Monday, March 20, 2006

Commentary: Raising Social Security Age Wrong Response to Longer Lives

William Saletan, who covers science and technology for Slate, responds to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report on aging with its bad news that we are living longer and its good news that we are staying healthy longer by challenging "the intuitive remedy is to raise the retirement age [for Social Security benefits] well beyond the measly increases currently scheduled."

According to Saletan, inequality in how individuals age means that age is a bad proxy for disability, which is a good proxy for need, and that "abolishing age as a standard of fitness would be fairer than simply raising the eligibility age." In addition, he notes that in encouraging the "young old"--the current, healthier experience of being 65 to 74--to keep working, the ADEA has been effective in rooting out rampant age discrimination. He also points out that U.S. jobs have gotten much less strenuous for 65-year-olds since Social Security was created m 1935.

Source: "Curse of the Young Old" The Washington Post (March 19, 2006)

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