#
      “quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes”
      How could someone write that without laughing?

      Remember bank-books? Think I can get one from the IRS?

    2. You can if you are functionally retarded, which Yglesias is. He is just profoundly stupid.

      1. I wouldn’t call him stupid, John. But he is, as you say, functionally retarded, as well as morally and ethically bankrupt.

  6. Of course people in America aren’t saving enough money. Yglesias appears to have eaten it all.

    1. That’s a cheap shot.

      I approve, of course.

  7. Why is it the current crop of leftists manage to so precisely combine unrivaled idiocy, boot-licking douchery, and eminent punchability?

    1. Because they know that the freedoms they give away to the state in the form of even more coercion will never have an impact on them. They don’t give a crap about the middle-class – they just want to feel good about themselves for thinking they are helping the middle-class – all in the name of making USA! a nation they can be more proud of.

      Or in short, they are fascists.

  8. And we definitely know what kind of investment vehicles are most appropriate for middle class savers.

    Riddle me this, sad and lonely beard: why has your hero, Mister Bernanke, been engaged in a ruthless campaign to destroy the savings of the nation, and forcibly herding those middle class savers who so deeply worry you into much riskier equity investments?

    Dear Shriek; Nominal prices not same as value. Also, DJIA NOT SAME AS ECONOMY. Thanks for playing.

    1. And if we ‘know’ what kind of investment vehicles work, then why are public pension funds broken?

      1. Well, part of that is the PC “investment strategy” of staying away from profitable but unfashionable equities.

      2. uh, Bush…. and corporate greed… and wall st fat cats…

      3. Because they’re not designed with safeguards to prevent the politicians from going “Ooo – Money!” and raiding the fund. If you take a look, you’ll find a lot of states got into their mess by both “borrowing” from the fund while also shortchanging it on the Employer contribution side. If you look at say, New York ERS, you find that so long as the Comptroller keeps the assembly from plundering the fund, it could run for decades on current assets alone, and requires very little employer contribution. (Our only problem is that for years on end, the employer contribution was $0 and now that it’s gone to non-zero, people contend that the sky is falling despite being a rather small value)

        This isn’t a defense of the ramblings of what’s his name, just an observation that pension funds can be run economically and cheaply, so long as the politicians/company execs can’t steal from it. The one time I voted libertarian was for the comptroller because his fiscal policy was the only one that made sense.

        1. ^ This is a valid point, but I’d argue that someone is always going to have to control where the investments go, and that this person will inevitably use the investments for his own political gain.

          The problem isn’t only people raiding the fund. A lot of the time they invest in terrible investments for political reasons and to help out cronies.

          Look at the California pension mess. The pension fund in LA is invested in the LA times, a ridiculous idea given how much money news papers have begun to lose. There have to be much better investment opportunities than a newspaper. Then, when the Koch brothers try to buy the L.A. Times, the politicians in charge of the fund start trying to use the pension fund as a political chip to halt the sale. They’re basically using the fund to stop the free speech rights of a private citizen.

          I don’t think that problems like that can be resolved given the basic human tendency to seek out power.

          1. We actually sent people to jail for politically motivated investing from the fund.

            I was as shocked as anyone. Corruption and NYS Government are synonyms, but they actually prosecuted abuse within the Comptroller’s office. I think it was part of a move to try to get their claws into the fund proper, but it fell short.

            1. but they actually prosecuted abuse within the Comptroller’s office.

              Wasn’t that then-AG Cuomo as part of his aspirations for higher political office?

              (State AGs and lower-level prosecuters ought to be constitutionally barred from seeking other elective office, but that’s a topic for another thread.)

        2. I think you are totally right about that. But there is no way in hell you could ever keep politicians’ greedy paws off a national pension fund. They robbed the Social Security fund didn’t they?

          1. I don’t think there is a way, accountability and long-term planning seem to be anathemas to the modern political sphere.

            1. I don’t think there is a way, accountability and long-term planning …

              We could always just appoint elected officials for life…then they would own all their decisions…along with everything else.

              1. So True Aristocracy again? Or elective aristocracy?

              2. Don’t we already have quite a few senators/congressmen for life?

                1. That just makes them feel immune to pressures from the constituency, since they’ve become “fixtures”.

                2. Don’t we already have quite a few senators/congressmen for life?

                  Not too mention de facto hereditary rights to seats, or at least the sense of entitlement to said seats?

              3. they would just give themselves lifetime qualified immunity and pass the buck until after they died

          2. Which is one of the many reasons why you have 401ks in the first place, innit?

          3. Even if they didn’t steal it outright, they could always steer it to the “right” investments in green energy, and in companies with well-paying, secure union jobs, to shore up those key components of our future economy and to protect our living standards and indispensable companies, companies that might fail if exposed to the cold, heartless competition of the unrestrained free market.

        3. There is no “employer” contribution. It’s all pretense.

  9. Pensian Tsunami.

    I don’t think we need to worry about being swept away on a giant wave of thoughtful analysis (however appealing that might be to some of us).

  10. why are public pension funds broken?

    Wreckers, duh.

  11. If you come to the conversation ideologically opposed to any state-run old-age savings program, why should anyone trust to your diagnosis or treatment of the alleged problem?

    What are you gonna do when the 401(k) generation starts retiring without adequate savings? Point the moral finger at them and call them losers?

    1. That and point them out to the next generation and say, “See! Don’t do that.”

      1. So the next generation should reinstate stable and robust statist old-age savings programs?

        1. They can reinstate unicorns and fairies, too, since none of those things exist.

        2. How do you “reinstate” that which never existed?

          1. It’s a Tony from Tonyland where thoughts in its head substitute for reality. Kinda like a holodeck.

            Also, sad Tony has a sad.

        3. Tony keeps revealing how poor is his grasp of economics.

          Hey Tony, how about the government just add to everybody’s accounts so that everybody has at least $5,000,000?

          Do you think that will work?

          1. I’d settle for $75K.

    2. What state-run old age savings program are you talking about? We’ve never had anything like that in this country.

      If you think that’s what Social Security is, then there’s the beginning of your ignorance on this issue.

      And since you’re math challenged as well, I’ll point out that the same amount of money flushed away into SS that instead would be invested at a meager 4% rate of return has the potential to make the “average” worker a multimillionaire upon retirement, where as SS provides poverty level income. At best.

      1. This is the problem with SS.

        Im not in favor of a state-run forced savings program, but if one existed, it should fucking work right.

        1. Yes. It could start by actually accumulating assets. But I don’t know how that would ever work without such massive distortions as to invalidate the whole idea.

          1. If they start accumulating assets, you get a fascist economy – since the govt fund manager(s) quickly come to hold the dominant voting position in a bunch of large companies: essentially you’ve recreated nominally private ‘ownership’ of the means of production with the state controlling them.

            It’s treating a hangnail with amputation.

          2. If there is an unpaid WW2 debt, you can just save by buying treasuries. Then sell treasuries again when the BB retires. The problem is that federal spending was just too high, and the blending of the SS income with the rest of taxes masked the extent of the deficit.

        2. It works just fine, and is as efficient and simple a program as a libertarian could hope for. It’s just not funded progressively or robustly enough.

      2. Savings is basically a myth, whoever runs it. Unless you’re saving up actual shit, you’re either speculating that future workers will pay for you because the government demands it, or that they will pay for you because the purchasing power you deferred, as represented by dollars, is still respected by the economy to a similar degree.

        But if there are a shitload of old people with money to spend relative to the tiny amount of young people making stuff, whether the old folk’s money came from Uncle Sam or out of a coffee can in the backyard, then either way it is too much demand chasing not enough stuff.

    3. If you come to the conversation insisting that the state must intervene in everything, why should anyone trust your diagnosis or treatment of the alleged problem?

    4. “What are you gonna do when the 401(k) generation starts retiring without adequate savings? Point the moral finger at them and call them losers?”

      Shithead, what are you suggesting when the ‘state-run’ Ponzi scheme runs out of money?

      1. I like that they don’t have adequate savings because Tony’s policies make saving unattractive, and then us evil libertarians are supposed to feel bad that Tony and his ilk screwed over a bunch of poor people.

        1. I like to think about how much more I’d have for retirement, if 13% of my income, right off the top, wasn’t given to somebody else.

          I also like to think of shoving my thumbs into my own eyes.

        2. Well of course we are supposed to feel bad – it’s not like Tonies actually care about the poor and middle-class, except to the extent they make Tonies feel shameful about the USA! and if only we were just a little less free like Shiny Object Europe then Tonies would feel so much better about themselves.

          Tonies are also sad, sad, sad Tonies.

    5. If you come to the Nuremburg Trials ideologically opposed to state-run crematoriums and gas chambers, why should anyone trust your diagnosis or treatment of the problem?

      Probably best to hire Il Duce to hang the Nazis, is that your cunning plan?

    6. Wouldn’t it be great then if us ideologically opposed people could just opt out of the state-run program?

      1. No, because no man is an island and who would build the roads?

        1. Not even romans built and maintained their own roads – they farmed it out to citizens who maintained them and then collected toll revenue. Particularly lucrative road franchises were rather highly bid.

          1. I love road discussion. The cool thing about the Lincoln Highway is that property owners and private volunteer groups took existing common law dirt roads and improved them so that anybody could drive on them for free. Lincoln ironically spearheaded numerous failed efforts for government subsidization of infrastructure that led to many states amending their constitutions to prohibit tax money to be used for internal improvements.

            1. Given the layout of the roads around where I am, I think that might have been a better idea. Instead of the semi-sensible radial roads which were built before the government. The government built roads are deathtraps beuilt to strangle the city and cut it off from the waterfront. You look at the city and the skyline is mostly stacked interchanges and a few tall towers.

        2. Are fuel taxes still not building roads?

    7. What are you gonna do when the 401(k) generation starts retiring without adequate savings?

      Hand them a pitchfork and a deck of cards with the picture of every prominent Federal Reserve official on them.

    8. They should trust us because we’re not the ones who want to steal their money, or tell them how and when they can invest it, and how and when they can withdraw it, even though all evidence shows they are unable to enforce even a modicum of fiscal restraint.

    9. Tony keeps revealing how poor is his grasp of economics.

      Hey Tony, how about the government just add to everybody’s accounts so that everybody has at least $5,000,000?

      Do you think that will work?

    10. no, Tony. We reach into our own pockets and help them out. The lack of compassion you seem to believe we have is really a projection of your own disgusting moral turpitude.

  12. current workers are indeed paying for current retirees, not for their future selves

    Proper name, begins with “P”.

    1. Subtle, P Brooks, and right on the mark.

  13. lookee here =…..al_service

    statist bitch wants more state-slaves. “because, democracy… we own you”

    oh, ‘libertarians’ can opt out (Ingrates!) … just no free shit for you… like edumacation, healthcare

    really, when does it become more obvious all the ‘free shit’ (dont worry, they still take taxes for your service) is just a piece of cheese in a mousetrap of fucking CONTROL? state needs moar workerz. take them!

    1. Sounds great! Oh wait, I don’t see where he mentioned that we get to opt out of paying for the national service and free shit.

      1. the beast is a She =

        “”All volunteers will serve a minimum of two years and will receive lodging, uniforms, healthcare and food allowances, stipends, and upon completion of their term of service, numerous government incentives tied to performance, to include at least an education debt reduction or an education allowance similar to the GI Bill and other options to support the national service mission, its culture

        Libertarians who don’t want to serve would be ineligible for some government incentives including student loans, to be given upon completion of the term of service.””

        its about one step short of ration cards for eligible ‘citizens’

        1. Libertarians who don’t want to serve would be ineligible for some government incentives including student loans, to be given upon completion of the term of service.””

          But of course they’d still have to pay for these things out of taxes.

          1. And when that punishment isn’t enough to induce people to come and work hard for the collective? She will no doubt be okay with resorting to more extreme measures to get people to comply.

        2. Fuck it, she should just go full Starship Troopers and anybody who doesn’t play doesn’t vote.

          1. How about only net tax payers can vote? This would rule out government employees and contractors and most retirees.

            1. but ROADS.

        3. And when the “volunteers” get bored and don’t show up to work or just say fuck it and go home to their parents what then?

          They have this issue in the military sometimes. And the solution is they send out the police, arrest you and throw you in jail. Not going to work is a criminal offense in the military. It is kind of the only way you can make things work.

          It amazes me that anyone can be this stupid. I guess it comes from spending your life totally sheltered from the real world and living in a fantasy land. If you don’t run it like the military and throw anyone who doesn’t hack it in jail, then you just end up with a holding area of people who are either too lazy to leave or have nowhere else to go. But one this is for sure, no work will ever get done beyond the criminal element within volunteers victimizing each other and anyone unfortunate enough to come into contact with the organization.

          1. “It amazes me that anyone can be this stupid.”

            what part of “retired air force logistics colonel” did you misunderstand?

            1. Did she really think her airman didn’t tell her to go fuck herself out of the kindness of their hearts and not because they didn’t want to go to jail?

              Yeah sadly she probably did.

        4. The Cultural Revolution will work this time! China just had the wrong Top Men running it!

        5. Libertarians who don’t want to serve would be ineligible for some government incentives

          Why doesn’t she just cut to the chase and tell us when we’ll be eligible to leave the camps?

  14. Seems apropos that the debate between Welch and Yglesias took place on a radio station called “WHYYYYYYYYYY?” I have the same reaction to reading Slate.

  15. it’s obvious that the dominant business strategy for vendors of middle class investment products is to dedicate your time and energy to developing and marketing inferior products, since the essence of superior products in this field is that they’re less remunerative.

    Financial Services! an uncompetitve mass of intentional underperformers!

    because investments are obvious, while liberal punditry… the wise few who can explain life to us…

    1. Come on. All you have to do is be an insider and invest in a company that is getting a bunch of green energy subsidies. How hard is that?

  16. Funny how none of these assholes gave a shit about what a bad deal 401Ks supposedly are until the government ran out of money. But surely it wouldn’t be because they want to steal that money. No. Couldn’t be.

    1. Why are they bad deals? This is just the division of labor. I pay someone else to worry about performance.

      Compared to individual stocks, they are a bad deal, but I don’t have the time or inclination to do that level of research and investing. I pick no-load, low-fee funds that have decent returns over time. I can accept the lower comparative return in exchange for my free time now.

      1. Beyond my objections to not having unfettered access to my money, I think they are a great deal. The only time I have ever heard anyone complain about 401Ks is when the stock market tanks and they stop earning returns.

  17. Couldn’t people just be forced to have more kids?

    1. Then the Malthusians will get all riled up again!

    2. That would lower the number of abortion. And we can’t have that. And be honest, most of those kids would be products of the underclass. And liberals want to eliminate those people not encourage them to breed.

      1. It will be like Starfleet, all officers, and no enlisted men (except for a few non-coms).

        1. Someone has to go down to the planet and die.

          1. “Main character, main character, main character and Ensign Redshirt, step onto the disintegration platform and have your xerox copies scout around on the surface.”

      2. But liberals depend on the underclass for votes.

    3. 1. Have more kids
      2. Shorten retirement (by raising age to retire and/or requiring euthanasia at some age)

      Those are the two options.

  18. Tony tony tony tony tony…

    What did you go to college for? Are you an engineer? Are you a social scientist? One of these things is not like the other.

  19. What I wouldn’t give for a world in which a substantial fraction of Reason pieces aren’t responses to Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias articles.

    1. The sad fact is those two deviant retards have a huge soap box. It is distasteful work. But someone has to respond to the stupidity they spew out in the world.

      1. Yeah, but no one takes them seriously. It’s Krugman and Brooks we should be responding to.

      2. Reading Yglesias and the comments that follow his Slate articles provides a window on what the common leftist is thinking. More people read Slate than Reason, so for me it is a better gauge of what many if not most people around me are thinking. What we are up against is not pretty.

  20. This is the problem with people on the left. Everytime their policies don’t work, they just get more extreme.

    Progressivism not working for you? Maybe we should become Marxists.
    Cantral planning not quite working out? It must the the speculators. Shoot a few.
    Price controls causing shortages? Counter revolutionaries and saboteurs! Round them up!

    This is, in fact, the essence of the PROCESS by which socialism devolves into totalitarian hell. Instead of relaxing control they want to tighten it. Ever failure of human beings to OBEY is solved by MORE power, MORE regulation, MORE control.

    1. That is because socialism, like commmunism is based on the idea of central planning. Socialism is just central planning some things. The problem is central planning doesn’t work. So socialism fails because there are things outside of its control. The government owns the car company but people won’t buy the cars because the price is too high because you are paying the workers so much. Okay, lets make it so people have to buy the cars. In socialism, the government provides everyone a small pension but the pension goes broke because you can’t collect enough taxes to pay for it. Well lets just control all pensions so everyone gets one.

      That is how it works in everything. Planning fails because some outside factor prevents it from working so the solution is plan that outside factor.

      1. I just use ‘socialism’ interchangeably with communism, fascism, protectionism, progressivism, and any other kind of statist economic intervention.

        1. That is about right – just different style rides down the same damned highway.

      2. It’s not outside factors that thwart the working of socialism (except in the minds of socialists) its the inherent incentives and disincentives that prevent “ideal” functioning.

        1. That is true. And that is what I meant by “outside factors”. People constantly never act as planners think they should and thus planners always require further and more complete control.

  21. There was a Frontline recently all about retirement savings. The take home message is that 401k’s are bad bad bad, annuities are worse, and it’s just a bunch of mutual fund companies out to screw you. What to do? They gave no actual solutions, but seemed to imply that the old style pension funds are the way to go. Anyway, it’s worth a watch.

  22. Iglesias is a moron and is now likely acting as a troubadour for the CFPB’s desire to nationalize everyone’s 401(k) account to keep the fedgov from starving.

    That said, there really is NO solution to the problem of financing retirement when a large fraction of the population is retired! The money that the retired persons are living off of has to come from somewhere. That’s just as true of 401(k) money as it is SS money. Selling off stocks requires younger buyers just like SS benefits requires younger taxpayers.

  23. Retirement is not a right. It’s a fucking luxury good. And like any other luxury good, if you really want it you have to work hard, save up, and put off present consumption. If you are unwilling to do that, then as most of humanity throughout time has done, you need to have a bunch of kids and treat them right, so that when your feeble old ass can’t hold down a job any more, they’ll take care of you cause they love you.

    1. And because of your moral preoccupation, we’ll have a workforce full of old people living paycheck to paycheck, precluding employment of young people, or old people forced out and living in poverty.

      Or we could just have a safety net in place to take care of the inevitability of old people retiring.

      1. zero sum fallacy

        final grade, remedial logic 001 – F minus

        Please see dean before registering for more classes.

        1. You can’t get out of every argument by declaring poof! market fairy.

          1. Full employment for old people does not mean no room for young people to be employed.

            You’re one of those people who believes there are job hogs, aren’t you?

    2. If you are unwilling to do that, then as most of humanity throughout time has done, you need to have a bunch of kids and treat them right, so that when your feeble old ass can’t hold down a job any more, they’ll take care of you cause they love you.

      Absolutely right, BuSab Agent. My extended family lives in a poor, developing SE Asian country. I have a shitload of older relatives, some well-off, some not so much. Those who saved up enough during their working life live on their own, if they choose. Those who did not or could not save as much live with their kids and/or grandkids. Multigenerational households are very common there (though not always solely because of economics).

      Government intervention is not the answer for everything, and leftists refuse to consider the alternatives.

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