April 1, 2023

EXPECTATIONS: Retirement under Republican rule? Keep waiting

EXPECTATIONS: Retirement under Republican rule? Keep waiting

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Congratulations, Americans! Not only are we now dying younger, but our Republican politicians want to make sure that we don’t have an opportunity to retire and enjoy our last years, either.

In fact, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) is even willing to misrepresent the trend of life expectancy in order to justify his plan. (Spoiler: it’s actually decreasing)

Thanks in part to a poorly-handled global pandemic, life expectancy in the U.S. began decreasing in 2020 and is down by as much as 6 years for some groups.

The average is currently about 76 years — so why is Kennedy appearing on news shows to claim that it’s more like 90 and that 62 is too early to be permitted to retire after a lifetime of work?

He’s not alone, either — raising the retirement age is on the Republican agenda.

Former South Carolina Governor (and current 2024 presidential candidate) Nikki Haley has said she’s open to the idea, and Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) joined her, insisting that this “has to be on the table” because she expects the Social Security retirement funds to be “insolvent.”

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Congress could act to save Social Security and fund the program simply by removing the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes — but instead, Republicans seem dead set on pulling up the proverbial ladder, robbing younger voters of the retirement funds that workers have relied on for generations.

Here’s what Kennedy had to say (video below):

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“The life expectancy of the average American right now is about 77 years old. For people who are in their twenties, their life expectancy will probably be 85 to 90. Does it really make sense to allow someone who’s in their 20s today to retire when they’re 62?”

Until 2020, Kennedy could have been basing this on trends — American life expectancy was on the rise until COVID-19 hit.

Now over two and a half decades of gains have been undone, according to a Scientific American analysis.

His claim of a current life expectancy of 77 years is closer to accurate if one only considers white Americans, but the situation is even direr for Black Americans, who have a life expectancy at this point of only around 71 years.

It’s even worse for Native Americans and Alaskan natives, who can only expect about 65 years, according to the latest data.

Looking at that data, 62 doesn’t sound so early after all.

Below, Mace also puts her 2 cents in.

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President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats, however, are working to save Social Security from right-wing Republican destruction.

Biden raised the issue in his State of the Union address last month, promising that he will fight to keep the program solvent as the GOP fights to break it.

He has offered a potential solution in creating a tax tier for those making more than $400k per year, and two Senators, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have another proposal, which would add a tax on investment income and keep the program solvent for another 75 years, according to The New York Times.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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