The "American Dream," which is dead, is to work a steady job for four decades or so, buy a house, watch some football, make some pineapple upside-down cake, and then retire at age 65 with a little pension to enjoy your useless time before death. Every single part of that setup is now crumbling to pieces.

You can't find a steady job. If you can, you can barely afford to rent, much less buy. Football and cake will both kill you. Retirement is a pipe dream. What does this all add up to? The fact that these days, turning 65 means "Here is your Wal-Mart greeter training packet. Please familiarize yourself with its contents." From a new US Census report:

In 1990, 12.1 percent of the population 65 years and older was in the labor force, compared with 75.6 percent for 16- to 64-year-olds during that time. By 2010, the labor force participation rate of those 65 years and older had increased to 16.1 percent, a 4.0 percentage point change. For 16- to 64-year-olds, the national labor force participation rate was 74.0 percent in 2010 (1.6 percentage points lower than in 1990). Within the 65 and over population, 65- to 69-year-olds saw the largest change, increasing from 21.8 percent in 1990 to 30.8 percent in 2010, a 9.0 percentage point increase, compared with a 5.0 percentage point increase for 70- to 74-year-olds and a 1.0 percentage point increase for people 75 years and older.

That's number-speak for "lots of old people have to fucking work now." The only upside is that they're taking jobs away from teenagers (who will rob them) (then fill our jails) (paid for by your tax dollars) (then later be released without skills and unable to find employment) (and rob you).

[US Census. Photo: Elliot Brown/ Flickr]