Whitesburg KY

Raising retirement age is a mistake

Almost every day we hear complaints concerning the lack of jobs in our area. It’s true that we are not overloaded with jobs in Appalachia, but still, we should be proud of our heritage. Proud to call these old hills our home. Some people like to put us down simply because they are ignorant themselves.

As for the lack of jobs, our elected officials are to blame for some of the shortfalls. We already are lacking in the job category, but still some idiots – and I do mean idiots – saw fit to raise the retirement age. If someone is of retirement age and wants to work a while longer, that is their prerogative. But I don’t think they should be forced to work beyond 62 or 65 years of age. How is the younger generation supposed to be able to fill the shoes of the older workers if they don’t remove those shoes?

I believe the whole concept of raising the retirement age is because they know the longer a laborer works the less they will collect in benefits before they expire, thus leaving more in the treasury. Some argue that the lifespan has increased, so they raised the retirement age. But I for one don’t see how they came up with their deductions. If a person works till they are 65 years of age, there really isn’t much left in that person, be it a man or a woman.

I realize some of the agencies do have retirement set according to the years worked instead of being set according to age. A coal miner, for instance, should not have to put in more than 20 years in the mines. The same goes for the textile industry. Coal mining is far safer now than in previous years but is by no means accident proof.

In 1907 there were 363 killed in one mine explosion in Wynonga, W.Va. Many of the victims were young boys driving ponies or picking rock from the coal as it left the mine. These were called breaker boys. Many were immigrant workers who came to America seeking a better life for their families. A good many of these were never identified. I doubt if their families in their home countries ever knew what happened to them, only that they never returned.

Up until that time I doubt if anyone really realized just how dangerous coal dust suspended in the air is. In reality, coal dust is as explosive as gunpowder when airborne. Even asbestos is not too much of a health hazard unless it becomes airborne. But on the other hand, it takes very little to get it airborne, such as sweeping and dusting.

Coal dust is a lung irritant as well as asbestos and many other commodities used in the manufacture of goods. That is why I believe anyone working in such industries as these should have a retirement age according to the number of years worked and not by age.

By raising the retirement age it has only made it more difficult for the younger generation to find employment.

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