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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Time Has Come for a Higher Retirement Age

September 04, 2004

Re "A New Money Machine for the U.S.," Opinion, Aug. 29: Bruce Bartlett argues in favor of a value-added tax as a solution to the projected increase in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has a better idea. Avoid the need for increased transfer payments by increasing the retirement age to 70 and up as life expectancy increases. Death rates for males 65 to 74 have dropped 31% from 1960 to 1989 and are still decreasing.

And why adopt a European creature, the VAT, needed to fund its common-market government? European populations are decreasing; ours is increasing. Our standard of living is much higher. Why imitate losing ways? Our young people deserve better. More often than not, both husband and wife work to put them in the top 20% of households that pay most of the income taxes. They have children to support and educate. That's far more important than paying for the retirement of healthy 65- to 70-year-olds. Let those who choose take early retirement from 62 on, only at actuarially reduced rates.

Raymond J. Rostan

Santa Ana

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