Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wonk Room » Sen. Shelby: Raising The Social Security Retirement Age Is A ‘Positive Thing’

By Pat Garofalo

A number of Republican lawmakers have recently trotted out the reasons that they favor raising the retirement age for Social Security (which is essentially the most regressive change would-be Social Security reformers could make). Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) said he favored increasing it because young people will start living to 100 by “replacing body parts like we do tires,” while Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) said that he simply wants to “correlate your retirement…to life expectancy.”

These reasons for suggesting yet another increase in the retirement age, which was also raised in 1983, are quite bad. But according to another advocate, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), raising the retirement age to “perhaps 70 or 72″ is actually a “positive thing,” because people are living longer and are more productive:
“To sit here and tell you it’s (Social Security) going to be actuarially sound for all the baby boomers and young people, that’s nonsense,” Shelby said, adding that the Social Security tax would have to be doubled or tripled to fully fund the system for younger people…“But,” he said, “we can do some positive things to prolong Social Security … will we is a different question, isn’t it?”

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