Mudcat Café message #3033010 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #133576   Message #3033010
Posted By: Genie
15-Nov-10 - 05:53 PM
Thread Name: BS: Should Obama Run in '12???
Subject: RE: BS: Should Obama Run in '12???
Those statistics about people living longer are easily misunderstood and often used to justify policies that don't follow from the demographics.

People are "living longer" for various reasons, not all of which mean people's productive work life is greater than before.

Some of the increase reflects lower death rates across the age spectrum, including infancy, due to infectuous diseases, etc.   Those increases in average longevity don't mean a 60-year-old today is likely to live much longer today than s/he would have been in 1950.

Some of the increase is also due to medical advances and social programs that keep the frail elderly from dying as early or as often from things like malnutrition, lack of health care, lack of home heating etc. A lot of the elderly in nursing homes today would not last long without that round-the-clock care, and programs like Meals On Wheels and home heating assistance also save the lives of low-income elderly people who live at home.   There are a lot of people today who live well beyond their "employable" years and that adds to the extended average lifespan but not necessarily to the extended working lifespan.

60 may be the new 50, but it doesn't necessarily mean that 70 is the new 60 or 80 is the new 70.   There are many occupations that require physical strength, agility, and endurance such that even people in their early 60s are at a real disadvantage.    Add to that the fact that even very competent and experienced workers today are met with strong age discrimination in hiring, even when they are in their 40s or 50s.   If you can't draw Social Security until 70, there's a good chance you're going to use up your IRA funds, unemployment, etc. well before then and have to rely on "welfare" programs such as food stamps.

Another drawback to raising the retirement age to 70 is that it would inflate our unemployment numbers.   The earlier the older generation retires, the more jobs open for the younger ones.   

Medicare is a different issue, and it does need adjustments to address fraud and make the system more efficient.   Of course, if we had a single-payer system like Canada or some other democratic countries, a lot of the $ that now is wasted in our overall health care system could be but to better use.