Sixty-five is the magic age, the age when most people can retire. But they don't retire, just resting on their owns laurels. From the moment they turn 65, retirees can start drawing on their Social Security.

This is absurd.

I realize that Social Security may be one of the most volatile and important political issues right now, and that there's a very heated debate surrounding it. I just don't get what all the fuss is about.

There's a fairly simple and extremely logical solution that will fix Social Security, which is now running deficits. 

My plans starts with a simple question: Why are we still letting people retire and get social security benefits at 65? 

Sure, that was great back in 1940 when the social security checks started being mailed out every month, but is anyone actually going to suggest that we should still let people get social security when they're only 65?

Here are the hard, indisputable numbers. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 1940, when the Social Security checks were first mailed, the average life expectancy was less than 64 years.  This means that your average Joe wasn't drawing on social security, because he didn't live to be 65.

Fast forward 71 years. The latest statistics show that today's life expectancy is 78 years. On average, a 65-year-old today will live for 18.6 years on Social Security.

That means we're paying for two decades of Social Security for the average retiree. This is nonsensical.

My suggestion is simple and effective. Sixty-five-year-olds will be able to retire on Social Security now. Sixty-four-year-olds would have to wait until they're 66; 63-year-olds couldn't retire until they're 67. Continue the graduated retirement age on down the line until you get to fifty-year-olds, who wouldn't be able to receive Social Security until they're 80, which is about the life expectancy right now.

Of course, in 30 years, when all of the 50-year-olds turn 80, the life expectancy will be even higher, so we'll have to continue to raise the retirement age.

By the time I start thinking about retiring, the Social Security cutoff will probably be near 90-years-old. If I get my way on this plan, I'll have to keep working until I'm nearly a century old. And I look forward to it.

I know a lot of people who are close to retirement will hate this idea, because it will make them work longer than they would have otherwise. But really, what's there to be mad about? All I'm asking is that they produce for several more years than they would have otherwise. Is that such a radical demand?

I'm tired of people, who are soon to be eligible for retiring with Social Security, griping when politicians try to find a solution to fix our nation's debt problem by raising the retirement age for Social Security.

They may not think it's right or fair to make them retire later than their predecessors. But I don't care what people think is right or fair regarding their Social Security. What "right" means to most people in this situation is more in their bank account compliments of other people.

Eventually we have to start putting our own wants aside, and get realistic, especially when we're dealing with a bankrupt program like Social Security and $14 trillion in national debt.

It would be a nice, rosy world if everyone could retire at 65, and live the rest of their lives without a financial worry, entirely dependent on Social Security.

But that's not a reality that we can afford to live out. We are bankrupt. And outside of ending Social Security completely - which I'm a fan of, by the way - retiring a few years later than you expected may be the only way to fix the problem.

Are you willing to work longer, so you, and those who come after you, can still get Social Security? On the issue of Social Security that's the trillion dollar question. 

Don't get mad at me for my solution to the Social Security problem; get mad at the idiots who started Social Security in the first place.

2 Response to 'It's time to raise the Social Security retirement age to 80'

  1. Anonymous Said,'> July 14, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    I do not disagree with the intent of your article. However, it is important to note several things.

    (1) Social Security has run a surplus from 1983 through 2009. During that time period, Social Security collected more in taxes that it payed out. In 2010, that changed. In 2010, Social Security ran a deficit of $49 billion, IF you do not count the interest it is collecting from Treasuries that it holds. If you do count the interest Social Security is collecting from Treasuries, then it will be 2022 when Social Security runs a true deficit. At that point in time, Social Security will start to dip into the principal, and finally run out of money in 2036. Thereafter benefits drop to 75% of what they would be otherwise and Social Security is back in balance.

    These dates vary every single year the Trustees release their report. They will not be exactly accurate, but they should be close enough to give you a good idea of what is coming and when.


    (2) The time one can draw Social Security benefits changes with when you are born. It is not age 65 for everyone.

    Normal Retirement Age
    1937 : 65
    1938 : 65 and 2 months
    1939 : 65 and 4 months
    1940 : 65 and 6 months
    1941 : 65 and 8 months
    1942 : 65 and 10 months
    1943-54 : 66
    1955 : 66 and 2 months
    1956 : 66 and 4 months
    1957 : 66 and 6 months
    1958 : 66 and 8 months
    1959 : 66 and 10 months
    1960+ : 67


    (3) Those making more than $106,800 in 2011 are not fully taxed by Social Security.


    Therefore, there are several solutions to the problem. First, one could raise the retirement age. Your solution for raising the retirement age is a bit aggressive for me, but I agree with its intent. Second, one could end the Social Security tax break on those making more than $106,800. Third, one could means-test the benefits Social Security pays out. The rich would receive less because they need it less. Fourth, one could raise the Social Security taxes. Fifth, one could cut benefits. Sixth, one could axe the entire program. Of course, not all of these are politically viable options.

    Personally, I like raising the retirement age and having all Americans should pay their fair share of taxes. Why should a person making more than $106,800 be exempt from paying the full Social Security tax?


  2. MrArming Said,'> July 14, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Both Elijah and the response make good sense. Unfortunately even touching SS raises the hypocrisy of the conservatives (ie Tea Party) who say " cut spending" but then turnaround and say "as long as it doesn't touch my benefits". Not dealing with Social Security makes all other spending cuts irrelevant. Prediction for the future, conservatives will come around to supporting tax increases ON THE WORKING youth as more older voters retire. The political power will shift and to keep them happy (benefits intact) taxes will have to go up on groups that are earning money.


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