From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/05/raise-retirement-age-screw-poor
By Kevin Drum
Fri May. 13, 2011
I’ve never been a fan of raising the Social Security retirement age. It’s a blunt instrument mainly favored by journalists and policymakers who don’t plan to retire at age 65 anyway and figure that asking people to work a little bit longer than they used to is no big deal. But people who don’t have white collar jobs quite plainly don’t feel the same way about it, as the skyrocketing number of people who retire early at age 62 demonstrates. We’ve already raised the full retirement age to 67 (this was part of the 1983 Social Security deal put in place by the Greenspan Commission), and I think there are plenty of better ways of bringing Social Security into balance than by raising it yet again.
Aaron Carroll demonstrates this dramatically with the chart below, taken from a paper by Hilary Waldren. As you can see, life expectancy in the top half of the income distribution has indeed risen dramatically over the past few decades. But in the bottom half of the income distribution, it’s barely risen at all.
I want to make it crystal clear what this means, using further data from Waldren’s paper combined with the increase in retirement age that’s already scheduled to take effect. This is for workers in the bottom half of the income distribution:
- If you retired in 1977 at age 65, your life expectancy was 14.8 years.
- If you retired in 2006 at age 65 years and 8 months, your life expectancy was 15.4 years.
- Using a simple linear extrapolation, if you retire in 2025 at age 67, your life expectancy will be 14.9 years.
So that’s it. Over the course of half a century, thanks to the increase in retirement age already scheduled by law1, the poor and the working class will have seen the length of their retirements increase by a grand total of one month. Yippee!
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/05/raise-retirement-age-screw-poor