Off the 'cliff'

Get me the president on the phone. Someone find the speaker of the house. We need to get everyone together right away because I have something they absolutely must hear.

My commuting buddy Peter has an idea he thought up on the train platform that could keep us from falling off the “fiscal cliff.” It’s a truly innovative concept in the tradition of the four-day work week, telecommuting and disposable toilet-seat covers.

In America, we love innovation. The problem is that when the big bosses say they want you to “innovate,” it actually means they want you to cut costs and cutting costs means cutting jobs, usually your own.

I’ve known a few supervisors who were assigned important tasks like restructuring, right-sizing and regulating the office thermostat. They were praised for their innovative thinking. They made the company newsletter and were named to the “Innovation Committee” and got the highly coveted Employee of the Month parking space … until the day came when orange cones were blocking the space and they received an email from Human Resources with a Google map directing them to the nearest unemployment office.

That’s what innovation gets you.

Peter’s plan, however, is truly revolutionary. It will solve the unemployment crisis in America and provide jobs for new graduates. It will save our cities and states, along with Social Security and Medicare. It will also add productive years to our lives and keep seniors so active that nursing homes will go out of business.

How could one man on the train platform accomplish what the great minds of Congress and the Obama administration failed to do?

Peter’s plan is pure genius in its simplicity: We lower the retirement age from 66 to 30.

Yes, 30, when you still have your health, your hair and your knees, not to mention your teeth, and can enjoy 15 good years of carousing, travel, golf, bridge, red meat, sunbathing in Boca Raton, and all the things retirees love. In the olden days, before the great recession wiped out our 401(k)s and pension plans, Americans were obsessed with retiring early. With Peter’s plan, we can still live that dream even if we’re broke doing it.

Best of all, you won’t have to worry about financing your senior years because you’ll go back to work at 45 at a higher pay scale. Unfortunately, you’ll have to work until the very end, but this approach will keep your brain active and functioning on all eight cylinders, well maybe six, or quite possibly four.

This plan will also solve the Medicare crisis since you’ll seldom need a doctor between 30 and 45, and when you go back to work you’ll be on the company insurance.

Some of us, myself included, can’t benefit from this groundbreaking concept, largely because 30 has come and gone, not to mention 45, 46 and all the 40s. However, we’re concerned about future generations.

Think about it. This is the same thing our elected congresspersons do. Most of them accomplished nothing significant during their early years so they may as well have been retired. Then they got elected to higher office and still do nothing significant, and now we can’t get them out of office unless we pry them loose with a crowbar or a sex scandal. Many of them will still be collecting taxpayer-funded federal benefits in the afterlife.

So we should follow their patriotic example and email our president, urging him to lower the retirement age to 30, and then head to Boca Raton for 18 holes of golf, a juicy steak and a good sunburn.

 

Joe Pisani may be reached at [email protected].

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