In 1935, when the Social Security Act was passed, the average American lifespan was 61.7 years.
Today, it's 81.7.
Suddenly, keeping the retirement age at 60 doesn't make much sense. Or so says AIG Chairman Robert Benmosche, who favors increasing the retirement age to 80. An economy with a rapidly aging workforce can only survive, he argues, if it "keeps pensions and medical services affordable . . . [to] take the burden off the youth." This means pruning the roster of costly retirees.
Where I disagree with Mead is in his assertion that the change needs to be gradual:
These wars against the young and against arithmetic are undesirable and unsustainable. If European and American pensions and social security benefits are to continue, we will eventually have to link national retirement ages to expected longevity. This doesn't mean we should do it all at once; reforms should be gradual and made with sensitivity to current and prospective retirees, who have planned their lives based on the old system.
I agree that rapid changes to the retirement system will be disruptive for current and near-term retirees, but I don't care. Just because they've built their lives around the prospect of looting and pillaging my generation doesn't mean that they're entitled to succeed. They're attempting to use democracy to transfer a massive amount of wealth from my generation to theirs by borrowing money to spend on themselves that we are going to have to pay back. I say no! I say that we link the Social Security retirement age to longevity and push it back dramatically effective immediately.