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UnRetirement

Excerpts from Confessions of an Old Man

Un-retirement“Americans are too broke to retire”

American politicians proclaim they’ll do everything for the American children and the next generation while robbing their future. The MI generation has been asked to pay for their own retirement as well as for their parents’ and grandparents’. Here is the challenge: more than 60 percent of the MI generation had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts as of 2016. With that reality, how are they supposed to accumulate enough wealth to pay for their retirement, including health-care costs? Even $1 million in personal retirement savings may not be enough.

One million dollars was once considered to be the ultimate amount for a middle-class person to retire on, but that may not suffice for the MI generation. A thirty-two-year-old millennial planning to retire at age sixty-seven with $1 million in savings will generate less than $19,000 per year in income after adjusting for inflation, which will place him below the poverty line.

The choice millennials will have is to work for the rest of their lives for a corporation that will offer them health-care benefits or to die poor. They can also hope that Congress will stop spending money that it does not have so that they can collect full Social Security benefits. In addition to personal savings and retirement funds or company 401(k) plans (in the case of an employee), Social Security benefits are the only other source of retirement income. Those benefits are supplemented by Medicare to partially offset health-care costs…. More

Women Leading the Way

Over the last two decades women in the United States have made great strides toward professional and financial advancement. Women’s role in every aspect of the American life is growing and will play a critical role in shaping the future. Over the last thirty years, women have made up an increasing share of the workforce. Wage inequality is decreasing. Women are projected to surpass men in wages as more of them earn college degrees and their value and contribution to the workplace is more fully acknowledged and appreciated.

Some of the most promising signs are in the following areas:

  • Women account for almost half of the labor force, and they earn 79-cents for every dollar their male counterpart (for the same job) makes and are gaining ground.
  • 50 percent of the law and medical degree earners are women.
  • Contribution of wives’ earnings to family income has increased from 27 percent in 1980 to 37 percent by 2011.
  • Seventy-one percent of women who graduated high school in 2012 enrolled in college following graduation compared to 63 percent in 1994. At the same time, it remained unchanged for men at 61 percent.
  • The number of Fortune 500 women CEOs reached a historic high to 24 in 2014 compared to only one in 1998.
  • Full-time working women contribute more than half of their household income on average compared to 25 percent a generation ago.
  • Women’s median hourly wages increased by 50 percent or more over one generation.
  • A record 108 women (88 in the House and 20 in the Senate), the highest number ever to serve in the 114th Congress as of January 2015, compared to only 11 (10 in the House and 1 in the Senate) in 1970.

There are more self-made women billionaires than before, such as Diane Hendricks of ABC Supply, Jin Sook Chang of Fashion 21, Judy Love of Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, Marian Ilitch of Little Caesars Pizza, and Sara Blakely of Spanx. Some of the more visible women corporate leaders are Sheila Johnson of BET Networks, Mary Barra of General Motors, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi, and Sheri McCoy of Avon Products. These women, and many others, are not only leading the way toward gender equality in the executive boardroom, they are also mentoring the potential future women executives.

Health Care: Anything but Affordable

Excerpts from Confessions of an Old Man

Confessions of an Old Man

“The worst of capitalism and socialism”

Health insurance companies have centralized control of how, when, and where a patient will receive medical services. Hospitals charge whatever they consider to be reasonable, regardless of the outcome. Drug companies maintain a virtual monopoly on prescription drug prices and exercise undue power over lawmakers through lobbying. Even Medicare, the largest buyer of health-care services, cannot negotiate better drug prices. The American public has been conditioned to delegate their personal healthcare decisions to insurance and drug companies, hospitals, and the rest of the health-care providers. Therefore, the health-care discussion is always around access to health insurance rather than the cost of medical care, which makes it anything but affordable.

The bottom line is that members of the MI generation are expected to foot the bill. They are required to pay 1.45 percent in taxes from their wages to cover Medicare costs for senior citizens. However, they may not get quality care when they become old and will really need it. As the father of a cancer-surviving son who is paralyzed, I have seen the best and the worst of the American health-care system. The fundamental issue with the American health-care system lies in the health-care narrative and public discourse.

The American health-care system has morphed into a beast that empowers health insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, doctors, and everyone but the patients. Having health insurance coverage is defined as having access to health care. In the same vein, affordability of health care is translated as having lower-premium health insurance. However, there is no public discourse on the ever-rising cost of medical care that makes health care inaccessible and unaffordable. Medical care costs include hospitals, prescription drugs, doctors, diagnostic tests, and medical malpractice expenses.

Washington keeps on reforming the health-care laws and making the health-care system more complicated rather than focusing on the root cause of the problem: the cost of medical care. The key unanswered question is:

Why are health-care costs continuing to go up at a much higher rate than inflation?More

Jobs and the Economy

The United States had 5.5 million job openings in January 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means employers could not find the right people to hire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 2.3 million computer-related professionals and engineers will be needed by 2022 to meet the demand of the economy and to replace the retiring workforce. There will be a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers by the end of 2015 and Boeing projects more than 550,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed over the next two decades, or about 28,000 per year. That places the skilled and talented labor force in the driver’s seat to ask for higher compensation, which bodes well for the lower and middle class.

Much of this employment gap can be attributed to jobs that require science, technical, and vocational skills to perform newly-created digital jobs. This skill gap is a reflection of disconnection between institutions of higher education and the employers that need to fill those openings, as discussed in Chapter Fourteen.

Companies in Silicon Valley are clamoring for prospective employees by enticing them with perks. At Facebook, employees can pick anything from vending machines (snacks, drinks, computer accessories), are provided three meals a day five days a week, have an onsite barbershop, dry cleaners, and bikes, all at no cost. Not to be outdone, LinkedIn offered unlimited vacation and seventeen paid holidays to its employees starting in November 2015. The discretionary time off (DTO) model allows employees to work with their managers to plan vacation time with no limit to the number of days. In 2015, Amazon started offering twenty weeks of paid time-off for new moms while Netflix offered as much as one year paid leave for new parents. All of these perks are offered without government’s interference or mandates. This shows the power of competition for talents and what a growing economy can do for the middle class.

When middle-class Americans feel secure in their jobs, they can plan on buying new clothes for their kids, a computer, a car, etc. It will then results in demands for additional products, at which point businesses jump in and build the production capacity to sell those products. The net outcome is additional jobs and more economic stability for workers.

Midwest Book Review by D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer

The Middle Class Comeback: Women, Millennials, and Technology Leading the Way

July 7, 2016 – The Middle Class Comeback asks a basic question (is the American dream of entering the middle class truly achievable?) and gathers evidence that entering the middle class is no longer an attainable goal – but the crux of the matter doesn’t stop here.

Munir Moon then focuses on government and the dysfunctional political processes that have lead to this decline and how these may be fixed, reviewing many solid strategies and approaches that create the optimistic hope that the middle class can come back strong. Several factors play into this idea that while the middle class may be under siege, it is not dead, yet.

One is the rising power of women in all segments of society, from business to politics. The second is the rise of technological innovations that demand better efficiency and different approaches to the digital world.

Having laid the framework for possible salvation, The Middle Class Comeback proceeds to define “middle class”, considers new models for reform (from the decentralization of educational process to the rise of political entrepreneurs and the interests of millennials in redefining values systems), and shows how the nation is ripe for sweeping changes that could even reach into political processes and the possibility of an active, viable third party in the election process.

This book argues that not only has the income for the middle-class fallen, but that the cost of education, healthcare, housing, and taxes have increased at a much higher rate, which makes it impossible for an average American family to attain a middle-class lifestyle. For middle class Americans (nearly half of the population) and politically independent citizens (more than 40 percent of Americans), The Middle Class Comeback gives concrete reason for hope and a path forward through continued innovation and political engagement.

As he provides a sweeping history of how social and political processes have traditionally been addressed across the board, Moon notes: “The nation needs a new definition of engagement.” Although in this reference he’s speaking of the military establishment, his entire book reflects that new definition and will prove a refreshing breath of hope to any who question whether the American middle class is truly viable now, or will have a presence in and influence on the future.


http://www.donovansliteraryservices.com/july-2016-issue.html#tmc


http://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/jul_16.htm#donovan

How the Media Controls Politics

The Two Party duopoly has near total control over how the American people view their candidates, with the complicity of the Media when it comes to political debates. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored the presidential debates from 1976 until 1988. In response to both campaigns’ demand to control the questions, the composition of the audience, and hall access for press and others as parts of the presidential debate in 1988, they refused to participate. Their October 3, 1988, press release states: “The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

Journalists should be mindful that politicians need them more than they need politicians. They have the unique and heavy responsibility of keeping us informed under our democratic system which some of them seem to have shirked. Media plays a special role in our system of checks and balances and is considered to be the “fourth estate,” the watchdog for all Americans when it comes to informing the public. Unfortunately, in pursuit of access, they seem to have lost their mission by succumbing to the Beltway Beast and have abrogated their responsibility. Surely, the media has to take some responsibility when:

>> 50% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attack in the run up to the war in Iraq in 2003. Even in 2009, 33% still believed this, despite President Bush’s own assertion that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

>> Nobody seems to know how many Al-Qaeda members there were on 9/12/2001. Were they in the hundreds, thousands, or millions? How many are there now in 2013?

>> Everybody seems to tie the affordability of healthcare to insurance coverage when in reality half of the healthcare costs are hospitals and doctors.

Make a Change

Excerpts from Confessions of an Old Man

Confessions of an Old Man“Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Late Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror” can be taken as a challenge by members of the MI generation to take a look at themselves, take charge of their destiny, and make a change. And they have the power and tools in their hands to do so. They can also make their parents and grandparents help them accomplish that goal. For the first time in American history, millennials will represent the largest segment of eligible voters: 32 percent in 2018 and 34 percent in 2020. Democrats and Republicans, both parties being gravitated toward extreme positions, offer a great opportunity to make a change starting in 2018 and beyond. One can see the frustration of many Americans with the daily grind of working hard and getting nowhere, going through security checks at every high-rise building and airport, waiting in lines at every government office, and forever being on hold when calling a government agency or credit card company. The choice is to make a change or have the federal government take more control over our life.

 

The United States has fought communism and socialism since World War II to promote democracy, freedom, and human rights. However, it now finds itself working toward a socialist order and building a wall. It has a centralized health-care system controlled by the health insurance industry and the government (Medicare and Medicaid). The government decides how Americans behave financially by printing money and dictates how we spend money through the tax code. It is monitoring our emails, phone calls, and physical activities by placing video cameras at virtually every street crossing and in every building. Furthermore, American politicians pick their voters through the gerrymandering process instead of voters getting to pick their leaders.

 

The major impediment to a change and improving the future for the MI generation and the middle class are the two major political parties: Democrats and Republicans. Both parties believe they are the best for the country and that the country will not function without them. There is no room for a third mainstream political party or independent leader in their eyes. Both parties have done and will continue to do everything possible to keep third-party or independent candidates from even running for election. They have total control over who gets nominated for any public office at the state and federal levels.

 

A majority of Americans consider themselves as independent. However, they have no voice in the governing of the country. The bottom line is that both parties are the same when it comes to governing and living off the backs of the MI generation. Both parties’ leaders behave like children and blame one another and everyone but themselves for their failures to govern. Their only interest seems to be getting reelected, instead of serving the people.

 

“So the trillion-dollar question is how do you go about making a change, and what is the road map toward accomplishing that?” ….More

 

Debt & Deficit

We are witnessing a grand, inter-generational Ponzi scheme that’s destined to drown our children and grandchildren in red ink. Our leaders like to call their strategy borrowing, but it is really tantamount to stealing—from our children, worse yet. Why? Because we have no plans to pay the debt. The real irony is that while civilian leaders from both parties insist that our national debt is not an immediate problem, a military man, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, has made the point that the debt is actually a national security threat. In a speech to business executives in September 2011, Mullen declared, “I’ve said many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt.”

The Beltway Beast continues to borrow just to make interest payments that are estimated to be $5 trillion over the next decade. All the while we are doing nothing to pay down the staggering U.S. debt that is projected to reach $25 trillion by 2020 according to the Federal Budget Outlook of 2013 and 2014. Add to that $1 trillion in student loans and the result is a significant amount of money taken out of the economy that could be invested in creating jobs at home.

U.S. Debt

Equally alarming, perhaps even surreal, is that party leaders who can hardly agree on the color of the White House can be found nodding their approval at the fiscal fiction “that deficits don’t matter,” as then-Vice President Dick Cheney told a disbelieving Paul O’Neill, the treasury secretary in George W. Bush’s first term. That was over 10 years ago. Fast forward to President Obama, who told George Stephanopoulos in March 2013 that “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s [the deficit] gonna be in a sustainable place.” House Speaker John Boehner agrees that there is no immediate debt crisis. Neither one of them want to tell us who will pay the mounting U.S. debt.

Confessions of an Old Man – How Millennials are Being Robbed

Confessions of an Old Man – How Millennials are Being Robbed is about how the next generation’s future is being stolen and what can they do about it. The goal of the book is to get Millennials angry enough to actively engage with the American political system and take control of their destiny instead of their future being decided by rich old white men. It is a statement of collective guilt that places the responsibility on my generation, the baby boomers, for dealing a bad card to their children and grandchildren. My generation controls the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidency, so we cannot shirk from the responsibility.

This book describes an array of challenges young Americans face, brought about by the mix of government duplicity and inaction. It starts by defining the MI generation and characterizing its economic and political power in decades to come. It then provides an analysis of adverse impact of student loans, national debt, health-care cost, global warming, and retirement on future generations. The book concludes with a challenge and a road map of a better future for all Americans…more

Table of Contents

  1. The MI Generation: “The MI Generation – An ATM for Congress and the White House”
  2. Stealing from Millennials: “There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money.” President Donald Trump
  3. Profiting from Student Debt: “Uncle Sam borrows at 2 percent and charges students 7 percent interest”
  4. Inequality Everywhere: “The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work.” Comedian George Carlin
  5. Health Care – Anything but Affordable: “The worst of capitalism and socialism”
  6. An Insecure Secured Nation: “How many nuclear bombs does America need to feel secure?”
  7. No Planet, No Jobs: “We cannot survive our way out of climate change denial”
  8. Un-Retirement: “Americans are too broke to retire”
  9. Immigration: “America is not just a country, it’s an idea.” Bono
  10. Divide and Rule: “A permanent feudal class”
  11. Do-Nothing Congress: “It is part of the problem”
  12. Make a Change: “Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Michael Jackson
  13. The Road Map: “Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.” President Obama
  14. NextGen Pledge by House of Representatives
  15. NextGen Pledge by Senators

Book Reviews

“An inspiring, provocative encouragement to younger generations to exercise political clout….the author supplies a surprisingly sober analysis–one that’s consistently reasonable and pragmatic….this is an intelligent call for practical reform….A spirited critique of American politicians’ treatment of younger generations, and a plan of action for youth empowerment.”
Kirkus Review

“Exploring the ways that the baby boomer generation has robbed millennials of future economic stability, Moon uses in-depth research to quickly establish himself as an authority on the subject…. Anyone who is interested in learning a little more about economics, government, the environment, and the implications of the so-called “American Dream” is sure to enjoy Moon’s Confessions of an Old Man.”
San Francisco Book Review (4 stars)

I recommend this book to all who desire imminent change, but I deem it a must-read for Millenials. In his confession, this old man is guaranteed to convince the reader that serious issues can be conquered by working the democratic process–but the people must act.
Manhattan Book Review (5 stars)

If you value your country and the future of our society, and would like our future to be better, then buy this book. If you know someone who wants to learn about new ways of thinking outside the box and tired of the same failed ideas being used over and over that is ruining it for the current (and future) generations, buy this book for that person….Each section gives valuable information, examples and interesting observations that affect everyone. Engaging narrative and well edited, I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a better country now and for its future generations.
Indie Book Reviewers (5 stars)

I recommend this book, “Confessions of an Old Man” to everyone who wants to read a clear, coherent vision of a better future for our country. Mr. Moon does a splendid job of stating his thesis in the beginning and backing it up with clear, coherent arguments throughout the whole book. Highly recommend.”
Sherrie Warner – Barnes & Noble Reviewer (5 stars)

Munir Moon has a great ability to take complex ideas, concepts and put them in the simplest terms for all to understand easily and in a way that we can relate to, no matter if you are a Millennial, or a Baby Boomer, or a Gen X-er….a well-rounded approach to critical thinking and improving the conditions and can improve lives for future generations.”
Stefan Beacher – Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)

“It is inspiring and well-researched – it is clear that the author knows what he’s writing about…Any book that presents solid ideas in a fresh way is worth a read, and I thought it was very eye-opening and inspiring as well.”
Nicole Hastings – Indie Book Reviewers (4-5 stars)

I feel like Munir Moon did a wonderful job of getting his message out and doing so in a very digestible manner. I was unaware of so many things discussed in this book, and I consider myself to be fairly well educated and in touch with current affairs….Recommend for readers of economic and political nonfiction.”
Essiea Harmon – Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers (4-5 stars)

Well-researched and intelligently written, this book is a tool for reflection that everyone with a good conscience should read, a book for those who love the children of America. This book should be perceived as a wake-up call to right the wrongs the generation before this one and the present generation are doing to the future of millennials. It’s a very realistic, prophetic statement about what we’ll leave to those who will come after us.”
Divine Zape – Readers’ Favorite (5 stars)

Other Books by Munir Moon

“A diagnosis of American middle-class woes and a hopeful blueprint for its revival. … It’s a thoughtful, lucid study, and it’s refreshing to see an unflinching discussion of the middle-class difficulties that doesn’t surrender to fatalistic despair. … As a brief primer on the state of the middle class, this is a valuable contribution to public debate. … A sensible, bipartisan analysis of the future of a major segment of American society.”  – Kirkus Reviews

 

“He marshals impressive statistical evidence in favor of his thesis that government aggrandizement has come at the expense of voter power. …he offers a measured,serious diagnosis of today’s political difficulties, coupled with a wealth of provocative potential solutions. …An engaging critique that sees the two-party system as the source of the United States’ political travails.” – Kirkus Reviews