Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935 as part of the "2nd New Deal"" and the Townsend movement to protect older people. To most, aging is a somewhat scary prospect. 80 years later, Social Security remains a successful, popular and effective program. Workers can plan their retirement with the provided foundation of income. It provides social insurance for disabled workers and widows. The goals of Social Security are primarily to raise elderly, retired people out from poverty. .
While raising the retirement age seems like an easy way to relieve future debt, it is inconsistent with the goals of the program. These goals and the values are threatened by opponents who want to raise the retirement age. Opponents argue that Social Security limits liberty and choice by demanding a certain amount of income be invested into Social Security, when instead individuals could invest that money elsewhere at a higher risk for a higher return. However, that does not coalesce with the program goals; it is a minimal safety net. Opponents also argue that circumstances and demographic data show changes in society and the program needs to adapt, which entails raising the retirement age. Therefore, opponents rest their argument on longer life expectancy, so that makes it seem reasonable to raise the eligibility age. However, there are other ways to deal with this, such as relying on disability or a minimal payment. Even a slight increase in the eligibility age would kick millions of elderly people into poverty, many cannot support themselves through work.
It is arbitrary to raise the age because people who can work to support themselves will make more money if they decide to continue working instead of drawing out Social Security. A quarter of men are already waiting until after they are 66 years old before they retire. For the other 75% they need to utilize the program sooner. A more sensible reform would undo the way people who work and make high wages after 65 automatically get a Social Security benefit.