Here I list each supposed "problem" with Social Security and the corresponding truth:
- OMG seniors are living so much longer than we expected! They're going to bankrupt the system! THE TRUTH: Social Security's original policymakers quite accurately predicted increasing longevity.
- OMG we need to raise the "normal" (or "full") retirement age as a result! THE TRUTH: In fact, retiree life expectancy gains since 1935 have been modest. Early figures were based on expectancy at birth, not at age 65. Life expectancy at 65 has only increased by 5 years since 1940, from 14.7 years to 19.6 years. Besides, the Full Retirement age has already been increased from 65 to 67 for certain age groups. Unnecessarily. By the Greenspan Commission back in 1983. Remember? Greenspan, the architect of our fiscal disaster.
- OMG we're going to be supporting a sea of broke old people! THE TRUTH: Longevity gains have gone to the affluent. Among the poorer and less educated, women have lost 5 years, men 3 years. Out of 34 industrialized countries we rank 27th in life expectancy. So as Parramore points out, raising the retirement age again would be a "direct assault" on the less fortunate. Furthermore, life expectancy gains are expected to slow in the future.