Posted on 12 January 2011
By Mark Miller
When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address on January 25th, all indications are that he’ll embrace many of the deficit reduction recommendations put forward last month by the co-chairs of his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform.
A key section of the wide-ranging report offers recommendations to bolster the long-term fiscal health of Social Security — despite the fact that that Social Security has no direct impact on the federal deficit. Among the commission’s controversial recommendations is an increase in the age when workers can receive full Social Security benefits — the so-called normal retirement age (NRA).
Supporters of a higher NRA note that the nation’s rising longevity has reduced the relevance of 65 as a symbol of old age. And while there’s nothing sacrosanct about 65–the NRA that was adopted when Social Security was created in 1935–the trend toward working longer doesn’t justify cutting Social Security benefits. What’s more, working longer presents challenges that older workers are ill-equipped to face.