Reality-Based Retirement Club
By Arnold Kling
In an audio file, Russ Roberts interviews Greg Mankiw. Toward the end, Mankiw endorses raising the retirement age for entitlements–what I call the age of government dependency. Welcome to the yet un-named club! (not that Mankiw’s membership is new).
My current thought for a name is the “reality-based retirement” club. That name lacks the esoteric cuteness of Pigou Club. But it is designed to convey the notion that reality has changed–and continues to evolve–since Social Security and Medicare were enacted. People have more lifetime wealth, they are healthier at age 65, and they live longer than was the case 40 years or 70 years ago.
The interview consists of Roberts pressing Mankiw on a number of issues. Roberts takes Keynesian economics and large macro models for dead, but Mankiw does not. Roberts predicts bad unintended consequences for a tax on gasoline (the Pigou club), but Mankiw does not.
What struck me was the gentleness of Mankiw’s approach to argument. With all due respect to Roberts, I thought that Mankiw usually got the better of the exchanges. It reminds me that one does not always have to be heavy-handed to succeed in a debate. A light touch can work, as well.
Listen to the podcast* for this debating dynamic and see what you think.
(*random technical note. Due no doubt to some ineptness of mine, I cannot get these files to play in Mozilla on Windows. I wind up having to shut down Mozilla and use Microsoft Explorer.)
UPDATE: Russ is still arguing.