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Monday, March 18, 2013

Making A Case For Delayed Retirement

Janice Durflinger poses for a photo at her workplace in Lincoln, Neb., in August 2012. Durflinger is still working at age 76, running computer software programs for a bank. Still, she worries that a higher retirement age would be tough on people with more physically demanding jobs. (Nati Harnik/AP)

Janice Durflinger poses for a photo at her workplace in Lincoln, Neb., in August 2012. Durflinger is still working at age 76, running computer software programs for a bank. Still, she worries that a higher retirement age would be tough on people with more physically demanding jobs. (Nati Harnik/AP)

Economist Eugene Steuerle says that in a study he did for the Urban Institute, he and his colleagues found that people who delay retirement by working just one more year would increase their retirement income by nine percent.

Working an additional five years would raise retirement incomes by more than 50 percent, he said.

And, on average, delaying taking your benefits does not amount to a pay cut, Steuerle said, because of the increase in your benefits and income from delaying retirement.

Steuerle argues that working longer is even more important for poorer workers, because early retirement advantages the rich.

But he says, if we encourage later retirement, we also need to make provisions for people who cannot work longer because of their health or the nature of their work.

Steuerle also says that delaying retirement is good for the economy and creates more jobs for younger workers.

And he says because of our population demographic, there is just a plain economic need for older workers in the work force.

Should we all be working longer as we live longer? And should we raise the eligibility age for retirement benefits? Join the debate on Facebook.


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  • Anita Paul

    How are they going to pay for health insurance.  Poor people have a shorter life expectancy.  How many people even get pensions. 

  • Anita Paul

    What happens to the money people already paid into the system. 

    • Designsiemens

       It was spent years (decades?) ago by the crooks in congress and the whitehouse.  The “lockbox” is full of empty IOUs (aka T-bills) backed by heavily discounted US dollars.

  • Peregrino_05

    People staying on the job longer while younger people start their careers means that there will be even more unemployed.  What happens to jobs for those entering the market if older people stay on longer?  There is not enough jobs for all as it is.  There is a contrary opinion that older people should retire earlier to give room to those on the other end of their working lives.

    • Mike

       Yes, I remember, years ago, older people were encouraged to retire to make jobs available for young people.

  • Greenewin

    In theory this seems practical, but out of touch with reality.  I know numerous people in their 60s that would love to work longer, but were laid off from jobs and have been unable to find employment.  Additionally, jobs are not freed for the younger generations who are struggling to find employment.  

  • Ivanbeggs

    In the 1960′s 20% of retirees took Social Security at 62.  Today that is over 60%.  It is anticipated that in 10 years that will move up to 70%.    Will the early retirement age also be moved up?  

    • DinOregon

      I can understand why the number of people retiring at 62 is increasing. As a 59 year old working in a fast-paced, tech savvy office with lots of young people, I’m struggling to keep up. The stress is enormous. What are my choices? Retire early and live longer with less money, or retire later and enjoy more money for a shorter period of time? What kind of choice is that?

  • Michiganjf

    Wanting to work to 70, or having it mandated, is one thing…

    look around… how many jobs do you see employers giving to 70 year olds???!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/isaac.jones.376 Isaac Jones

    Work longer? Are you kidding? I’m 56, and I can’t find work now!

  • Anita Paul

    This guy used to work AEI.  This is just one of their master plans to destroy the big three.
    People can barely get a job now.  Some of my family members lost their job to downsizing and had to collect their benefits early because it is hard to get a job when your are older. 

  • carolea

    I would love to – and have to – work longer but many of us have been recently on the unemployment lines as companies opt for younger, less experienced (and less expensive) employees. There aren’t a lot of employers keeping their older workers working. I wish it weren’t so.

  • cindyg

    I cannot believe these discussions about delayed retirement. Haven’t any of these so-called “experts” heard of age discrimination?  “You are not the right fit” means that you are too old, and it is hard to prove.  Tell my 62 year old friend who is getting laid off and can’t find another job that she should just keep on working for another several years minimum. How is she supposed to do this when she is no longer the right fit?  Plus, in addition to jobs involving physical labor, many office jobs also are too grueling to keep up at older ages; the impossible fast pace, 100′s of emails per day,  the 24/7 demands; the fact that people now work so many more hours than did our parents. The so called experts who advocate delayed retirement have no idea what regular people go through.  I am amazed at these endless discussions that people simply should work until they are older, as if it is something easily achieveble for the majority, when that simply is not true.

    • Designsiemens

      I  am 56 and have been working for seven years at the same company without ever getting a promotion.  I have had three bosses say they would try to get me a promotion and this last one said he thought I already was at the next job category.  *sigh*.  I get great performance reviews and usually a raise.  I know many people with my skillset in IT and when they lose their job, most do not find another one, or might have to take a huge pay cut.

  • Ralbertsonlegend

    Social Security needs means testing, Billionaires and multi millionaires don’t need benefits. SSI benefits in our economy needs to protect the people who need the benefits the most. We’ve had one of the worst economies since the great depression and the fallout is families losing their homes and jobs and to say they should work longer in a job they wish they had doesn’t help them.

  • Molakes

    My husband is in his 60s and works as an automotive technician. He has worked in labor-intensive positions all of his life. He has severe arthritis in his hands and back. He cannot work that much longer.  His sister has worked at McDonalds for about 30 years. She has health issues related to standing and cooking at the stove over all this time. Anyone that is in physical intensive, poorer income positions cannot work much longer than their early 60s. Recently, there have been published stories in the media that the life expectancy in America might be going down because of life-style issues.  Another issue is that there is only a certain number of jobs available … if we have increased numbers of older workers, that means that there will be fewer jobs available for younger workers coming in. The arguments of the experts for raising the age of social security retirement DO NOT ADD UP!

  • Kjb8

    I see people around me, particularly men, who are in no shape to work the age of 70 without seriously deteriorated health.  Life expectancy may go up to 88- but what kind of quality of life?   I see people working themselves to death- literally.                                 

  • Pat houlden

    I’m in my late 50′s. Employment laws would have to be strengthened. One must be blind to reality and careless with respect to the aged not to propose new labor laws to protect aging workers when raising benefit ages. Those of us in our 50′s we are the first to be layer off or let go when a company downsizes. When we loose our jobs it is almost impossible to be hired to a position equal to our previous level of pay. Your dreaming if you think we are in demand. Give me unemployment statistics to prove your point.

  • Pvbrn

    I hear a lot about the value of older workers, but truth I and my family have experienced is that if your over fifty your job is in jeopardy. And if your unemployed and over fifty good luck finding a job.

  • Anita Paul

    He kinda sounds like Mitt Romney. Just exchange that 47 percent of the people are takers.

    • Designsiemens

       Totally different topic, Anita.  Mitt Romney was, however, 100% right on the 47% of takers.

  • Jander18

    Working for myself, I have job security at 65+. But many of my colleagues face age discrimination in trying to find jobs when they are over 50.

    Most everyone I know celebrated becoming 65 and being assured of affordable health insurance, which for me was the biggest obstacle to being self employed. Raising the age burdens the poor AND the self employed.

    Why is there no discussion of deducting Social Security taxes from every dollar earned by all wage earners, rather than allowing the highly paid to have income above the cap that is not taxed?

    • Designsiemens

       Their benefit is capped, too.  What’s fair is fair.  Perhaps their benefit should be zero if they’re wealthy enough to not need it–another point to consider, but their maximum benefit is a maximum, so their contribution, also, should have a maximum–like everybody else.

  • Previously Employed

    Major employers in high tech have a history of laying off workers of all ages, many in their 50′s and 60′s.  I am one of these and have found it difficult to get a response to job applications, let alone interviews.  Bumping up social security minimum age any higher than it is now adds stress to those of us who will likely never be re-employed and must hold on over the gap until social security benefits begin to ease the financial distress.   

    ps – the anti-older worker bias is made clear at my older employer by scanning their job postings – the large majority are for new college graduates to fill the posts filled by the terminated older workers.

  • maraith

    It is my understanding that Social Security has had a surplus every year since its inception. The surplus was used to buy Treasury bills. Where is that money now?

    • Designsiemens

       Where did you just wake up from?  Social Security has been headed for a fiscal cliff for decades and we are now at the edge.

  • gene marx

    what a joke.  First, of course, what about people who do physical labor?  But, office workers are at just as great a risk of being unemployable at an elderly age.  If you are a 60 year old office worker who looses your job, you are never going to get another job.  The same is true for professionals. If you are an unemployed 60 y.o. lawyer, you are very unlikely to get another job.

    Perhaps the best antecdote is of the ohio highway worker who called into “on point” during his lunch hour.  He said it 98 degrees out.  He was laying an asphalt on a highway.  He was around 45 y.o.  He asked how anyone could think that he would be able to do that work when he was 60.  And what would happen if the social security age to 67 or 70.

    And as I write the spin guest is claiming that many, many businesses want older workers.  See above.  No one in their right mind actually believes this drivel.  If you’re older you’re likely to loose your job; if you’re older and loose your job, you’re very unlikely to get another job.

    And, as this guy well knows, only the wealthy vare living longer.  Those who actually worked for a living are NOT living longer.

    What a typical goverment radio show, failing to either do real questioning or to present any point of view other than these right of center spin dude/ettes.

    And then, the station went right to a fund raiser claiming that goveernment radio presents ALL the news and points of view that you can only get here (or at the Aemrican Enterprise Institute website)

  • gene marx

    what a joke.  First, of course, what about people who do physical labor?  But, office workers are at just as great a risk of being unemployable at an elderly age.  If you are a 60 year old office worker who looses your job, you are never going to get another job.  The same is true for professionals. If you are an unemployed 60 y.o. lawyer, you are very unlikely to get another job.

    Perhaps the best antecdote is of the ohio highway worker who called into “on point” during his lunch hour.  He said it 98 degrees out.  He was laying an asphalt on a highway.  He was around 45 y.o.  He asked how anyone could think that he would be able to do that work when he was 60.  And what would happen if the social security age to 67 or 70.

    And as I write the spin guest is claiming that many, many businesses want older workers.  See above.  No one in their right mind actually believes this drivel.  If you’re older you’re likely to loose your job; if you’re older and loose your job, you’re very unlikely to get another job.

    And, as this guy well knows, only the wealthy vare living longer.  Those who actually worked for a living are NOT living longer.

    What a typical goverment radio show, failing to either do real questioning or to present any point of view other than these right of center spin dude/ettes.

    And then, the station went right to a fund raiser claiming that goveernment radio presents ALL the news and points of view that you can only get here (or at the Aemrican Enterprise Institute website)

    • Robin Y

      Well, we asked about workers who couldn’t work, we said poorer workers with harder jobs are dying younger, we asked about companies not wanting to keep older workers on.
      As to the labor stats, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office the labor supply is expected to expand at “less than half the pace of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, because of the retirement of the boomer generation.”

      Now do I agree with you that Gene Steurerle  view that older workers
      will help fill those jobs is overly optimistic? Yes I do.  Which is why we pointed out the above problems with the thinking.

      All Best

      • LizinOregon

        But you did not mention the latest reports that only the well-off have increasing longevity and the lower income groups, especially women, are going backwards.  Nor did you discuss the lack of insurance if Medicare eligibility is raised and the fact that the CBO estimates this would increase total spending on health care.

        • Robin Y

          you’re right, we only mentioned in passing the worry that
          if eligibility is raised, then older workers will be forced onto medicaid (and I would add, not all the states are expanding their medicaid.)

          Lots of problems to consider! 


          • 65noname

            Yes, but the point is that they are the sort of problems that need to be considered when giving a paltform to the Steurerle/ryan point of view. 

            Why not have someone such as Dean Baker on who is prepared to provide a real debate?

          • 65noname

            And as a final touch today’s Globe (3/25/13) has a main feature article stating that, in fact, long term unemployment for older working people has become an almost catastrophic problem.   When you allow your guests to simply state their ideological positions as if they are factually based, without requiring them to back up their claims with facts, you permit this show to be used for political warfare not political discussion.  And in this case you allowed a political spin dude to simply spin out his agenda as if it was a science-based economic plan to improve the finances of elder people.

      • 65noname

        Yes, but you let him simply make conclusionary responses.  You didn’t ask him to verify his conclusions.  And it is not enough to simply say that they will make provisions, etc for people who can’t work.  The history of those safety nets is not good.  And despite the rhetoric, in fact, it is very, very difficult to qualify for those sort of safety net disability benefits and they are constantly being cut.  Not to mention that it often takes years to get the government to determine that an applicant is eligible, time that a low income elderly person doesn’t have.

        the fact is that these guys always say their intention is to provide a safety net.  After all, they aren’t going to admit that they intend to allow people to starve or suffer because they don’t have health benefits.  But they’re  never asked to explain exactly what they are going to provide.  Or how. 

        As for hiring older persons, the demographics might or might not mean that they will need more elderly working people.  But that is an iffy prospect and someone who has worked for a lifetime shouldn’t have depend on the vageries of the employment market in order to have an income. 

        There is also the fact that many, many more office like jobs will be going overseas.  Should your or my grandmother reach 65 and have to suddenly be facing these sort of problems?  And without health  insurance since these sort of jobs often don’t pay health insurance?  Or provide sick days?

        And, why not ask him to demonstrate how moresocial security  a person gets by retiring later.  Some people have found that they would have live to approximately 100 y.o. in order to recoup the benefits that they gave up by retiring later.

        In any case, I appreciate that you actually read and respond to comments, even mean spirited ones like mine.

  • Marcia

    I’m 59 and I am likely to never retire as I have no 401K to fall back on, a business loss, foreclosure and bankruptcy in 2007 have sealed my fate.  However, starting “over” at this age is difficult.  Finding a job when you are over 50 is far from easy.  Despite your experience, age is not valued in this country.  Comments posted here support that.  I spent a year as an AmeriCorps eeking out an income counseling over 50 year old unemployed graduate students.  These people  went back to school at an advanced age, for a degree to advance their careers only to find they are no more employable since the economic downturn than they were had they not gone back to school.  These people now face unemployment with HUGE school loans at an age when they will likely never be able to pay those loans down, much less off. 

    Retiring later works out well for people who are in professional white collar jobs, but as Robin pointed out, some physically challenging jobs may not allow older workers to continue.  I have had to re-evaluate what I apply for as I do not have the stamina nor physical strength to do some of the things I once did.   Try as I might, I’m just not as strong as I once was.

    Spending a years in AmeriCorps did help me get back into the nonprofit field I enjoy.  However, I’d spent three years applying, interviewing, and volunteering trying to get my foot back in the door.  When you walk into an interview and everyone around the table could be your child, it is rare that you will walk out with the job, especially if it is middle management or even entry level job.  In my field,  I compete against 20-30 somethings….even the over 30 set find it difficult to get their foot in the door.  So I’m left with picking up whatever I can find, often that’s a low paying retail job (that’s all I could find for three years).  There, being on my feet for 8 hours didn’t work real well.  I got the shifts no one else wanted.  I even had employers tell me they didn’t feel I could “handle” the work at “my age”.  I had to prove myself over and over.  I’m tired of proving myself.  The fact that I have no choice but to work as long as I can is disappointing.  To know that I will have no choice in the matter to draw benefits, should I need to retire is even more disappointing. 

    • http://www.midtownFestival.org/ John Chatterton

       Going back to college, with loans, at a later age is a cruel joke on workers looking to enhance their skills, but who might end up still being unemployed. I’d rather work for myself than someone else, but of course starting a business also requires capital — though the biggest amount of capital is time, which less-employed people have more of. Would you rather make $30 an hour working for yourself, or $10 an hour working for someone else, who can lay you off? Some say that not everyone is capable of starting a business, but I think part of it is a mindset. We do what we have to when the economy is in a downturn.

  • Psabin

    Did you know that medicare is taken out of your social security benefits?

  • Lucas B

    I have previously made arguments in line with today’s guest that since life expectancies are on the rise, the one solution that truly is fair and makes sense is to raise the Social Security retirement age. But recently I found out how the vast majority of life expectancy increases have only gone to thee earthy while the poor have seen very little increase in life expectancy. So given this, isn’t raising the retirement age for SS still unfair to the poor? They lead often physically trying lives, for example working menial hard labor jobs that take a real toll on their bodies, meanwhile the wealthy who often work in posh offices, never needing to physically lift a finger. It’s those who lead the sheltered work life and make good money (and likely have other retirement resources in addition to SS) who get most of the increases in life expectancy. And in turn, the poorer laborers are forced to work longer. Just a perspective I recently realized that forced me to change my thinking on forcing higher retirement ages.

  • gene marx

    to allow this guy to get away with his claim that there is a good job market for older people without asking him to prove it is unbelievable, simply unbelievable.  But typical

  • Timothycmg

    I am a bit shocked at the figures Mr. Steuerle is using to justify delayed retirement. The current life expectancy as of 2011 for those in the US is 78.37 years with early retirement available at just over 65. Let’s first stipulate that men have a shorter life span than women, thus significantly affecting this calculation. That means an average time perion of collecting benefits of 18.37 years if you opt to take Social Security at 65 ish. Unless I missheard Mr. Steuerle, He wanted to round life expectancy to 85 years. That is indeed quite a rounding up. Let’s also not forget that presumptions of life expectancy continuing to rise are not necessarily fact, and given trends in obiesity and cancer rates, we could see these increases level off in the coming decade. Collecting benifits for 25 years on average is not only not the norm now, it is not likely to become the norm in the future, nor should it if we as a nation are being responsible in managing the SSI system. It was never designed around delivering benefits for an average of 25 years. The presumption that we need an ever increasing labor force runs contrary to trends in productivity and automation that suggest that the industrialized nations will actually see a decline in the need for labor over the next 25 years as automation contunues to displace workers.

  • Galinda47

    I plan to work until age 681/2, and I got a new job at age 65  (in health care).  I was not eligible to contribute to Social Security because I lived overseas for 20 years, so I need to work longer to get my payout up to cover at least half my expenses.  I also help support one of my children.

    More employers are hiring older people.  It’s worth getting training in your 50s in fields where employers can’t find enough workers.  For most temporary or contract jobs, age also matters less.  You do have to be willing to drive farther or move to where the jobs are.

  • Pawpawwine

    This report is an good example of careless reporting.   Speaking for social security, for one, I’ve been on the web site and run the numbers.   Retiring (as in not working any longer) at age 62 and doing that at age 66 (my normal retirement age) makes very little difference in my monthly income.   What DOES make a big difference is when I start to draw from my retirement.   This report didn’t draw any distinction between these two events.   Shame on you – this a careless reporting!!

  • Izzy_43

    As far as delaying retirement 2 comments: 1). A person who has lost their job in these economic times has trouble even finding a job in this economy. I know I have experienced such & I’m only in my late 50s. What then? 2). Is it true the US Government “dips” into these entitlement accounts & spends the money on other things? If so-that needs to stop!

    • Designsiemens

       Too late to complain now Izzy.  You should have raised your voice 20 or 30 years ago.  The money is spent and GONE!

  • Raoul Ornelas

    I love this topic. Why, because the interviewee does not tell the snake oil part of the sell. 
    If one is in the $150,000 bracket or more and he or she are prudent savers early retirement may be prudent. This is the snake oil part: If one retires at 65 years of age has a fair retirement plan from his company or is a state retiree who was lives in a state that opted out of Social Security (like Alaska) one is forced to select a stock market option for his or her retirement. However if one is not astute in playing the market or does not have inside information; when it comes for retirement time one could easily be broke with a miniscule pension that won’t buy a bag of groceries or pay the rent or mortgage on one’s home.  Now if one also worked a period of time and contributed to Social Security his or her retirement will be based not on the quarters he paid into, but on how much he is getting from his state or private retirement program which knocks the hell out of one’s Social Security check. Here is another kicker: If one for some reason needs to or wishes to withdraw funds from his or her retirement account, the government takes 20% off the top before the money is distributed (fair enough…. sort of) At years end ones monthly pension which is already taxed at around 20% every month is added to the gross amount of the funds one withdrew (already taxed as mentioned at 20%) from his or her retirement account is combined at years end to his or her taxed pension for a “THIRD TAX”. This third tax is based on the combined amount which places one into a higher tax bracket for the third tax he or she may not be able to pay because his retirement pension is not enough to pay this third tax. Third Snake Oil secret: If one  resides in a state where one is required to pay a state income tax, this tax is now based on the the above scenario above. In short, one’s retirement account does not belong to him or her. So one is paying at years end (according to the above scenario) around 30% or more and Mitt Romney is paying 9% (if that) and banking his money in the Cayman Islands! 
    Unless one is in the $250,000 class or above or if ones has a position on Wall Street where a bonus at years end that could take care of a person and his family for the rest of their lives from just one or two years of work, retirement at any age for those in the bottom tier of wages earned and saved for retirement is a Republican cruel joke. The tax code is set up for the well to do who are able to take maximum deductions they do not need. This is the reason Republicans and wealthy Democrats talk about reforming the tax code but do nothing to make the change. Why should they, they created the goose that laid the golden egg for them; this is one of the main reason the gulf between the have and have nots keeps growing (like health care charges) out of control. 
    Actuaries are geniuses this is why they earn so much and this is why people like John Boehner/Eric Cantor/Paul Ryan love these people. They know that the chances of not attaining 65 years for men (for sure) is on their side. Therefore, they are hedging on a scenario that will not affect their huge bank accounts via fair taxation,  plus, they know that robots are replacing middle class workers at all levels of work (even white collar workers) because robots do not wear out for hundreds of years and don’t need healthcare. The problem with these interviews, for the most part, is they let the interviewee who is really a skilled salesman, driving the debate and the interviewer, who in most cases is unable to stay abreast of the math that is unless one is interviewing Paul Ryan who is still unable to add 2+2.

  • Stein in Louisville, KY

    raising the retirement age is ridiculous and heartless.  i am 37 – i have worked since i was 13 part time, full time since 17, much of that time with two jobs.  there is a social contract in SS and Medicare, we were promised terms, and paid our share.  now they want to raise the age????  c’mon, why don’t we stop paying for jet fighters, nukes and foreign aid, and instead actually take care of our own people?!  just because people LIVE longer, does not mean they should have to work longer – the toll on the body is the SAME.  we do not have a budget/money crisis – we have a crisis of wasted overspending on defense, OFFENSE (wars) and tax cuts for corporations and the most wealthy.  this disgusts me.

    Thanks,  Stein in Louisville.

  • Dave

    I know that I tend to forget a lot of things, however, I  DO remember having money taken out of my paychecks.  Why is this now thought of as some sort of gift that is being given to me?

    • Designsiemens

       Gift?  I think the word you’re searching for is “entitlement”.  Yes, you contributed your whole life–a very small percent of income and it used to be even smaller.

      Your withdrawals quickly outstrip all of your deposits–with interest.  This only takes a few years and then you are receiving someone else’s paycheck to live on–a younger person.

  • Amalovrh

    Myself and many others like me in my early 60′s have been forced out. The demand for older workers is a myth – unless you mean cheap labor. Working until 66 or 70 is not an option for most of us. What do the studies show?

  • Guest

    I’d like to see the statistics on people who already work longer.  Most older people I know, like my parents and inlaws are still working at 65-75 and have no plans of retiring.  More people are hanging on to their jobs longer if they have them.  Additionally, I don’t know how common this is, but older people who are medicare eligible continue working and drop their company health insurance because medicare is less expensive. I don’t really see the point of this study, seems like it would make little difference.

  • http://www.midtownFestival.org/ John Chatterton

    I went on Social Security at 66 and get a decent monthly check due to a period of good employment in my 40s – 50s. I also own an income-producing house, which helps me get by. Rather than rest on my laurels, I continue with my true-love career as a theatre producer. I’ve been producing theatre festivals in NYC since 2000, which actually make money, though the income is variable and uncertain. As I get less physically active, I hire people to do things for me, though they also make me money. Am I working in my retirement, or retiring so I can follow my dream, while still making money? Beats me, though it works for me!

  • Alex R

    They may not have as much capacity for long hours, but a lot of older people are already working longer out of necessity. That is, assuming they’ve retained a job through the recession and aren’t now having a hard time getting re-employed. But I like the idea of factoring in health. If someone has a chronic condition, that should be factored into any “means testing” for getting full social security earlier than an upwardly-revised age.

  • Stormyj

    Any study done on the number of jobs that cannot be done -physically -after 55-60?
    PLEASE  explain why people …stop paying into social security after their income/pay raises above 100,000 ? ? ? ?
       What would change if everyone paid into the fund ? Some only pay into the fund for 6 months , some even less !  And    WHY    should a multi millionaire even  collect ? ? ?

  • ms-saint

    My husband – now 56 and in the paper industry – has lost his job three times in the last 10 years. Every time it takes longer to find another one. I don’t believe that employers find the older employee more valuable, but more expensive. More than salaries, it is the higher insurance premiums that will occur due to having older employees in your workforce. Extending the retirement age makes it more likely, if he loses his job again, that we will be living on our savings (again).

  • TritonOcean

    Why not just raise the cap on the income that is taxed for social security? I think currently only the first $113K or so of someone’s earnings is taxed. Raise it to 200K.
    Seems an easy fix. What’s the problem?

  • InterestedPerson

    This economist seems to let his ideology  run his conclusions, rather than reality:
    younger workers can’t get jobs, the “skill gap” in WI has been noted to be false:  there are
    3-4 unemployed welders, for example, for evey job.  If older workers stay in the jobs that
    exist, younger workers will continue to be forced into unskilled jobs they are over qualified for:  most entry level jobs now have BA qualified people.  I quit fulltime work
    at a “desk job” as psychotherapist because employer would not allow part time work,
    and I knew the stress of increased demand for “billable hours” at the cost of the clients’
    needs was stress that would shorten my life span.
    Plus the speaker did not address the fact that you may work 5 years longer and your life expectancy might be statistically 87 years….but no one knows how that fits your life
    span as an individual.

  • mark case

    What about people that collect disability? Are they going to have a higher standard of mental health or what in firms a person .

  • Ockitaris

    We would not have any trouble with retirement if our economy was based on meeting the  
    People’s needs insted of making rich men richer.

  • InterestedPerson

    Means testing for Social Security will doom its existence completely.  That it is a universal benefit has kept it popular, until recent deceitful rhetoric about its “solvency”.  Look at what is happening to entitlement programs…gerrymandered Republicans are willing to
    go as far as limit fire protection to those who pay a tax in Tennessee.  The narrow construction of what makes a society work so limits protection of even the most obvious
    social connections.

  • Wheels

    Did the guest just sugget that older workers who are concerned about having to work longer are being a bit selfish? Half of America doesn’t work right now, yet some are suggesting our older workers are doing enough?

    And spare me the name-calling. I am not a right-winger

  • philrho

    Good show but many of us have spouses that have passed away. How do we find out if their Social Security earnings can be given to the surviving spouse so they can plan their retirement?

  • philrho

    Can the government encourage private companies to retain or hire older new workers to keep the older workers contributing taxes rather than receiving taxes paid by others? Many less physically demanding jobs that can be done by older works are taken by young, healthy workers with strong bodies. Isn’t the efficient solution to match the best workers to the best jobs they can perform?

  • http://www.facebook.com/neal.grose Roy Neal Grose

    As a dairy farmer, it is unlikely that I will be able to afford to retire until I’m 70. At the same time, I feel very strongly that we need to protect disability…also because I am more likely to NEED that disability. Let’s couple this with raising the cap on Social Secirity tax.

  • LizinOregon

    The next time you have a discussion that revolves around the generation war meme that has served Pete Petersen so well, including the data in the report sited here would provide more balance for your listeners.


    It really is just a matter or priorities and not a zero-sum game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/buttereye Carol Southern

    I have one point: You are assuming that there is a job for everyone who wants one!

  • Katherine Williams

    Due to age-related cognitive impairment, you need to consider the needs of elders who work at professional jobs which they really can’t do very well anymore, even if they do want to continue working, and even if they aren’t the stereotype of poor workers working at heavy labor. I was fired at age 65 from a professional health care job. In general I had good performance reviews, but I had made several very serious mistakes, considered impaired judgment related, which made the clinic I worked for see me as too much of a liability and fire me.  I couldn’t sue because I had made the mistakes. Fortunately, no permanent injury resulted from these mistakes, and so far there have been no malpractice lawsuits, but I was lucky and so was my clinic. I had worked for this clinic for 7 years. There is no way, given this job history, I could get another job in my field. I contributed generously to causes and friends through the years (including public radio), and haven’t saved what I could have saved. If social security is withdrawn, I am out of luck because I doubt I could get disability for the level of cognitive impairment I apparently have.  

  • Strytllr

    What about raising the amount of wage that is subject to social tax to something like 250k or even 500k if not more. Also if a person works at a job that is hard on his body then they can be allowed to come in earlier ie 65 y.o. Also if a person is laid off or fired and cannot get similar or substantial employment then they too can enter the system earlier. 
    When be in power who nver quit or get laid off from their jobs, i.e. CEO’s , Congress, Supreme Court Judges, are left to make policy for others then I don’t think that they are rooted in reality of everyday folks. Someone from low or middle income backgrounds should be required to to apart of policy making and legislation just like we are required to serve on juries. That sort of input is invaluable. Short of that we need to constantly be in contact with our elected official and advocate groups that represent the interest of the worker.

  • Cmdg

    I see that many others had the same response to this segment that I did. (Out of work at 64, one year of unemployment with absolutely no responses to job application–female, highly educated, good work history). So I opted for Soc. Sec. at 65–not much choice. It’s true, Robin, that you asked those questions, but the overall message was still one of optimism. So at odds with so many people’s experience of late. I’m freelancing from home now, which at least lets me take a break to listen to your show, which is the best part of the day. :-)

  • DWoody

    The theory of delaying retirement overlooks several items of reality. 
    1) Obviously the person suggesting this has never worked for a company that laid off all its older workers because they drive up the company’s cost of health insurance, plus they can get someone younger to work for less per hour and without all those accrued benefits.
    2) Obviously the person hasn’t tried job hunting after the age of 50.
    3) Obviously the person isn’t anticipating performing hard, physical labor up until the age of 70.

  • orusen

    I am sure others have commented that the wealthy live longer on average than the poor. An increase in retirement age for the poor subsidizes the retirement of the wealthy. See attached link from the Social Security Administration:

  • Montana Girl

    It is constantly applied that anyone retiring at Social Security age or on Medicare can afford to live without it.  Same thing with Medicare.  Take this away and there will be more people living on the street and dying of easily cured medical problems.  These people are saying that anyone not saving up for old age is living it up when young or are lazy.  This is not the case.  My saving have been used up by four back surgeries and the high cost of state medical insurance, which was $900 per month and increase each year.

    • DWoody

       It is possible to live on Social Security, but just.  That is until your car won’t pass inspection because it’s rusted out.  Or you have medical expenses that are only partially covered by some kind of insurance.  Or some other unforeseeable pitfall. Then you have to dig into your 401K, unless you already had to cash that in to survive when you were laid off.  And what happens to your 401K when Wall Street pulls the rug out from under you and crashes because the politicians are playing chicken with the federal budget!?!

  • Frickerj

    An absolute sham to think of delaying retirement. The only purposevof this ‘talk’, is hoping people will delay retirement and die off, then the govt keeps the taxes collected over decades without paying back a cent in retirement benefits. Lets talk about the Texas Plan and how good those three counties have it versus the rest of the American workers???

    • Mike42

      wow are you angry.  move to texas or retire when you want to. and take a giant chill pill.

      • 65noname


        Instead of ad hominum attacks how about discussing whether or not his comments are inaccurate.  And if so, how.

        And, yes, there is good reason to be angry given the spin being put forth as genunine poicly discussion and the phoney facts being put out to support a political agenda. 

  • Marcy Prager

    I wanted to work longer, but retired from teaching after having taught for 33.3 years because the retirement benefits were at 80%.  With budget cuts occurring, this benefit could conceivably go down to 70% or lower.  Some states are at 60% for retired teachers.  I took the 80% and sub for a supplement.  There is no such thing as retirement for the middle class.  With inflation, there is no way people could make it on pensions alone.  There are no more “Golden Years” when you can travel and enjoy after a lifetime of working.  The “Golden Years” are just for the rich.

  • Marty Garvey

    I work with salespeople, and in sales, we don’t care how old you are. If you can sell, you will like your job. If you can’t sell, you will quit. It’s that simple. And nobody cares about your age, or you senority in the company, or your ecnomic status, of any other excuse. If you can’t find a job, and you think you relate well to other people, try selling. Sell cars, sell home supplies, sell b2b merchandise, sell anything.  You can find a job in sales! It is not easy work, but if you can do it, it pays VERY well.

  • pigbitinmad

    That is a complete joke.   When I was laid off at 49, I felt like I had a better chance of being blown up by a terrorist, than of actually getting a call back from a job application.   If this is so great for the economy, the government will have to force the corporate scum to actually employ people over the age of 35.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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