COMMENT: Older Americans face special economic gripe | Opinion
Some of this increase is good news, especially for college graduates who can earn a living wage. But the myth of the happy older worker obscures a glaring reality: millions of Americans have to toil through their senior years just to stay afloat.
As the Department of Labor says, “The economic downturn, changing perceptions of retirement, increased workplace flexibility and the aging ‘baby boom’ generation are all contributing to people working longer. “
But the ministry’s list is incomplete. The erosion of pensions is a major force that is forcing people to work longer.
Although a handful of older workers occupy the country’s most important jobs – in the Oval Office, Congress and the Supreme Court – millions more work in unsafe conditions for meager pay (think warehouse work and health care, and night shifts). There is little evidence-based policy development to address this problem.
The Department of Labor must research, coordinate, educate, and advocate for the growing aging workforce in the United States. To address these critical challenges, President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh are expected to create an office for older workers.
An office for older workers would identify, investigate and interpret the concerns of this population and coordinate federal and state policies to assist them.