The Nov. 4 column by Robert Samuelson, “Safety net, not subsidy,” included statistics and opinions regarding income disparity between age groups.
As mentioned, the 60-plus age groups likely consist of high earners still working and retirees spending their savings, much of which is withdrawn from tax-deferred individual retirement accounts. Like Social Security, these withdrawals are listed as income, which lacked clarification.
By the early 1970s, it was obvious that Social Security alone was going to be inadequate to maintain a comfortable retirement. Many now-senior citizens who had acquired spending and saving values from parents who lived through the Great Depression limited their spending to supplement their retirement.
Social Security is taxable. Benefits are reduced for those having sufficient income to pay federal income tax. In reality, means testing has been in force for some time, and at age 70, one half of a mandatory IRA withdrawal schedule continues to inflate senior citizen income.
Deferred income resulting from a lifetime of savings and investment growth should not be attributed to one’s current age as income when gathering or quoting statistics.