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President Obama Promises "A Dignified Retirement For Everyone," and Update of "Raising The Social Security Retirement Age"

Alexa's picture

Social Security Card - Illustration
Social Security Card - Illustration
DonkeyHotey photostream, flickr

To a wildly cheering crowd on the campaign trail earlier today (in Nevada), President Obama crooned that he will strive to ensure "a dignified retirement for everyone." Disgusting.

After all, this is the individual who publicly agreed with Romney's Social Security policy stance in the first debate. And then, the day after the final debate, told The Des Moines Register's editor and publisher that he intends to enact "austerity measures." [After about 10 minutes of this hooey, I had to turn off the radio.]

But, so much for that. That's just an aside.

I decided to post this short blog because I failed to make one of the most pertinent points--raising the Social Security full retirement age (FRA) will greatly diminish a beneficiary's monthly Social Security benefit check.

The following material reflects the opinions of advocates for NOT RAISING the Social Security retirement age.

[All "blockquoted" material consists of verbatim excerpts. I provide a link to the original piece after each article excerpt, not topic.]

Alex Lawson of Social Security Works.

Has calculated that a raise in the age of social security eligibility for full benefits will result in benefit cuts of 28.6% for those in the age range of 65 to 70.

Mark Weisbrot (CEPR) On Disproportionate Harm.

Raising the retirement age, over time, from 67 to 70 will disproportionately harm African-American male retirees, whose life expectancy is considerably shorter than that of their white male counterparts. Low-income and blue-collar workers would also bear a disproportionate share of the burden.

Under current law, a 40 year-old Black male worker can expect about 3.6 years of Social Security benefits, as opposed to 9.1 years for a white male worker. This discrepancy was widened by the most recent increase in the retirement age, from 65 to 67. The proposed further increases in the retirement age would effectively prevent progress toward a decent retirement span, both in absolute terms or relative to whites, for African-American males over nearly an entire century.

The typical African-American man born in 1973 would lose 19.2% of his expected retirement years solely as a result of increasing the retirement age to 68. A white male of the same age would lose 9.3% of his retirement.

Differences in life expectancy by income and occupation are similar to those across racial lines. Low-income and blue-collar workers would therefore suffer a similarly disproportionate impact from this proposal.

Dean Baker On Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Dean Baker (CEPR), what about lifting the retirement age to seventy? What would be the effect?

DEAN BAKER: Well, this is a cut in benefits. And, of course, this disproportionately hits those who are at the bottom, who have shorter life expectancies, and also who don’t have the ability to make this up by working longer because they don’t have the health or they have harder jobs. It really is infuriating.

Dean Baker On Retirement Age and Physically Demanding Jobs.

Many policymakers are able to still work into their late 70s. This leads many deficit hawk types to think all workers should be expected to work until age 70 or even older.

However, this is not likely to be as easy for most workers as it is for them. Forty five percent of workers over age 58 work at jobs that are physically demanding or have difficult work conditions.

Here's the link to the excerpted material above.

Here's an excerpt and link from a Weisbrot policy paper entitled, "Unequal Sacrifice: The Impact of Changes Proposed by the Advisory Council on Social Security (January 1997)."

The Proposed Increase in the Retirement Age (Written in 1997)

The PSA and IA plans propose to increase the retirement age - the age at which people become eligible for full benefits - over time, to 70, and to speed up the implementation of the increase to 67 that has already been enacted into law.

Increasing the retirement age is an extremely regressive way to trim the outlays of the Social Security system. It also hits African-Americans much harder than whites. The main reason for both of these differential impacts is straightforward: African-Americans, and lower-income workers generally, have a considerably lower life expectancy as compared to the general population. Each year that the retirement age is raised a much larger bite is taken out of these groups' retirement.

This effect is most pronounced for African-American men. The life expectancy of an African-American man who is currently 40 years old is about 70.6 years, compared with 76.1 years for white men. A typical 40 year-old Black male worker can thus expect about 5.6 years of benefits if he retires at 65, about half of the 11.1 years his white counterpart will enjoy.

This means that the first two years that have already been added to the retirement age reduce a Black male's expected lifetime benefits by 36%, or twice the reduction suffered by the white male worker (18%). These changes, enacted in 1983 and phased in beginning with retirees who reach age 62 in the year 2000, raised the age of eligibility for full retirement age to 67.

Most policy experts cite a reduction of Social Security monthly benefits of between 6-7% per year, for each year that the FRA is raised. [Link to "Expected time in retirement at age 65 is more than 40 percent longer than in 1940, Job Market Monitor, April 23, 2012.]

I have never heard a member of the MSM mention that Social Security beneficiaries actually lose monetary benefits when the FRA is raised. Please make sure that you "get the word out" regarding this highly regressive Social Security benefit cut.

* * * * * *

BTW, I'm not one who would ever take offense if "typos" are pointed out to me. I try, but I've been known to make a few. ;)


Submitted by lambert on

House style supports enlightenment values of evidence and reasoning, meaning that provenance and sourcing are important. So as if we were scholars or lawyers, it's important to show where material comes from, and equally important for users to be able to verify our accurate treatment of material by going to look at it for themselves. It's also important to distirguish what we write from what we quote. (This is also important because blog posts, believe it or not, often have life spans longer than the mainstream media stories they quote, and so we serve as a sort of public archive, under fair use restrictions.) Therefore please:

1. Surround quoted material with the BLOCKQUOTE tag (second button from left in the bar, looks like stacked up horizontal lines).

2. Make sure to add links using the A tag with the URL to the link in the box labelled HREF. Convention is to surround some text immeditately before the blockquote. If there is no link, for example you typed in a quote from a book, use normal style, with book title in italic, and give number if possible.

For example, this is a paragraph about Google:

The great beast of modern search.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

have any idea why the last two paragraphs of the post (which I did not "blockquote," at least not intentionally) are indented?

Do you know of a way that I can change that?

Also, I'm working on more videos, and Tweets. If there is a new way to embed videos once you complete the website update/upgrade, please let me know.

I'll probably hold-off looking into a YouTube account, until I see if the update/upgrade will change the way that Twitter functions here. Thanks--

Submitted by lambert on

I believe you must have forgotten the BLOCKQUOTE close tag (so the indent persisted. The basic principle is, if you opened it, close it ;-)

Next time you post, select some text then click a button to surround it with tags (some easy, like a word in B (bold). You will see two tags, a start tag and an end tag. The bolding ends with an end tag. You can tell start from end by looking for a / in the tag -- thing of the spring ("/") that closes a screen door.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

however, that I'm rather disappointed in his reasoning regarding "voting for Obama."

The Supreme Court--c'mon.

Here's links to two articles that state that O's appointments have given us practically one of the "most business friendly" Supreme Courts in the history of the US.

Business and The Law, Corporations and the Court
"America's Supreme Court is the most business-friendly for decades."
[The Economist, New York, June 23, 2011]


"Analysis: Big business scores key Supreme Court term wins"
[Reuters, June 28, 2011]

I greatly value Black's analysis of, and advocacy for any number of policy matters. But as long as he and other progressive "elite opinion makers" think this way, I don't see the Democratic Party moving to the left (not that I haven't given up on that, a long time ago. LOL!)

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I was just listening to Robert Scheer, who is usually pretty good, going on about the election and how O and R are the same person and the Ds are as worthless as the Rs. And then he did the same thing as Black ("vote for O, he's not 'as bad'"), for basically the same reasons. I can't figure out what is wrong with these people. How can they be so smart and so dumb at the same time?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

radio program via web, called "Left, Right, and Center," (KCRW). Here's the link to the show.

Like Scheer a lot. But, he drives me nuts, too. He'll "cut Obama to shreds" for 5 minutes. Then turn around and declare that progressives must vote for him. It seems that these "elites" are all the same, doesn't it. LOL!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I listen to the same show. Remember a while back, when Scheer was pushing for Ron Paul? Yikes! It seems like some of these people have really lost their way.