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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

They're Coming Around

Since President Bush launched his campaign to overhaul Social Security, I made clear the three options open to lawmakers (not including the turbid private accounts initiative). They are:
  • Raise taxes
  • Reduce monthly benefits
  • Raise the age of eligibility

After analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, I came to the conclusion that the most viable - and least painful - fix is to simply raise the age at which people can start collecting their retirement benefit, probably to age 71 or 72.

Now, all the smart people are coming around to my way of thinking, one at a time.

Why not raise retirement age?

Expert says it would fix Social Security, but it’s political trouble
By David Gregory, White House correspondent, NBC News

WASHINGTON - The idea of raising the retirement age has somehow been lost in the debate over changing Social Security for today’s workers. And yet it seems to be the most obvious.

After all, experts say, the retirement program President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started never envisioned retirees’ living as long as they do now — on average at least a decade longer.

"As a result, it now costs an awful lot more money than anybody ever expected 70 years ago," says David John with the Heritage Foundation.

The Social Security retirement age is now 65, but it's slowly going up. For those born in 1960 or later it will be 67. But experts say you would have to raise it quickly to 72 over the next several years to make a real dent in the program's shaky finances.

"If you raised it to something like 72 and then kept on going in future years, that would pretty much solve problem," says John. (link)

And Jerry ...