You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

How many times have you heard "When Social Security was enacted, the average life [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-08-12 08:26 AM
Original message
How many times have you heard "When Social Security was enacted, the average life
Advertisements [?]
expectancy was 65?"

That misleading factoid is often cited, as if to say, "When Social Security was enacted, no one imagined that Social Security would ever actually make payments, at least not to people over 65."

Call bullshit on that noise every time you have a chance so to do. People have always lived well beyond average life expectancies at birth.

First, average life expectancy at birth was very different from life expectancy at 65 because an average is, well, an average.

For example, if, the average life expectancy of a person who died at age 110 years of age and another person who died at age one day is 55 years, but what does that mean in terms of "old age" benefits? Answer: Less than nothing.

Second, the average life expectancy at birth in the colonies in 1776 was around 33 years of age. For just one thing, young women and babies died in childbirth or soon after much more than is true now that we have even relatively basic (today) things like penicillin, bood transfusions, incubators and IV nutrition. For another, medical treatment ranged from amputating limbs with unsterilized saws to herbal medicine, with little in between.

Are we to assume that actuaries, who obsess over things like that, never realized that medical science would continue to progress and, as it did, life expectancies would continue to increase? Or, are we to assume that no one in Congress consulted actuaries before enacting Social Security Or that no one in Congress had seen with their own eyes that some people lived to a ripe old age, while some died at 65 and some died much younger?

So, yes, Virginia, the average life expectancy at birthcirca 1935 was indeed 65, but no, Virginia, people in 1935 did not expect everyone to keel over at age 65 and to continue to do so forever after.

That is just a factoid that is very misleading in terms of what Congress and the American people expected about Social Security when Social Security was enacted.
Refresh | +1 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC