Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein set a little zombie loose on CBS last week, joining Alan Simpson, Pat Robertson, and too many more to name.
But let's talk about the real world:
The fact is, men are living less than three years longer, women about five. Yes, there are more people living longer because they didn't die at age 3 of whooping cough or polio, but the life expectancy for an individual has not been extended very much at all once age 65 is reached. Disturbingly, pushing the retirement age out five years as is currently proposed actually means an individual male retiree today is at risk of being cheated of two years more retirement than our supposedly drastically shorter-lived forebears received more than half a century ago.
What gains in life expectancy there are come—surprise, surprise—overwhelmingly at the top of the income and class distribution.
Again, at the top, people have good medical care, easy access to a healthy diet, and jobs that aren't physically taxing. The same cannot be said for everyone:
Poor health remains a significant barrier to continued employment for older Americans. Roughly 20–30 percent of Americans in their 60s have a health problem that limits their ability to work or to perform basic physical tasks.
Many older workers continue to work in physically demanding or difficult jobs. According to recent studies, 45 percent of workers age 62 to 69 have physically demanding jobs or work under difficult conditions, and an even greater share have jobs that require at least sporadic physical effort.[...]
...Returning to work is a particular challenge for unemployed older workers, who are likely to be out of work longer than prime-age workers and to experience larger pay cuts if they manage to find jobs.
About 40 percent of workers retire earlier than planned due to poor health, caregiving responsibilities, job loss, or similar reasons.
That's a whole bunch of things that can and do make it horrible if not impossible for people to continue working through their 60s. Bending over dozens of times a day and lifting a mattress to tuck sheets under it, as hotel housekeepers do; carrying boxes or crates, as delivery, warehouse, and stock workers do; bathing patients or helping them between bed, wheelchair, and bathroom as health care workers do. These things break your body down over time, and for many workers in their 60s are simply impossible. Physical injury isn't the only concern people face when they don't work behind a desk, either.