A reader writes:
I imagine that George Will and yourself would have no trouble retiring at 75 if you needed to. Of course, you'll probably be able to retire much sooner if you so choose because of your high-profile nicely paying careers as desk-jockeys. But let me tell you about my dad. He's 62 and doing his best to keep his body together to get to 65 to collect his full Social Security check which will allow him some much needed rest. You see, his heel is always in pain from standing on concrete for 30 years doing carpentry for a furniture manufacturer. He can't get worker's comp for such a chronic condition and he would never qualify for disability but it's also true that he can barely stand at the end of the day. I can't imagine him working to 75. It would kill him.
George Will’s bit about life expectancy and Social Security is simply wrong. A man who reached age 65 in 1940 could have expected to draw Social Security benefits for 12.7 years. One who reached 65 in 1990 could expect to draw benefits for 15.3 years. Social Security’s long-range problem is related to low birthrates and a falling ratio of workers to retirees, not to longevity. (And anyway, it’s not Social Security that’s the big burden for the future, it’s Medicare.)