The “great blessing” of not being able to retire, and dying in the workplace

On the Fox Business Network yesterday, in a conversation about how nearly one-in-four Americans now believe that they’ll have to work right up until the point of death, without ever being able to retire, the following was said by Donald Luskin, CEO of a company called Trendmacro, and author of the e-book I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It.

According to recent polling, the only way Donald Trump will win in 2020 is if he can convince American voters that the election is a referendum on Socialism, and I understand why that is. I get that ours is a culture that values the heroic ideal of unfettered individualism [“Innovators Building the World”], and looks with suspicion at those who, instead, advocate for the greater collective good [“Villainous Parasites Destroying It”], but I really don’t see how fear of Socialism alone can carry an election where the other side is actually saying that we should be happy for the opportunity to work until the day that we clutch at our hearts for the last time and fall over dead. If that’s the alternative to Socialism, I think I’d pick Socialism every fucking time… I don’t want my kids to have the “opportunity” to work in coal mines, I don’t want to experience the exhilarating “freedom” of living without health care, and I don’t want my parents to enjoy the “blessing” of not being able to experience even a year of retirement before they die. And I really don’t think that I’m alone.

Here, if you’ve yet to see it, is footage of Luskin making the case for dying at 83, hunched over a machine on a factory floor.

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  1. Jean Henry
    Posted July 8, 2019 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    So will we be forced to work forever or not have work because of the robot future?

    I’m so confused.

  2. Eel
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I think the robots would rather have us do the work.

  3. John Brown
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Up next: a report on unemployed millennials living in mom’s basement because grandpa refuses to leave the workforce…..

    Clueless white guy 1%er translated : “why would I retire? Other clueless 1%ers give me shit tons of money for saying stupid shit perpetuating income inequality. I mean how hard is that? Isn’t that everyone’s experience?”

    They’re gonna get a revolution if they don’t have their robot army ready in time to cull the poor…..

  4. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Aloha JH, “So will we be forced to work forever or not have work because of the robot future? I’m so confused.” You think that one reality precludes the other? Robots are expensive. Just like in my businesses I have only been able to capitalize them by using 20, 30 and even 50 year old technology. The Robotic revolution will eliminate all the high value added jobs leaving only the marginally profitable jobs for human labor (at least for a while). When they brought the robots into Buick City (mid 90’s), there were over 12,000 workers. 6 years later 3,000.
    I’m old enough to have experienced almost all that capitalism offers working folks. Had my widow maker while working, 18 months ago. If not for a close friend who got me to St. Joe’s emergency room, I would be no more. 5 stents latter and you guys get the benefit of my years of experience.

  5. TeacherPatti
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Other than the Greatest Generation and Boomers, has anyone really ever retired? Way back when you died too early. Then you might have stopped doing the heavy lifting on the farm but I don’t think people really considered it “retiring.”

    There are so many things that I feel like will only be had by the Boomers (second homes, cottages, etc) and I am afraid this is one of them :( Please don’t misunderstand–I think EVERYONE should get the joy of idleness and relaxation! I sort of consider my summers my “retirement” but I think unless you are a teacher or you married rich, you’re out of luck.

    Updated to add: Now I’m down the rabbit hole of the history of retirement. This is interesting! It seemed to be a thing to provide pensions for people in the military but it was Industrialization/Depression that got the idea going in the US.

  6. Demetrius
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of an article I saw a few years ago, and that I began sharing with friends – asking each: “Do you think this is for real, or an Onion-style parody?”

  7. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Aloha, Comment from another grey beard work place heart attack survivor (I love modern medicine), while sitting barefoot watching his backyard garden grow he sent the following,
    “I don’t miss that chemical plant at all
    glad I lived to tell the tale”

    Work place heart attacks are not just for us old grey beards. I did a delivery business, most who do the work are much younger. In 5 years there were 3 folks who I interacted with daily or every other day who died from heart attacks. One bread guy was barely 40.

    They say the killers of today (heart attacks, strokes, cancer) are primarily a result of “life style” choices. Meat clogs up your cardio system. Being sedentary, obesity, smoking is a big one as well, but…Very few of us choose a high stress life style. Stress is as much if not a greater causal factor as the others. One of the reasons why low income and working folks experience higher mortality rates than the “better folks”. Income insecurity is a great stress producer.

  8. John Galt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I’d rather die at 94, with my heart exploding as my sweat and blood flows over a drill press, than in soup line like a retirement-loving, America-hating Democrat.

  9. Lynne
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Some people hate the idea of socialism so much, they would rather die than vote for socialized medicine. Some people so hate the idea of others getting benefits that they would rather gut social security than retire well themselves. Trump knows it and is going to exploit it during the next election.

    I was just reading a book about this that is pretty good. It is called Dying of Whiteness

  10. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, Two more pieces of good news. 1) Not since we elected JFK has Americans been so pro-left.

    2) Over one million separate living human beings contributed to the Sanders campaign in the last quarter. Biden’s, Warren’s and Harris’s individual contributors combined do not equal one million.

    Us leftist are constantly being told buck up and vote for the moderate centrist. Moderate’s need to start getting used to the reality that if they are honest about “any Democrat” is better than Trump, they are going to be voting for Bernie.

  11. EOS
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Why do you always see the glass as half empty? 3 out of 4 individuals have planned appropriately and will be able to retire from work and spend their golden years pursuing the leisure activities of their choice.

    And those who failed to plan for their retirement will be able to collect Social Security at age 62, live in subsidized housing where the rent won’t exceed 20% of their income, and obtain medical care using medicare benefits.

    If a person has not been able to work, they collect SSDI and have a red, white, and blue card for medical needs. This includes those persons who can’t work because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

    How much more should the taxpayers provide?

  12. Anonymous
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I do agree with Demetrius’ parody point, that successful people (as defined as having significant societal impact) are rarely well rounded in the sense that is generally used (meaning average in every way). Successful people are also rarely happy people, at least not for very long periods of time, and it is their dissatisfaction with the status quo that leads to changes in the status quo.

  13. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Aloha EOS, I’m glad you are on board with protecting our basic safety net for seniors. But we have substantially dismantled the safety net for most under the age of 62. In answer to your question
    “How much more should the taxpayers provide?”
    Basic universal health care for every human in the US jurisdiction.
    A return to Aid for Families with Dependent Children
    A public education through at least an Associate degree or technical certification.
    The rebuilding of a renewable/sustainable energy infrastructure.
    Investment in bio-regenerative agriculture

    Of course all these things could be accomplished with the savings from our endless wars. Hell even the plutocrats would probably get to keep their tax cuts with the savings from the wars.

  14. EOS
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    So where do you draw the line? Free education, government run farms, free healthcare for anyone within our borders…

    Why not free housing in the neighborhood of choice? Free health club memberships? Free utilities? Free cars?

    Will the individual need to purchase anything or will we lose all ability to purchase according to our preferences and be forced to learn to accept whatever gruel is being served?

  15. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Aloha EOS, “government run farms,” don’t know where you pulled that out from. Just read yesterday how Trump gave Michigan farmers multi-millions of dollars. I wonder what you think of crop insurance or cooperative extension services. The US Government has been in the business of shoring up our agricultural sector for generations. Just like the subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. We are just talking about redirecting resources. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  16. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 9, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Been looking forward to not retiring, just so I can die in front of my students. Woot.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    My kids came up with a great word to describe the super wealthy families we saw in Palm Beach on vacation. Ameristocracy. Since we don’t have aristocracy. History of founding fathers and all that. I guess they were paying attention in history class.

  18. iRobert
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I like how on Fox every segment is a…

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