Make 70 the New 65

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It’s time for a 21st-century retirement age.  If 40 is the new 20 and 50 is the new 30, why shouldn’t 70 be the new 65? The last time Washington politicians tinkered ever so gingerly with the government-sanctioned retirement age, Ronald Reagan was in office and Generation X-ers were all in diapers. Since then, American life expectancy has increased by half a decade and continues to rise — while the “traditional” retirement age (established eight decades ago) has only recently begun phasing up to 67 and the official “early” retirement age (established four decades ago) remains stuck at 62.

There is simply no good reason 21st-century workers should operate under obsolete 1930s-era expectations and 1970s rules. We’re living longer, working longer and, in general, holding down jobs that are far less physically taxing than those of previous generations.

The reasons we should update these relics of our teetering federal entitlement programs are myriad. Demographic, actuarial and fiscal realities demand it. As powerless blue-ribbon entitlement reform panels have warned for years, the number of younger workers supporting Social Security beneficiaries is dwindling. It’s a global phenomenon. The Economist magazine reports that, based on declining fertility rates, “by 2050 there will be just 2.6 American workers supporting each pensioner and the figures for France, Germany and Italy will be 1.9, 1.6 and 1.5 respectively.”

This amounts to a budget-busting wealth transfer scheme whose lousy “investments” cannot be sustained unless basic structural reforms are made. Shared sacrifice means that every able-bodied worker — including federal employees and elected officials — must get with the times. Americans can no longer feel entitled to some 20 to 30 years of subsidized retirement, often collected over the course of many more years than retirees actually spent paying into the system.

_Raising the traditional and early retirement ages will mean extending workers’ taxable earning years, fueling economic growth and putting a dent in our unfunded-liabilities crisis by delaying payouts. Some senior citizens’ lobbying groups fret that today’s workforce wouldn’t be able to handle longer careers.

Tell that to Betty White or Joan Rivers or Helen Mirren.

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  • Jim

    Who is going to hire these old folks so that they can work till their 70.
    Fifty year old people can't get jobs
    No one should have to pay for the fraud committed committed by the banksters especially not the elderly. and the poor.
    With thinking that defends only the rich and blames tho poor for bring poor it will no be long before we infact will have class war fare.

  • Matt

    Sorry Michelle, the U.S. has already decided on its path and reforming Social Security is not on it. As they say, it's the third rail of American politics. And, as you point out, the birth rate is dwindling in our country and others. So, that means we've already made our decision, at least, here in the U.S.. We've decided we NEED massive immigration. You can't touch Social Security, the birth rate is dropping, what else is there? Social Security is a pyramid scam, everyone recognizes that. There's supposed to be a few people at the top (the elderly) supported by a large base and people move up the pyramid as they grow older. This all works fine as long as people are continually brought in at the base. We have a dwindling birth rate and the people at the top of the pyramid are staying there longer and longer. There is only one answer: immigration.

  • kara

    Most industries practice age discrimination in every economic climate. After losing my office job at 50, the only place I could get hired was in discount retail. I was shocked
    to learn that most of my fellow employees over 50 here, have at least bachelor's degrees and lengthy resumes in other fields. This issue is so vastly underrated in its' severity and devastating consequences.

  • tanstaafl

    Fortunately, I can keep writing until I die. (would be nice to earn some money from it) They'll have to pry my cold, dead fingers from my keyboard…….

  • StephenD

    An idea being floated is to have a "cut off" age of say 45 yrs. Anyone under would have their eligible retirement age advanced in months by the same number in yrs. they have until they turn (say 65). A 44 yr old, instead of retiring right at 65 would work another 21 months and retire at 66.7 yrs. Makes sense to me. The system stays solvent. Those already in it are safe. Those about to enter it are safe. Those young enough to adjust to the changes can. I see no better ideas out there.

  • Judahlevi

    The latest full retirement age for social security is 67, not 65. This article is incorrect to even suggest we have a 65 full retirement age for everyone. That it not true.

    I agree with those who state that employment is difficult, if not almost impossible, over the age of 50. We need to hold employers accountable for people over 50 applying and not being hired. That is not happening, however, so the reality is for most older individuals, they cannot keep working until age 70 at good jobs.

    There is also the contract America has made with those hard-working individuals who were promised their turn at retirement at a certain age. By moving that age arbitrarily, we are breaking our promise. Michelle, as much as I respect her, is young and has plenty of time to prepare for a later retirement. Older individuals do not.

  • Cat K

    Come back and reevaluate your views when you are 65, Michelle. See if you can find an employer who will hire you; keep going at a pace that will not get you fired; not require too much medical time off; not require time to care for a sick spouse or parents who are more elderly than yourself. Be realistic. Older emloyees do not have the physical and sometimes mental stamina of younger employees and employers care about that. Age discrimination has also blossomed under obama. First, he prescribed a pill instead of curative treatments. Then, he mocked the idea of unplugging Granny. Now his health care bill with its Ezekial Emmanuel system of denied care for those over 50 will not only unplug but also not allow treatments for curable illnesses that folks over 50 have. So, I forsee more people disabled – for no valid reason but eugenic oreinted socialism- who are much LESS able to work.