Thursday, April 27, 2006

Arnold Kling wonders why solvency problems of Social Security can't be solved by raising the retirement age for people currently in their 30's and 40's.

There are some issues where the views I hold are outside the mainstream. However, among economists, both on the left and the right, essentially everyone who looks at entitlement spending agrees that it would be helpful and appropriate to raise the age of government dependency. Yet we are told that this simple, common-sense solution is politically impossible.

What I do not understand is this: what political constituency insists that today's young workers must be promised an unrealistically low age of government dependency? I do not know any young workers who are demanding it. I do not know any old workers for whom it should matter.
The reason is because those who strongly defend Social Security on principle feel they must defend their intellectual territory. Raising the retirement age for younger workers would reduce overall benefits, and would mean ceding intellectual territory.