Some Social Security reformers want to increase the retirement age from age 66, perhaps even to age 70. I don’t think this would work for many, if not most American workers. This cost saving strategy is based on the assumption that increasing the retirement age would cause folks to work longer. I see two problems with this theory.
< First, jobs for older workers are increasingly harder to keep and find. There are plenty of ways to work around laws prohibiting age discrimination. Second, many people work in jobs that are physically demanding. They just wear out and are unable to do these jobs well into their 60’s. Even factory workers can break down from the demands of the job. Eyesight goes, joints wear out, stamina declines, etc. You know what I’m talking about.
The strongest evidence of both of these problems comes from the Social Security Administration itself:
- In 2009, 72 percent of men who filed for Social Security benefits filed before their full retirement age. This is an increase from 58 percent who filed early in 2008.
- In 2009, 75 percent of women filed early compared with 64 percent in 2008.
These statistics strongly suggest that jobs for older workers are just not there. Where will these jobs come from if folks have to work until age 70? Do they expect older Americans to change careers and start working at fast food counters?
Any politician who advocates for an increase in the retirement age needs to address the “where will the jobs come from” problem as well.
You can read more about the issue here.
What do you think about this plan for saving Social Security?