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Friday, 28 September 2012 03:44

David Brooks on raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare:

"Have you looked at 67-year-olds recently? They look the way 40-year-olds used to look."

Comments (12)Add Comment
David Brooks: Less Trees for the Have Nots, More Forest for the Haves
written by Last Mover, September 28, 2012 6:47
From the NYT:

David: Have you looked at 67-year-olds recently? They look the way 40-year-olds used to look. These days we have many people who don’t enter the labor force until they are 22 and then they leave at 64 and die at 85. We can’t sustain a society in which people work for 42 years of their lives and live as dependents or non-workers for 43 years of their lives.


Brooks can't understand that (some) 67-year-olds look like 40-year-olds because of advances in productivity, the same way he doesn't understand that a 42-year working life can sustain a total lifespan of 85 years for the same reason.

Miraculously however, in the phony zero sum world fashioned by Brooks, he has no trouble at all ignoring entirely how the upper class stripped productivity gains from labor in every way imaginable for the last 40 years coupled with economic rents siphoned off to concentrate their wealth, then declaring that to resolve the shrinking economic pie left for the masses in zero sum fashion, caps must be placed on SS benefits along with a parade of other austerian cuts.

Have you looked at the defenders of upper class wealth lately? They look like laborers of the middle class used to look 40 years ago.
Not stupid offensive
written by Jennifer, September 28, 2012 8:56
This is not stupid this is outright offensive. Of course there are very healthy 67 year-olds, but it is not the average. I never considered journalism a careeer but that was before I realized you could just make things up. In fact if anything medicare should be expanded to 60 at least--the middle-aged just-below Medicare demographic has been hit really hard by the recession, and they frequently has no insurance, just when real health issues begin to kick in. I believe there may be some studies to suggest this could be cost effective, and that limiting coverage to 67 and above will actually cost more. Of course why look at research when you can write what conforms to your world view? Also a general plan for achieving universal healthcare coverage is to gradually expand the age medicare covers.
...
written by Kat, September 28, 2012 10:38
The full quote is this: These days we have many people who don’t enter the labor force until they are 22 and then they leave at 64 and die at 85. We can’t sustain a society in which people work for 42 years of their lives and live as dependents or non-workers for 43 years of their lives.
So it looks like the pre-K set is part of that deadbeat dependent class too.
...
written by PeonInChief, September 28, 2012 12:14
But the majority don't live to 85. What happens to the kid who starts working part-time at 15 and then dies at, say, 69 or 70. That kid has paid a lot of money, but isn't going to see most of it. And that's much more likely than the children of the elite that Brooks knows.
...
written by Aaron, September 28, 2012 12:39
There's a greeter I see at a local big box store who is very clearly in chronic pain. You can see it in his face, his movements. He's pretty cheerful, all things considered, but he appears caught between being too "able bodied" to be considered disabled and too disabled to do work that would earn him a better income.

Funny, though, as I recall Brooks is younger than he looks. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/...n-he-looks
...
written by Cascadian, September 28, 2012 2:18
I don't really think people look much younger than they used to. If there has been a change, it's that fewer people smoke and tan in recent decades, which tend to prematurely age people.

Also, Mr. Brooks might be ignoring the effect that as one ages, everyone looks subjectively younger, because you compare vs. your gradually aging peer group and that image staring back from the mirror. Now that I'm in my 40s, most recent college graduates look like (my current memory of) middle school kids. If I was as old and out of touch as David Brooks, just about anyone would look young by comparison.
Pundits
written by Donald Pretari, September 28, 2012 4:42
David Brooks specializes in Overgeneralization and Off The Arse Remarks. "Have you looked at 67-year-olds recently? They look the way 40-year-olds used to look." This is the kind of remark I'd expect to hear from a slightly inebriated drinker at a bar. What's he doing? Stopping people on the street and guessing their age.
brooks-the ultimate dummy
written by mel in oregon, September 28, 2012 7:46
yes 60 is the new 80 as people struggle financially so brooks can continue to write his drivel. maybe if you're wealthy & can go to the spa all the time & eat nutritious food. heck, daddy left you a fortune, so you don't work. but for most americans it's a far different story.
Give the old man a break, he is old and bold
written by Nassim Sabba, September 29, 2012 3:02
The first thing to go is usually your eyes. You start to fail seeing details and sooner and later with such people they start to hallucinate. Unfortunately a lot of people are not aware of that syndrome and are afraid to express their visual hallucinations because many, even in the medical professions would mis-diagnose them. They are otherwise pretty health. (See couple of lectures by Oliver Sacks on TED).
So, David is bold, the symptoms are clear he suffers from the Charles Bonnet Syndrome of harmless hallucinations (from his previous articles) and in this article he shows his lack of visual acuity (He can't see my &*%^ing wrinkles) which is the other half of the symptoms for proper diagnosis of Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
I wish NYTime would offer a better PRIVATE health insurance so that this man would be able to get help with his eye sight (and sight in general) by seeing a talented neurologist and neuro-psychologist. Then he would, firstly see himself in the mirror for what he is, and also, stop the hallucinations.
At least he is reaching out for help with his symptoms through his articles.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome
written by Nassim Sabba, September 29, 2012 4:01
Mr. Brooks does not require "data", certainly not from the real world
written by Matt, September 29, 2012 6:57
Good points by all above regarding the retirement age - but ultimately all irrelevant. Mr. Brooks is not looking to argue from "data", he's already decided what the conclusion should be (retirement benefits should be slashed) and columns like this one merely serve to try to convince the segment of the population that's wealthy enough to benefit from Romney's plans but still has some glimmer of a conscience.

In short, he's reaching out to them to say, "It's OK if you vote based solely on your own self-interest: look at how young all the retirees are, they don't need you to worry about them!"
Apparently David's never been in a Walmart
written by db, October 01, 2012 11:39
...because Walmarts are chockablock with elderly employees needing to supplement their meagre incomes. You see them driving their wheelchairs, etc. working as greeters. It's not pretty. Clowns like Brooks want Americans (but not himself) to literally work themselves to death. There may be 67 yo's who look like 40 yos (and just try to prove that one Dave)but 67 still suffer the ailments of age and every additional year makes them LESS able to work at pace.
But David the jackhole doesn't know this because Walmart is too plebian for him to notice.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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