If Mitt and others of like mind have their say, the first definition will fade from our vocabulary as the retirement age is raised until no one, except the 1%, will be able to retire. Not everyone will be able to continue working until the retirement age because the human body wears out with use. Some jobs are more physically demanding than others. I retired at nearly age 70, and I would still be working at almost age 71 if I were able. In a hospital working with patients, one is expected to assist patients if they cannot help themselves. Frequently the hospital worker’s back is stressed, and my lower back is still tender after a year of retirement. We were trained with an inflatable air mattress device that made patient transfer from gurney to x-ray table easy, but the device was never put into widespread use. A budget problem I suspect.
When I was age 50 and working as a hospital aide, I decided to switch from 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts to increase my income. Working 8 hours per day at that time was not a strain, but I found that I had to pace myself to survive 12 hour shifts. Sitting down between tasks became a necessity. I understand that at WalMart, a letter from your doctor is required if an elderly employee needs to sit during working hours. I also understand that the job of greeter at the entrance to WalMart is being phased out. One less employment opportunity for the elderly.
Critics of Obamacare are usually critical of healthcare in other nations, particularly Canada and the UK(England). They praise US healthcare as the best in the world, but we spend much more of GNP to produce the “best”. My question to those critics is, if our healthcare is so good, why do we live shorter lives?
Age discrimination in job hiring and firing is very widespread here in the US, much more so than most people believe. And most people believe that it can’t happen to them, until it does. I would still be working at age 70 if my most recent employer had not pushed me into retirement just before my 70th birthday. Not everyone is able to work to age 70 if their job requires strength and stamina. Fortunately my strength and stamina lasted until about 6 months before my retirement.
In a robust economy, it is often difficult for adults ages 50 and up to find employment. In this economy, I believe that it may be almost impossible. Discrimination because of age is illegal, but the law is difficult to enforce, even if the government wants to enforce it. Some of our legislators favor increasing the retirement age upwards toward 70 with eligibility for Social Security and Medicare happening later in life. I personally know several people who want to retire, but continue to work only because they are too young to qualify for Medicare.
As we enter our “golden years,” those of us who continue to work block promotion for younger workers. And what are the unemployed between ages 50 and 70 to do during those 20 years? Facing discrimination, they must feed themselves and their families until they reach age 70, if they are able to reach age 70 while denied adequate housing, nutrition and healthcare.