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STUDY: Being Wealthy Adds 9 More Healthy Years to Your Life

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STUDY Being Wealthy Adds 9 More Healthy Years to Your Life
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By Amelia Hill

Being wealthy adds nine years to healthy life expectancy: a life free from disability and pain, according to transatlantic research.

The 10-year study, conducted across the UK and US, looked at all the social and economic factors behind the reasons why people sink into ill-health as they age.

“We found that socio-economic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy were similar across all ages in England and the US but the biggest socio-economic advantage in both countries and across all age groups was wealth,” said Dr Paola Zaninotto, a professor in epidemiology and healthcare at University College London, which led the research.

Published on Tuesday in the Journal of Gerontology, the data from 10,754 UK adults aged 50 and older, and 14,803 US adults over 50, examined how long people can expect to live free from disabilities and to what extent socio-economic factors play a part.

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study both found that while life expectancy is a useful indicator of health, the quality of life as we age is crucial to determining our health.

“By measuring healthy life expectancy we can get an estimate of the number of years of life spent in favourable states of health or without disability,” said Zaninotto.

“We know that improving both the quality and the quantity of years that individuals are expected to live has implications for public expenditure on health, income, long-term care of older people and work participation and our results suggest that policy makers in both England and the US must make greater efforts into reducing health inequalities,” she added.

In both countries people in the study were divided into groups based on total household wealth. Comparisons were made between the richest and least wealthy groups.

The paper shows that at 50 the wealthiest men in England and the US lived about an additional 31 healthy years, compared with about 22 to 23 years for those in the poorest wealth groups.

Women from the wealthiest groups from the US and England lived around an additional 33 “healthy” years, compared with 24.6 and 24 years from the poorest wealth groups in England the US respectively.

Recent ONS statistics also showed that those aged 65 are seeing their healthy life expectancy increase: since 2009, men in England and Wales aged 65 have gained 31.5 weeks of life and 33.5 weeks of healthy life. Women of the same age have gained 17.4 weeks of life and 23.3 weeks of healthy life over the same period.

But the data also revealed that children born today are likely to spend a larger proportion of their lives in poor health than their grandparents.

They will also benefit from substantially smaller increases in their life expectancy than those born a few years earlier, in the first decade of the 21st century.

In contrast, the proportion of life expected to be spent in good health in the UK has decreased between 2009-11 and 2016-18, from 79.9% to 79.5% for males and from 77.4% to 76.7% for females.

This article’s headline was amended on 20 January 2020 to more accurately reflect the content of the article.
Copyright © 2020 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.

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4 Ways Biden Hopes To Overhaul Social Security

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4 Ways Biden Hopes To Overhaul Social Security

Joe Biden has laid out his plans to overhaul Social Security should he win the election in November. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Biden wants the wealthy to chip in more money, the biggest boost in benefits will go to the lowest earners, and when it’s all said and done, his plan doesn’t save the program from insolvency.

Here are the four main Social Security changes proposed by Joe Biden:

1. Increase Taxes On High Earners

Currently, there is a 12.4% payroll tax on earned income (wages and salaries, not investment income) that goes towards Social Security. It applies to earned income between $0.01 and $137,700 per year. A full 94% of workers fall into this income range, meaning all of their earned income is subject to the payroll tax. For high earners, income above $137,700 per year exempts one from contributing towards the payroll tax. The change proposed by Biden would add a second threshold at $400,000 per year in earned income. Any earned income above $400,000 would again be subject to the 12.4% payroll tax.

Biden’s plan would create a “donut hole” between the $137,700 threshold and the $400,000 threshold, where earned income between these two amounts is still exempt from the payroll tax. But as the payroll tax cap amount increases every year in step with the National Average Wage Index, eventually that donut hole will shrink.

2. Tie The Special Minimum Benefit To The Federal Poverty Line

Currently, the special minimum benefit for lifetime low earners was $886.40 a month. While it won’t affect too many retirees, Biden’s plan would set the special minimum benefit at 125% of the federal poverty line. Last year, 125% of the federal poverty line for an individual was $1,301 a month. So readjusting the benefit to Biden’s proposal would increase the payment by xx%.

3. Increase Benefits For Long-Lived Recipients

Also included in Biden’s plan is an increase in benefits for long-lived Americans.
For the most part, certain expenses like healthcare increase dramatically as we age. Social Security benefits don’t often increase at the same rate. So seniors who are fortunate enough to enjoy a long life often see their increased expenses outstrip their monthly benefits. Biden has proposed that recipients between ages 78 and 82 get a 1% increase in their primary insurance amount every year until it reaches a 5% overall increase.

4. Change The Inflation Measurement To The CPI-E

Biden’s final change to Social Security would adjust the inflation measurement used to calculate the yearly cost-of-living adjustment from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E).

While 80% of Social Security beneficiaries are seniors, the CPI-W tracks the spending habits of urban and clerical workers.

Biden’s plan would use the CPI-E as the new inflationary tether. The CPI-E specifically tracks the spending habits of households with persons aged 62 and up, allowing the program to make more accurate cost-of-living adjustments each year.

Biden’s proposals would face a significant challenge as it would require 60 senators voting in favor to get legislation passed. It’s not exactly easy to get bipartisan support for the changes when Republicans have no interest in raising taxes on wealthy individuals. Additionally, increasing taxes on high earners won’t save the Social Security program from insolvency, it will just delay it a few years.

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Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal

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Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is the latest Democrat to throw their support behind the ridiculous idea that housing should be free

During an appearance yesterday, Biden said he agrees with “forgiving” both mortgage and rent payments. He says this as the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic and 38 million Americans are without a job.

“There should be rent forgiveness and there should be mortgage forgiveness now in the middle of this crisis. Not paid later, forgiveness. It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.” said Biden

Tara Raghuveer, housing campaign director at People’s Action, a political network devoted to grassroots organizing, aired her opinion. She said, “The tenant is the most vulnerable person in the economy right now.”

She added, “The alternative to not canceling the rent is complete bottoming out of the market. And tens of millions of people literally never financially recovering from this moment.”

Calls for Housing Relief

Biden’s call for rent and mortgage relief echoes efforts by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar introduced legislation that would bar landlords and lenders from collecting monthly payments. It would also impose late fees “through the duration of the pandemic.”

Under Omar’s plan, renters and mortgage borrowers who skip payments wouldn’t need to pay back anything once the rent and mortgage forgiveness policy ended. And any lender or landlord who violated the plan would face penalties.

Correctly, housing industry experts point out that allowing renters to skip payments also needs to consider the consequences of the landlords not being able to pay their own mortgages on the property.

“If multifamily landlords, particularly the small mom and pop landlords who own just maybe one to four units can’t make their mortgage payments and can’t stay in business, those are affordable units that are going to be lost to the private market,” said Flora Arabo, the national senior director of state and local policy at Enterprise Community Partners.

“Rent forgiveness without rental subsidies could be pretty catastrophic for tenants,” Arabo said.

Omar’s plan addresses these concerns, supporters say. It does so because it creates a fund for landlords and lenders so that they could recoup any losses.

Not surprisingly, Raghuveer’s organization, People’s Action, worked with Omar in drafting the bill. The organization threw in more stipulations for landlords to collect those funds. These include providing information on their revenues, refraining from discrimination based on the source of income, and other tenant protections.

Biden’s Impact

Biden’s support for the rent and mortgage forgiveness plans doesn’t really mean much. However, the biggest problem with these free housing proposals is that they demonize landlords. They let the tenants immediately skip payments, but force the landlords to deal with bureaucracy and red tape to receive relief funds.

According to the Census Bureau, individual investors own nearly 75% of our nation’s rental units, not massive corporations. Those mom and pop landlords likely aren’t any more sophisticated than their tenants. They would also find themselves in the same dire financial situation should they lose the ability to collect rent.

Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, said in a recent interview, “Rent cancellation proposals do not adequately address the problem and fail to recognize that many property owners are in the same dire situation as their residents — substantial loss of income amid ongoing financial obligations.”

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Entertainment Companies and Retailers Could Face Mass Extinction

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Entertainment Companies and Retailers Could Face Mass Extinction

Whether or not the country decides to enact official lockdown measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus, some cities like Los Angeles New York City are taking their own measures to try and halt the spread.

Mayors in both cities ordered bars to close and restaurants to only offer take-out and delivery services.

On top of that, movie theaters and concert venues in both cities have been ordered to close.

How other cities handle the coronavirus outbreak remains to be seen, but it’s clear that any business that relies on people gathering in one place could face a serious survival threat in the coming weeks and months.

Here are a few industries and businesses that could face extinction in the coming months if the coronavirus outbreak become a full on pandemic here in the US:

Entertainment companies

The first ones to come to mind are theater companies if the order to close becomes widespread. The largest two are Cinemark (NYSE: CNK), AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC). Also consider National CineMedia (NASDAQ: NCMI) which runs all the ads you see before a movie.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities says “There is a genuine concern that [coronavirus] will limit theatrical attendance globally, whether driven by theater closures or fear of contamination.”

Also look at financial pressure being put on companies in the food and entertainment space like Dave & Buster’s (NASDAQ: PLAY).

Particularly vulnerable could be Diversified Restaurant Holdings (NASDAQCM: SAUC), which operates 64 Buffalo Wild Wings Franchises. With restaurants forced to shut down, the company could focus more on take-out orders for it’s popular wings and appetizers. 

However, with nearly every major sports league shut down, including the upcoming NCAA March Madness tournament, there’s little need for large orders of wings to feed family and friends at home.

Retailers

Most vulnerable could be the already struggling retailers like Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ: ASNA) which owns brands like Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant.

JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) has managed to hold on a lot longer than many predicted, but this latest blow could be the final one for the company originally founded in 1913. The company’s footprint is now so small that any drop in business due to shoppers staying away could be fatal.

The last retailer is GNC (NYSE: GNC), the seller of supplements and vitamins. This one might be a “beating a dead horse” type of investment as the share price has already plunged from 98% in the last five years. But there’s never any foot traffic in the stores despite near-permanent sales and discounts, so this could be the final straw.

On the other side of the coin, if there are quarantine efforts put into place, it’s clear that a vast majority of Americans will simply double or triple their orders from Amazon for all their purchases. We will also likely see viewing time on Netflix soar. 

Also expect a massive uptick in business for delivery companies like GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB).

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