In a blog post, Paul Krugman derides Alan Simpson for spreading “zombie lies”, in particular the statement that life expectancy when social security was enacted was only 63. Krugman quickly says: “life expectancy at age 65, which is what matters, was almost 80 for women and 78 for men.” But life expectancy at 65 is not the only thing that matters—if we’re trying to keep the system solvent, the proportion of people who live to age 65 to begin with compared with those in the workforce is important. Life expectancy at birth is a proxy for this. Krugman’s smart enough to know this.
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