Not Everyone Has Seen the Same Gain in Life Expectancy

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Monday, 11 March 2013 05:05

The Post has a nice piece pointing out the disparities in life expectancy by income. As a result of these differences, proposals to raise the age of Social Security eligibility would disproportionately hit lower income workers.

At one point the piece tells readers:

"Advocates of raising the retirement age say only a relative handful of older workers would be harmed and that the vulnerable could be protected by enacting hardship exemptions."

It would have been worth noting that this practice of creating "hardship exemptions" was one of the policies that won Greece much ridicule in recent years. Its social security system allowed workers in many occupations to retire at younger ages. For example hairdressers were allowed to start collecting benefits at age 50, ostensibly because they worked with hazardous chemicals. 

Most countries have been moving away from policies that vary retirement ages by occupation in favor of uniform retirement age. It is striking that we have people in policy positions in the United States that are advocating the old Greek model.