Thursday :: Jan 13, 2005

One Way to Save Social Security


by Mary

Reading Atrios' post about Bush's campaign sales stop today, I realized perhaps Bush wasn't aware that his current policies are improving the longevity of Social Security (based on the arguments he used to convince people there was an imminent crisis in the program). As he told his audience, one aspect of the crisis is that the life expectancy today is so much greater than it was in 1935.

According to Bush:

"The problem is, is that times have changed since 1935. Then most women did not work outside the house, and the average life expectancy was about 60 years old, which for a guy 58 years old must have been a little discouraging. (LAUGHTER)

"Today, Americans, fortunately, are living longer and longer. I mean, we're living way beyond 60 years old and most women are working outside the house."

So one way that our Social Security system can be saved is if we can pay out less benefits than currently estimated. Therefore, it must be good news for Social Security that our life expectancy from birth is getting worse. At least that's how I interpret the news that we have higher infant mortality rates in comparison to a lot of other countries (including Cuba) and it is getting worse under Bush. But, perhaps this was an unintended consequence of his policies?

Note: Despite Bush's deceptive statement, the life expectancy argument is a canard. From the Social Security website:

"If we look at life expectancy statistics from the 1930s we might naturally come to the conclusion that the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would work for many years paying in taxes, but would not live long enough to collect benefits. Life expectancy at birth in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood."

Mary :: 12:15 AM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!