The Last Word | November 20, 2012
>>> of goldman sachs , if you have a fun job that you love, that you can build a scrooge room where you swim through a pile of gold, a job that makes you so much money that only the tiniest fraction of it is taxed to keep social security solvent, then you really shouldn't be saying this.
>> look at the history of these things. social security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. so there will be certain things that the the retirement age has to be changed. maybe some of the the inflation adjustments have to be resolved. but they have to be contained.
>> that's the ceo of goldman sachs and he's not saying anything that people with desk jobs don't say all the time in washington and in new york. but it's got to stop. if you want to talk about cutting social security , just talk about cutting it. it's a reasonable point of view. you're allowed to say it. what makes me disgusted, though, is the cavalierness with which people who get paid a lot of money and who love their jobs, people you'll have to take out of the office on a stretcher when they are 90, the cavalier cavalierness they talk about raising the retirement age . social security wasn't designed for all these old people who live a long time. and to some degree, who cares? the country's economy has grown 15 fold and one of the things we can buy with that money is a decent retirement for people who don't have jobs they love and who don't want to work forever. that's a gift of a rich society. moreover, this idea we have gained over years, it's not true or not nearly as true for poor folks who rely on social security . as you can see on this graph since 1977 the life expecty of male workers retiring at 65 has risen a full six years if they are in the top half of the income distribution . if they are not, it's only risen 1.3 years. so if you're wealthy, you have many, many years to enjoy social security . but if you're not, you don't. so making it so people who aren't wealthy have to wait longer to use social security is a cruel way to cut the program it's not just a cut, it's a cut that's particularly tough on people who spend their lives in jobs that don't enjoy. you know what age people begin taking social security ? 65 is what most people think, but they are wrong. if you wait until age 70, you get bigger benefits, but no one does that. most people begin taking social security at age 62. that is as early as the law allows you to take benefits. when you do that, you get smaller benefits over your lifetime. we penalize you for taking your benefits early. but most people do it any way and they do it because they don't want to spend their whole lives at that job. unlike many folks, they don't want to work until they drop. and that's what galls me about this easy argument. the pundits and the senators and ceos they will never feel it. they don't want to retire at age 67 or 70, but you know what they would feel and don't advocate, social security taxes don't apply over $110,000 a year. the total compensation was $16.1 million. that means he paid social security taxes on less than 1% of his compensation. if we lifted that cap, if we made all income all the way up to $16 million subject to payroll taxes and they estimate it would do three times as much to serve shortfall. in fact, that one move would all at once assure the program's solvency for the next 75 years. i don't need to pick on him here. he's one of the ceos that agree his taxes need go up. but the folks that talk about raising the social security retirement age as if it's a no brainer, they need to think harder about why they have settled on the single cut to social security that will concentrate its pain on people who are poor, who haven't fully shared in increase in life expectancy and who don't like going to their jobs every day. why are they the people who should sacrifice the most on social security .