COMMENTARY: Older Americans facing a peculiar economic vise | Opinion
Some of this increase is welcome news, especially for the college-educated who can command a decent salary. But the myth of the happy older worker obscures a glaring reality: Millions of Americans must toil through their elderly years just to stay afloat.
As the Department of Labor puts it, “The economic downturn, shifting perceptions of retirement, increased workplace flexibility, and the aging of the ‘baby boom’ generation are all contributing to people working longer.”
But the department’s list is incomplete. Eroding pensions are a major force compelling people to work longer.
Though a handful of older workers hold the nation’s most prominent jobs—in the Oval Office, in Congress and on the Supreme Court—millions of others labor in dangerous conditions for meager pay (think warehouse and health care work, and late-night shifts). There is little reality-based…