Don't Take the 'Gold' Out of Americans' Golden Years

And why is retirement reform taboo?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2008 3:30 PM CST
Sixty-eight-year-old Barb Blume arranges yarn at the Mosaic Yarn Studio July 26, 2002 in Des Plaines, Ilinois. Blume is a retired nurse who turned her hobby of knitting into a second career.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Snow White’s dwarf pals are so happy to go to work that they sing about it, “and they’re 71 years old,” writes Irwin Stelzer of the Weekly Standard. “So why do so many of us less vertically disadvantaged worry about” extending the retirement age? Average life expectancy at 65 has jumped from 77 to 87 since Social Security was established, but the retirement age hasn’t budged.

Most jobs have also become less physically demanding now that technology takes care of most really back-breaking chores. That’s why 22% of men over the age of 65 still work, despite tax incentives to stay home. So why should raising the retirement age cause a backlash? “Unlike many other countries,” Stelzer argues, “America is a place where people like to work.”