Quietly, politicians are beginning to join economists and other experts who for years have urged ratcheting up Social Security retirement ages to prevent the program from sinking into permanent deficits beginning in 2016.
Last month, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, floated the idea of raising the retirement age. Days later, Minority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, suggested raising the age to 70 from the current range of 66 to 67 for phasing in full benefits. This week, a Texas member of the House, Sam Johnson, also raised the possibility.
In recent days other political leaders have thought aloud about the idea, revealing that not only is the idea bipartisan, but it also might be considered one of the easiest ways to keep the nation from adding to its spiraling deficit.
Europe arrived at this party earlier. Greek officials want to stop people from getting away with retiring at 58 instead of the official age of 65. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. In Spain, the talk is about 65 to 67.
What are your thoughts? Should the retirement age be raised here? And what about the proposals to phase in retirement earlier for poor people and those whose bodies are worn out sooner by manual labor?
Here’s another question. Should high-profile Indiana pols like Richard Lugar, Evan Bayh and Mike Pence—all of them fiscally conservative to one degree or another—be in the forefront of this movement?