While the growing gap between high and low-income Americans is not new news, I would like to write about how Social Security plays into this gap.
New life-saving vaccinations and other medical advances in the past few decades have improved the health of many individuals. Obama’s health care plan has also helped improve public health by reducing the amount of Americans without health insurance. However, Americans are not benefiting from these advances equally. Those with higher incomes reap today’s benefits because they have the money to be able to access and afford it.
Aside from differences in health, income, and life expectancies, differing Social Security benefits are also contributing to this widening gap between the rich and the poor. Those with low-income jobs tend to retire earlier than the full retirement age (66 years old in 2015) while those with high-income jobs tend to retire at or later than the full retirement age (Brookings). A person’s Social Security benefits increase as they work for more years. Consequently, Americans who earn a high income tend to receive higher Social Security benefits than Americans with lower incomes. Unequal Social Security benefits maintain the disparity between high and low income workers.
As the US continues to experience more advances in technology and medicine, more and more low-income Americans are being left behind while high-income Americans enjoy longer lives and improved living conditions. For people born in 1960 or later, the retirement age will be pushed up to 67 years old for workers to earn the full benefits (National Academy...). Meaning this trend of low income, low benefits and high income, high benefits is likely to continue.
Do you think the government should be doing more to provide welfare for those who need it? Why or why not?
Are there any other disparities between the wealthy and the poor?