Social Security

How High Can/Should/Will Retirement Age[*] Go?

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[*] For the purposes of Social Security; retirement ages in the private sector should be decided by the individual affected or the company paying same.

Last week, French folks took to the streets when the government threatened to raise the age at which vous could collect public retirement benefits…from 60 years to possibly 61 or even 62! Zut!

The NY Times pulled together a bunch of analysts to answer the question how high can retirement go? Among the respondents is Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist (and economic refugee from the land of Citroen) Veronique de Rugy. Part of her contribution:

Their [Americans 65 years and older] average net worth has increased almost 80 percent over the past 20 years; they form a larger share of the high-income group and a smaller share in lower-income group than their predecessors; they are far better educated, and they live longer and healthier lives….

Social Security's long-term unfunded liabilities have increased drastically and now total over $15 trillion.

The best option [to reform Social Security] is to cut benefits. One way to do that is to raise the age of eligibility to at least 70 and then progressively increase it to track with life expectancy….

Whole thing here.

De Rugy would prefer to kill Social Security outright and/or means-test benefits so that it acts as the safety net program it was intended to be.

The Times forum features a range of voices and can be read here.

There is something truly perverse about any system that takes from the young and relatively poor and gives to the old and relatively rich, which is what Social Security and Medicare do. Indeed, the system is not just economically inefficient but morally bankrupt. It reverses centuries of tradition in which children inherit from their parents. Adding to the insult is that Social Security benefits do not pass on to the next generation, meaning that all that payroll tax money is belong to us (with us being the government). I'm no fan of mandatory savings accounts in the place of payroll taxes but even something like that, which would give all workers something like a 401(k) account that could be passed on, would be far preferable to the current system.

Bonus video: Why de Rugy left France.