Perspective — and timing — is everything.

In 1930, five years before Social Security legislation was passed, the average life expectancy of U.S. citizens was 59.7 years. Thus, the math worked out somewhat favorably for a program designed to pay workers a continuing income after retirement at age 65. The number of people who could statistically expect to live long enough to actually collect was pretty limited, and the percentage of people older than 65 was less than 6%.

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