Pat Robertson preached to his 700 Club about the value of old people continuing to work well into old age, and that since they "like to work," that won't be a problem.
Why don't we recognize the fact that people are longer? I'm sitting here over 80 and feel great, ride horses and lift weights and all that stuff. People are living well past 70. When Social Security was put in effect, most people died in their early 60s. By the time someone was 65, he was dead. Now with medicine and all the nutrition and the support we have in society people are living a great deal longer and, consequently, they should be working longer. [...] We should be pushing that retirement age out to 70 or 72. And it's not going to hurt anybody because people really like to work. [...]Yes, Pat Robertson, you, a multimillionaire who does little more that sit at a desk and yap hate at a camera, feel just fine as an octagenarian. How about you try something like standing on your feet all day at a retail store. Or maybe kneeling all day doing plumbing. Or how about working in a warehouse, lifting boxes? Yes, it's really easy for Robertson to tell old people that they like to work and it's not going to hurt them to work several more years.
And it's also a great big lie. Life expectancy has only increased by five years since Social Security was created, and that's largely a function of fewer deaths at the other end of life. Childhood diseases, and deaths, have been greatly reduced so life expectancy has increased. What really makes a difference in this argument is how long you live once you reach 65. For men, that's only about three years longer than it was in 1940. And the retirement age has already been raised by two years.
The argument is utter bullshit, yet nonetheless is spouted by everyone from the Catfood Commission to Pat Robertson to the Republican Party Platform Committee, who enshrined it in the 2012 official platform, where they endorse raising the retirement age and privatization all in one:
While no changes should adversely affect any current or near-retiree, comprehensive reform should address our society’s remarkable medical advances in longevity and allow younger workers the option of creating their own personal investment accounts as supplements to the system. [...]In other words, you'll be working a lot longer and getting a lot less for it if Republicans win Congress and the White House. But, hey, if you have the leisure time to ride horses and lift weights, you might just feel as good as Pat Robertson does about it.
Born in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans, it is long overdue for major change, not just another legislative stopgap that postpones a day of reckoning. To restore public trust in the system, Republicans are committed to setting it on a sound fiscal basis that will give workers control over, and a sound return on, their investments.