One of the most powerful forms of stimulus we could apply to our economy right now would be to lower the current Social Security retirement age from the current 65-67 to 55, and increase the benefits back to where they were in inflation-adjusted 1960s dollars by raising them between 10 to 20 percent (so people could actually live, albeit modestly, on Social Security).
The right-wing reaction to this, of course, will be to say that with fewer people working and more people drawing benefits, it would bankrupt Social Security and destroy the economy. But history shows the exact reverse.
Instead, it would eliminate the problem of unemployment in the United States. All those Boomers retiring would make room in the labor market for all the recent high-school and college graduates who are now finding it so hard to find a job.
Hartmann goes on in the article to discuss in detail about how lowering the retirement age would open up thousands of jobs nationwide, and how wages for working class Americans have been devastated since the days of Ronald Reagan and our old pal Alan Greenspan started gutting unions and trying to lower our standard of living:
In September of 2007, in an interview on C-SPAN for Book TV, Greenspan said: “We pay the highest skilled labor wages in the world. If we would open up our borders to skilled labor far more than we do, we would attract a very substantial quantity of skilled labor which would suppress the wage levels of the skilled, because the skilled are essentially being subsidized by the government, meaning our competition is being kept outside the country.”
It’s shocking that ideologues like Greenspan, Reagan, and Clinton believe this, but they do. And the only way to reverse the past 29 years of Reaganomics/Clintonomics is to tighten up the labor market again. While a great start would be to pull out of our insane trade treaties and begin again protecting American manufacturers, that will take a decade for the impact to be truly felt even if we were to go back to our 1980 tariff levels today. Read on...
Thom finishes by stating that his plan would ultimately "take us to nearly zero unemployment and dramatically stimulate the economy." I happen to think it's a good idea. What say you?
With all of the talk about raising the retirement age, as Digby pointed out, here's some unconventional wisdom on the topic from James Galbraith.
ACTUALLY, THE RETIREMENT AGE IS TOO HIGH:
The most dangerous conventional wisdom in the world Read more...
We've written about this over and over again here at C&L and what a bad idea it is to be calling for the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to be raised and how it just inflicts pain on the poor at a time of record income disparity and Read more...