Raising Retirement Age Hurts the Working Class

But 'political elites' in white-collar jobs think nothing of it: Ezra Klein
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2015 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – When it comes to shoring up Social Security, "establishment Washington" thinks a key part of the solution is a no-brainer: raise the retirement age, writes Ezra Klein at Vox. After all, goes the argument, Americans are living longer, so it's only logical to push it back to age 68 or so. "But there's another way to look at the eagerness of political elites to raise the retirement age: as an expression of the vast chasm of class privilege that separates political Washington from the rest of the country," writes Klein. For one thing, while it's true that Americans in general are living longer, that applies far more to richer Americans than to poorer ones.

And poorer Americans are often stuck in physically demanding blue-collar jobs that wear on a body in its 60s. Meanwhile, the white-collar politicians proposing the hike in retirement age think it's no big deal because they're in the "live to work" camp as opposed to the "work to live" camp, writes Klein. Not everyone has the luxury. (One vocal advocate, former Sen. Alan Simpson, is now 83.) Other options exist to fix Social Security, such as eliminating the cap on payroll taxes that fund it. Of course, that's not as popular among the powers-that-be because it would affect only those who make $118,500 or more a year—in other words, it would affect the powers-that-be. Click for Klein's full column.

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