We all know the real-life retirement picture for Americans is quite different than theridiculouscaricatureof old catsliving “in gated communities and driv(ing) their Lexus to the Perkins restaurant to get the AARP discount”. This “greedy geezer” myth so frequently proferred by some in Washington, makes for good newspaper copy but of course bears noresemblance to the frightening reality facing millions of seniors who’ve seen their retirement savings decimated, their home values plummet and face new threats of cuts to Social Security through raising the retirement age, means testing or countless other ways.That’s why we were especially glad to find a CNN piece that actually took the time to step outside the confines of Washington deficit-mania to ask a simple question: Why did you take Social Security early?While the answers don’t surprise us because we talk to seniors each and every day…these answers certainly don’t fit the greedy geezer mythology promoted by so-called “deficit hawks” looking for away to pay for years of failed borrow and spend policies that have absolutely nothing to do with Social Security.Here is just a sampling of the comments. We really recommend you read the entire piece:

We’ve been dutifully searching for employment to no avail?We both are in good health and have 80 years of experience between us to offer. Although we each have a pension and some 401(k) funds, we have to start taking Social Security in order to make ends meet. It deeply saddens us to be in this position, but we have no choice. Paul Henderson, 62At age 62, I was laid off from my job? I see no jobs on the horizon for anyone, let alone someone of my age. Still, I’m looking. Elaine Armstrong, 63That was just the beginning as I found myself in the world of age discrimination. Even though I had years of tech work for companies like Sony, Microsoft, etc. I was unable to get work. Then in 2005, my wife’s company decided to shut down her office. It took her 5 years to get a part-time job! Daniel Ryan, 63