Boehner calls for Americans to work til they die (in poverty)

July 4, 2010

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio has called for raising the official retirement age in the US from 65 to 70. This, he said, would make social security more “solvent” because, of course, the government would be paying out much less in benefits. However, the people who have been paying into Social Security throughout their working years did so with the understanding that they would receive those benefits at age 65, not five years later. But it is easier to pretend that you haven’t broken the social contract, and aren’t stealing entitlements that people already paid for, if you just change the rules to substantially reduce the number of people who receive those benefits, and the number of years in which they get to enjoy them.

Boehner says this is necessary because, “We’re all living a lot longer than anyone expected.” However, in 2008, a Harvard University study concluded the opposite, showing that life expectancy in the US had declined by about 1.3 years on average since 1980 due to lowered quality of life, and that we are the only industrialized nation to exhibit such a trend. Worse, in some areas of the country, mainly in the South, average lifespan declined in the same time period by 11 years for men, and 7.5 years for women. It is likely that these people will never reach age 70, and that will save the federal government lots of money.

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