Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Get that columnist a new calculator

Columnist Michael Hiltzik needs a math lesson. His criticism in Tuesday’s Sun of Abby Huntsman’s views on the insolvency of the Social Security system were far off base.

Hiltzik criticized Huntsman for claiming that Americans live much longer than they did in 1935 when Social Security was enacted. He claimed that the longevity was solely due to the decrease in the infant mortality rate. Instead, he offered that what matters is how long a person lives once they reach Social Security eligibility. He stated that a man who reaches age 65 only has a life expectancy of age 83 in 2009 versus 77 in 1935.

Thus, if a man claimed Social Security benefits at the optimal full benefit age of 72 he would have claimed five years of benefits in 1935. In 2009 the benefits would be paid for eleven years, an increase in payments of 120 percent.

Hiltzik’s comments support perfectly Huntsman’s view that the system needs adjustment.

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