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Should Our Grandparents Work?

Based on the facts that the U.S. is a wealthy nation and how technology has improved working productivity, it is expected that the retirement age should be really low. That is not the case. Many employees in the U.S. work past their retirement age, and in many cases past 70 years old. This employment status is damaging both to these elders and the nation as a whole. In one respect, it deprives these elders of the relaxation that they should have in the few last years of their lives. In another, it is unhealthy to the nation s economy. For these reasons, people at the age of 70 should be prevented from working.

One reason that working at an older age, especially 70 or older is unhealthy for the economy is that elder workers are less efficient than younger workers. One important aspect of aging is mental limitations, which include forgetfulness, inability to absorb new information quickly, and so on. My mom, for example, is 61 years old and she has to make a list every time she goes to the supermarket when she intends to buy more than five items. Since many careers nowadays require quickness, having to write everything down and look them up every time is ineffectual. Aging also brings physical limitations. People at older age usually have to wear glasses, wear hearing aid, and they are physically slower in general. In short, old age leads to many limitations that make elder workers less efficient. This inefficiency ultimately is unhealthy for the economy because it decreases productivity that can be dramatically increased with the replacement of younger, more efficient workers.

It is impossible not to acknowledge that older workers have tremendous experiences from their long years of work that will help them to be more productive. However, this is only true for a few traditional jobs that are not influenced by the quickly evolving world. Most jobs nowadays are directly influenced by the information age so learning new knowledge and adapting to new ideas are inevitable. My brother, for example, has just graduated with a computer engineering degree and is working in a small software development company. Every night after work, he spends at least two hours reading new information just to be able to keep up with the world of computer and ultimately, his job position. Computer-related fields are not the only ones that require constant learning; this also holds true for other fields such as medicine, accounting, and even teaching. My family doctor says that he has to keep up with all the newly made drugs as well as the changes in health care policies and so on. Ricky, my hall-mate tells me that his grandmother was asked to retire by his uncle partly because he loves her but also because he needs someone who can keep up with the new, better softwares that can enhance his company s productivity. Many teachers nowadays have to read and expect their students to buy new editions of books because many textbooks written several years ago are virtually obsolete. Today s careers require much more than just experience. That further requirement is constant learning which makes elder workers less effective because of their limitations that come with age.

Elder workers are not fit for the economy by causing losses to the employers. With their long years of experience, the older workers salaries easily exceed new employees salaries. My sixty-seven years old high school teacher s salary is the maximum for the district at $65,000. Meanwhile, my brother s income is only in the $40,000 range where computer engineers are usually more highly paid. Ricky tells me about his uncle s complaints that health insurance for elder workers in his company is extravagant while these workers tend to miss work more frequently than his younger workers. In this representative case, elder workers contribute to great losses for the employers because employers have to spend more money for less efficient workers. This, in effect, is unfit for the economy because the economy thrives by the successes of businesses.

Working elders also have a negative effect on the economy by causing losses to younger workers. In this criterion, the fact is simple. Since there are only a certain amount of job positions available and these elder workers are taking some of the positions that should be replaced, younger workers will suffer by unemployment. This appears to be harmless to the economy and resembles transferring money from one pocket into another since either way, one group will be employed and the other will not. In reality, taking jobs from younger workers and thus, their spending abilities is extremely harmful. First, the distribution of wealth (two half-full pockets instead of one empty and one full) allows people to spend more. Younger people also tend to spend more than older people. Since the economy depends on the flow of money, taking jobs and spending abilities from the younger workers will unavoidably cause economic setbacks.

One question that many would ask is why won t employers hire the young and more productive workers and layoff the older workers? First of all, it is very difficult to layoff a worker. For example, my uncle owns a small music store and he hired one employee that is not a self-starter and only performs tasks that are part of his duty or when he is asked. My uncle wants someone who is more energetic, and is a self-starter but these reasons are not adequate enough to layoff this employee. Moreover, since the employee is a different ethnicity, my uncle also fears racism lawsuits that may result. Besides the difficulties in dismissing an employee, hiring an employee is just as difficult. I can still remember my brother telling me to listen and evaluate his presentations as he was preparing for job-interviews that also usually include three or more hours of face-to-face interviews. Since the processes of layoff and hiring are difficult, many employers only do it when they are compelled to.

When asking my roommate, Omar, about whether people at 70 or older should work, he quickly replies, why not? He states that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is very low. More than that, the economy is booming so there should be jobs for everyone. Thus, he argues that these people can work if they want to which will only bring more productivity to the nation. Omar is probably right if these situations stay the way they are. Recent decline of the stock market shows that the nation has passed its economy peak and is on the down slope to its regression cycle. This will mean higher unemployment and the nation cannot afford to have those inefficient, elders workers that will drag down the economy even further. Moreover, with the quick progresses of technology, jobs will be even rarer since one worker can perform tasks that would take several workers in the past. Thus, in the direction that the economy is going, it is urgent that elder workers be prevented from working.

One last reason that elder people should be prevented from working is that it is unjust for them. Many people work right after college at twenty-two and if they work until they are 70 years old, that is 47 years of working. Since the life expectancy is about 85, these elders should have 15 years of relaxation, not including the time they spend on their sickbeds. Many elders argue that they enjoy their work and feel bored when they stay at home. This is far from the truth because doing the same work for forty-seven years cannot be more fun than relaxing at home. Moreover, spending time with their grandchildren or going on vacation should also be more fun than working. In short, to give these elders the proper reward for their services to the society, they should be prevented from working to have time and enjoy the few days that they have left on earth.

The most proper alternative for elders at 70 years old or older is that they should be prevented from working. First of all, they should be able to relax and enjoy their life after their long years of services to the society. Moreover, their presence in the workforce is probably unhealthy to the economy since they are taking the places of younger, more efficient workers, and cause losses to the employers. Perhaps many elders acknowledge this fact but still work because of the greed for money, which they should already have enough. That is, not to mention social security. In short, there should be a law to prevent these elders from working and bring repose to these elders while helping the economy at the same time.

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