Growing life span inequality has given the rich an extra $130,000 in government benefits

older man in hat and glasses
Image: Neil Moralee via Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/WzjDig

The federal government spends a large amount of money to support the living standards of elderly people — primarily through Social Security and Medicare but with significant helping hands from Medicaid and disability insurance. That amount is growing as a share of the economy because productivity growth is slowing, and because birthrates continue to fall (in line with a long-term trend), but mostly because Americans are living longer.

To many people in Washington, that rising life expectancy is itself a full rationale for cuts to the program. “If you can’t raise the retirement age to 68 by the year 2050 without the AARP losing their marbles,” former Sen. Alan Simpson, co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles commission, once said, then the country just “won’t make it.”

The truth, however, is that the extension of life expectancy in recent decades has been a profoundly class-driven matter — with richer Americans experiencing the vast majority of the gains.

Read more (Vox) »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.