Zombie Ideas Crawling Though the Mindscape

Krugman tries to shed a little light in a very dark place:

…right now the most dangerous zombie [idea] is probably the claim that rising life expectancy justifies a rise in both the Social Security retirement age and the age of eligibility for Medicare. Even some Democrats — including, according to reports, the president — have seemed susceptible to this argument. But it’s a cruel, foolish idea — cruel in the case of Social Security, foolish in the case of Medicare — and we shouldn’t let it eat our brains.

First of all, you need to understand that while life expectancy at birth has gone up a lot, that’s not relevant to this issue; what matters is life expectancy for those at or near retirement age.

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He would have done better to put out some actual numbers.  What was life expectancy at age 65 in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010? For how many? Seems like some simple numbers could be crunched to help us out.

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