We Can’t Raise the Social Security Retirement Age to 67. We Already Did.


Apropos of this, I sometimes wonder if people even realize that the full Social Security retirement age for everyone under age 55 is now 67? There’s still a small chunk of people between 55-65 for whom the full retirement age is 66, but they’re the last of the Mohicans. Once they’ve aged out, the retirement age will be 67 for everyone.

So when you hear people talk about increasing the retirement age, keep in mind that it’s already 67. If for some insane reason you still think that increasing the retirement age is the best way to deal with Social Security’s finances, keep in mind that you’d need to bump it up to 70 to really make a difference. Does anyone think that makes sense?

I’m just guessing here, but I suspect one of the reasons this remains widely unrecognized is that so many people retire early. And you can still do that. The age for early retirement is still 62. The difference is that back when 65 was the full retirement age, you got 80 percent of your normal benefit if you retired early. These days it’s 75 percent. A decade from now it will be 70 percent. What this means is that for people who retire early, monthly benefits will have been reduced by about $150 over the first two decades of this century.

That’s a pretty substantial cut for someone in the working class who probably doesn’t have much in the way of savings. Does anyone really think we need to cut benefits for these folks even more?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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