I am retired and will soon be — well, over 65. So in some ways, I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, I know that we should not raise the retirement age to 70. We should lower the age at which a person becomes eligible for full Social Security to 62 and lower the Medicare eligibility age to 62 as well. The raises that have been made already in Social Security eligibility age are part of the problem with jobs and the economy. There are at least three considerations:
- Older people must work longer because they can’t afford medical insurance, so jobs don’t open up for young people at the entry level.
- People who work longer because they can’t afford medical insurance add to business payroll obligations due to more longevity raises that they receive, so businesses pay more for older workers. In some cases the higher pay is justified because a seasoned experienced worker is worth more than one with less experience. However, depending upon the job and the changes that occur over time in necessary skills and abilities, the reverse may be true. When this happens, a business is caught with either letting a loyal employee go near retirement, which is cruel, or holding on to the employee when a change would be better for business. The employee in such a situation almost always senses the problem, feels like it is time to go, and would choose to retire if he or she could do so and still have an income and medical insurance. This choice is now precluded until the worker is 67.
- People save for retirement and then spend their retirement money when they retire. They spend money on travel, retirement homes, new cars, etc. They support community activities, show up at theatre matinees, volunteer, and help out with the work of their church. They sometimes babysit their grandchildren so their children can go on vacation or to dinner and a show. All of these activities put resources into the economy.
So it would be counterproductive to raise the retirement age, just as it has been in the past. History is a great teacher, and we should listen better in history class.