Sunday, July 11, 2010

More On Raising SS Retirement Age To 70



There's just one problem with raising the retirement age as a means of controlling the deficit and/or balancing the budget: raising the Social Security retirement age doesn't change human physiology one bit.

I think it is likely that medical advances have done about all they can to extend the period of human life during which people can effectively work. Even if by some miracle the overwhelming unemployment rate we see now is alleviated, and there are actual useful jobs for those people, when today's 40-year-olds reach 70, they're going to feel just like today's 70-year-olds... we're kidding ourselves if we believe otherwise. Retirement is a physical matter, not just a budgetary matter.

How about pulling back the Reagan/Bush/Bush tax cuts to the obscenely wealthy and using that money instead to allow people to retire no later than they do now? Does anyone else see that as a fair disposition of the matter? There is no intrinsic "right to great wealth"; one can reasonably argue, though, that there is a right to a healthy and moderately comfortable retirement at a reasonable age. If there's a choice between those two... and I'm not at all convinced it's a choice... a civilized society has an obligation to choose a decent retirement for everybody. Yeah, call me a socialist for saying that, if you think name-calling changes anything.

I'm really, really tired of watching America's rich get richer... repeatedly, and at the explicit expense of poor and middle-income Americans... under Republican and Democratic leadership alike. Reagan and Poppy Bush gave the already obscenely wealthy still more obscene tax breaks. Clinton caught a break on a good economy. Baby Bush repeatedly, with the cooperation of a Democratic Congress, handed the already wealthy an unconscionable portion of the nation's wealth (see the Adrianne Appel quote in the banner as I write this), leaving the rest of us worse off even than we were. And Obama, the one we all hoped would set things right... well, don't get me started.

History shows us this inevitably has to end. And the manner of its ending... civilized or through violent revolution... is largely in the hands of our leaders. I hope they choose a civilized course.

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