This really gets to what I was so inartfully suggesting. Too few of these types of discussions zero in on exactly what the “original purposes” of these programs were - not to mention the extent to which those original purposes resemble their current implementation - or what we currently wish their purposes to be.
Just to take the example I am most familiar with, I am convinced that SS disab is currently relied upon by just about everyone as a general welfare fund, to make up for slashed public health care (especially mental), the slashing of just about every welfare program, and economic stresses. Which might not be all that bad if folk just owned up that that is what they are doing. But if it is supposed to be a DISABILITY program, a hell of a lot more folk should be summarily denied than currently are. JMO.
And so much of disability is one entity attempting to shift liability from one area to another - from unemployment, to medicaid, with a stop off at the VA, clipping past WC and any private insurance…
Social Security’s “original purpose” was established during the Great Depression, and was hugely expanded in subsequent decades when there were pretty much more jobs available than potential workers - including unskilled labor. Neither of those economic conditions reflect the current economic climate.
I readily admit that few employers are going to hire some 50-year-old with a bad back or a history of heart problems - especially if he has a drug conviction on his record or just a bad attitude. But does that economic reality make that person medically disabled - incapable of performing any job? I think not.
As I said upthread, I’m a huge supporter of universal health care. But I’m not at all sure I support unlimited funds being spent for every person - whatever their chances of recovery, whatever their past productivity, or whatever their personal responsibility for their current health condition. So yeah, maybe if you are poor, you don’t get that heart transplant. (Admittedly badly phrased example.) Maybe that sucks, but I don’t see a better - and economically feasible - alternative.
I guess I’m rambling now. Should probably hit delete, but instead I’m going to submit.
Yep. From my researching my family history, in those days if you did not save enough, you ended up living with relatives or went to live in the county home at government expense. Regardless of the fate of SS, I think we are heading back that way since so few people seem to save for retirement. It will be quite a societal change to have ‘boomerang’ parents!
This was not necessarily for a short period of time - a century ago, if you made it to 65, you still lived another 10 to 12 years. These days we can add another 4 to 7 years, depending on sex and race. White males have seen the smallest extension, from 12 to 16 years - but we have already raised retirement age from 65 to 67. So, if we increase it again, it might be hard to justify more than 2 additional years.
Well, no. But no one is suggesting we increase the requirement for a 64.5yo dude to 67. The general idea is to increase it a year or six months (for both Soc Sec and MC) for those under 50, another year for those under 40, and so forth. So, yeah, kids just entering the workforce at age 25 or so might have to wait another 3 years or so. Big deal.
Sigh *…not this old canard again. Let’s see if yet another recitation of easily-discovered facts will dispell this myth once and for all:
The rise in US life expectancy since the 1930’s is due mainly to a large reduction in childhood diseases. A childhood death has no effect on the financing of SS or Medicare, since they never pay in or collect from either program. Rather, “life expectancy at age 65” is the real metric, one which has seen only modest increases since the 1930’s
The growth in “life expectancy at 65” is largely concentrated among high-earner classes. This has been especially true since 1980, when the government effectively began to means-test SS benefits (benefits have been taxed as income starting in 1983, meaning if you were a high earner you lost more of your monthly benefit to taxes).
For SS at least, the original designers anticipated some increase in life expectancy and built it into the original program. Moreover…
(Again for SS at least) The 1983 Greenspan Commission recommended raising the SS payroll tax in order to deal with the future retirement of the large Baby Boom population. This is why we have the SS trust fund–the government has been taking in more than its been paying out on SS for decades, and the plan was to use this money (by cashing in treasury notes) to pay for this. And don’t forget that the commission also raised the full-benefits age to 67 for those born after 1960, so they have increased the eligibility age to account for this event.
No, you should lower the age so that cover starts at birth for everyone.
Finance this by a small additional tax levy which ends up costing the typical wage earner less than their current insurance policy and ensures health care is (effectively) free at the point of delivery and out of the hands of insurance company shennanigans. You’d pay less per head than you do now and get greater coverage.
I know, I know, my wild idealism would never work in the real world would it?
But unlike in the past most people are working at jobs that do not require physical labour but rather at an office. (Ideally rather than automatically raising the retirement age for all, I’d set separate ones say at 67 and 72 for manual and non-manual workers). And realistically speaking the retirement age is probably going to be two years, at most five, it’ll hardly make a difference. Plus I’m not sure how much it is true but sometimes people are said to live longer and be healthier if they find their lives purposeful (such as via a job).
It is too bad we can’t start evaluating people based on their proffession and physical ability. I just retired at 64, I am still very healthy but back injuries, knees and shoulder problems just made it too painful to do the work I was doing any longer as a heavy duty truck mechanic. I really feel sorry for construction workers, climbing and carrying lumber over about 55 can be very tough for some.
Yes, increase the age for Medicare. I suggest one additional year every ten years until 70 and then re-evaluate. In addition I suggest a means test for Social Security itself which should be reasonably generous, something like $1million in assets exclusive of place of residence.
The main reason for resisting an increase in the eligibilty age is the argument made frequently above that everyone does not work in an office and everyone is not necessarily in good health at 65. But that is the case right now when you substitute ages 5 or 10 years lower. Such persons are currently eligible for Medicare through the appeals process in applying for early Social Security and this process should be continued. The future it would seem is going to hold very few labor intensive jobs for our citizens. We are not going to see any 65 year old steel workers or coal miners. These jobs will probably be done by machines and robots.
The fact is there aren’t going to be very many jobs at all, so if you want the government to remain viable we better get control of costs. Universal healthcare would be a great start.
Thanks for the info, CPP - I acknowledge I had assumed life expectancy had increased more. So I retract the word “considerably.” Still, 5 years is 5 years. And there is no magic to the # of years SS is supposed to cover - how long of a retirement we get.
Re: shorter lifespan for poorer people. Well, how much can/should government do to even things out. Out we have later eligibility for women than men? Also, your article posits that smoking explains a significant portion of the difference. I’m not falling all over myself to have greater public funds digging folk out of holes they largely dug themselves. Heck, I think a large portion of public health care should go towards exercise and diet FIRST, before most folk get more than minimal medical care.
But I think it is of limited use to consider individual factors - such as raising the age - in isolation. (Unfortunately, that is what gov’t seems to do best.) Instead, we ought to re-examine exactly what lifestyle we wish to aspire to, and wish our public resources to support. Is it the consumption of goods throughout life instead of saving, so that we are dependent on SS in retirement? Is it a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, so we are unable to work or be hired, and are more dependent on medical care at an earlier age? And what types of jobs do we expect there to be for workers in the future to support what type of lifestyle?
I don’t know the answers - heck, I don’t even know the questions.
So to sum up, raising the age for Medicare doesn’t save that much money (and costs individuals $2 for every dollar the government saves so it’s doubly cruel to those who need it most) and there is no need to raise the age for Social Security because that program is basically financially sound assuming the economy grows and unemployment shrinks.
Or, ignorance supplanted by a different type of ignorance.
IMO, that Mother Jones article warrants some careful reading. I totally agree with the premise that raising the retirement age ought not be “the first and best way of attacking entitlement spending”. IMO no brainers include raising if not eliminating the cap on income subject to withholding, increasing the percentage withheld, and imposing means testing. But I do not agree that raising the retirement age should not be considered as one part of a comprehensive plan.
One set of sentences from the MJ article especialy impressed me:
There are dozens and dozens of better ways to do it. Social Security is quite easy to fix without touching the retirement age: there’s a nice list of options here from the CBO, and you’ll note that raising the retirement age is barely even a blip compared to all the other options.
An impressive amount of smoke and mirrors in those few lines.
The linked article surely does not identify “dozens and dozens” of discrete changes. Instead, they identify 30 variations within 5 general themes. But “dozens and dozens” does sound more improessive. Heck, why not go a couple of decimal places further and we can talk of thousands or millions of alternatives!
And I’m not entirely sure how to quantify “barely even a blip”, not to mention comparing that blip to “all the other options.” Looks to me as though they acknowledge that raising the age to 70 (.3% change) is equal or greater than approx 1/2 of the other options. Further, they say raising it to 68 would yield .1% change, and that .6% is needed. So maybe the optimum response would be to raise the age slightly - IN COMBINATION WITH - various other factors.
A well written persuasive article presenting one point of view, but I feel it ought not be considered the final word.