From the New York Times (http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/how-high-can-the-retirement-age-go/?scp=2&sq=retirement&st=cse):
Beth Almeida is executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington. She is the co-author of “A Better Bang for the Buck: The Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Pension Plans.
Longer lives do not necessarily require longer careers. Yes, seniors are living a few years longer than they did decades ago. Life expectancy at age 65 has improved by about 35 percent since 1950. But our country’s gross domestic product is also roughly six times larger than it was in 1950 and household incomes have grown by a similar amount.
Higher retirement ages are not economically or demographically necessary.
That means not only can we still afford retirement, we can afford even more of it if that’s what we want. That’s good news. Yet somehow, longer lives have become an economic bogeyman.
I have often thought about this: We have so much more wealth as society than we used to even 50 years ago that we don't "have to" up the retirement age. We could, for example, decide we don't want to provide 50 percent of the world's military budget. We don't have to assume that younger people won't want to pay for older people's retirement. I can easily imagine younger people buying into the idea that if they pay now, they will have the same benefits to look forward to when they get older. We could also allow more immigration if we are short of working-aged people to support baby boomers.
Another writer talked about the changes in aging in this country and argued that people want to work longer, take care of "unfinished" business and do meaningful work as a long as they can. I agree with this, but don't think it means we need to somehow limit or do away with retirement benefits. For many people, meaningful and part-time work at the end of life is only possible because of the cushion of social security and other retirement income. Also, I worry that what is good for the middle and upper classes--a lifetime opportunity to work--could become lifelong wage slavery for working class people. I hope we will find the will as a country to continue to both finance retirement and allow people opportunities to contribute to the common good or their own enrichment as long as they can.
The Bible speaks to this by noting that love casts out fear. If we are loving others and putting first the kingdom, there will be an abundance of resources. The story of the loaves and the fishes illustrates this point.