Thursday, August 25, 2005

Age & Social Security

Robert Samuelson makes an important observation:
"Economist Robert Fogel, winner of the Nobel Prize, recently told students at Cornell University that 'half of you [may] live to celebrate your 100th birthday.' Fogel's prediction goes well beyond standard projections, which envision today's college students living into their late seventies. But Fogel, who has studied centuries of change in human well-being, said that conventional forecasts are usually too cautious. 'In the late 1920s,' he recalled, 'the chief actuary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. put a cap of 65 on life expectancy.'

Fogel's forecast reminds us that sooner or later Americans will have to work longer and retire later. It will become economically, politically and morally intolerable for government (aka taxpayers) to support people for a third or even half of their adult lives. Our present Social Security 'debate' ought to start this inevitable transformation. But it isn't. We are in deep denial about the obvious."

No comments: