“Help me, Obi-Wan Sugar! You’re my only hope!”

Over at TJIC, there’s a discussion of this NYT article about setting back the social security retirement age. Of course the writers start with a tear-jerker story about a broken down fellow in a tire factory who can’t afford to quit and won’t make it to the standard retirement age. No doubt readers’ tears obediently and abundantly flow.

Travis goes all mainstream Libertarian on us…

…but just because he’s got a rough lot doesn’t mean that (a) he has to retire at age 62, (b) even if he does retire at age 62, we taxpayers have to subsidize that retirement.

The age at which one gets social security should be 68 or higher, and

(a) if Mr. Hartley has the means, he should retire whenever he wants.

(b) if he can’t throw tires at age 62, but can’t afford to retire either, then he should look for other work to fill the gap from 62 to 68. He’s obviously a vigorous guy, even if his back hurts, and there’s very little unemployment in Texas (relative to Ohio), and I’m sure that he can get a job at a Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks, doing trivially light labor.

…and I don’t necessarily disagree on any particular point. Though I certainly will throw a bit more sympathy in the direction of Jack Hartley than Libertarian orthodoxy dictates. I’m about the same age as this guy, in the kind of physical condition that would preclude my doing that kind of work every day – or even a day. I’d probably make it about four hours. And I wanna know – How come Jack Hartley, who presumably hasn’t been making minimum wage all this time, is so broke after a lifetime in a tire factory that his only option is SS?

Did worn-out retirement-age laborers traditionally seek out an ice flow and yell “Soup’s on, polar bears!” before Roosevelt came along? Because I don’t think they did.

“Taxed to death,” anyone?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to “Help me, Obi-Wan Sugar! You’re my only hope!”

  1. TJIC says:

    For the record, I tossed him a fair bit of sympathy as well.

    I thank God that I was born in a place (the US), a time (the 20th century), and with traits (intelligence) that allow me to earn my living sitting in a HVAC-ed office typing software.

  2. It does present an issue that my co-workers and I discussed at our warehouse the other day.

    People maybe living longer on average but that average is skewed as it is mostly because of a longer female life term and it doesn’t mean these older average people are still physically productive or really capable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that between our own contribution to SS and the matching employer contribution by the time we reach age 62 there should be a million or more in the bank for us. If you contributed the same amount to an IRA or 401k you could retire comfortably at age 59 1/2. The mistake is letting the government have control of the money and HOW it is doled out. Many/most people who collect SS have paid little or nothing into the system. This is the result of politicians using the SS system to buy votes. After all if your congressman votes to give you SS benefits would you vote for him again? Government is the problem.

  4. Borepatch says:

    Y’know, if he hadn’t had to pay that 15% on every dollar he ever earned, and had been able to put it in an IRA instead, he’d be able to retire now.

    Me too, probably.

To the stake with the heretic!