The Conversation

Bad deals getting worse

In response to White House rules out raising Medicare eligibility age:

I must admit I'm not entirely enchanted by the usual tactic of "saving" these entitlement programs by raising the eligibility ages.  It happens to Social Security too.  These bad Big Government deals just keep getting worse, as we chase the precise point of equilibrium between average lifespan and the taxpayer-to-beneficiary ratio.  It's particularly dismaying with respect to Social Security, sold to Americans for so many years as a sort of guaranteed personal retirement account that we "pay into" over a lifetime, and then "collect."  Well, if you pay into a true retirement account, the financial institution you contracted with decades ago can't just arbitrarily decide to move your age of eligibility back because too many of the other clients are living longer.  

How long is the "pay-in" part of our lives supposed to be extended, in order to keep the "collect benefits" phase short enough for government actuaries?  Why should we be excited that we're locked into "deals" that the other, almighty party can alter whenever it finds the terms too difficult to honor?  And how long are we supposed to keep pretending this is all the result of a system that's "working?"


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