MARCH 1, 1960
WASHINGTON—The President's trip continues triumphantly and we will hope that all the goodwill engendered on the trip will really mean an easier solution to the economic questions which will sometime have to be discussed.
It is nice to know that Cairo denied any movement of troops along Israel's borders, but I must say that this denial does not give me any great reassurance.
Another piece of news which I am sure everyone has greeted with pleasure is the announcement of Princess Margaret's betrothal to Anthony Robert Armstrong-Jones. Royalty does not have too easy a time in having any kind of a private life, and so it is not surprising that they tried to keep their romance a secret but it is indeed surprising that they succeeded in doing so. Everyone will wish these charming young people a happy married life.
Now to return to a domestic question which seems to me really to require prompt action. I quote in part here from a letter I have just received. Similar letters have been sent to a number of Congressmen. Perhaps many of them do not feel that they can take up the cudgels for the aging, but I think the public will have sympathy for the story told in this letter:
"In recent years I witnessed a few tragedies. These unhappy events—suicides—occurred to persons who age was over 60 but under 65. In all these cases the persons involved, because of their age, were unable to secure jobs. As the result, their lives turned into a constant misery. As you know, it is indeed next to impossible to secure steady employment if one is over 60 years old and does not have highly specialized training.
"Having these tragic cases in mind I write this letter inquiring what, according to you, could be done in order in future time to avoid similar situations.
"In some foreign countries like Western Germany and Mexico if a person is unemployed one year the retiring Social Security age of 65 is lowered to 60 (pages 12 and 18, Social Security Programs throughout the World, 1958, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington 25, D.C.). Maybe something similar could be adopted in our country as well. Maybe if a person, at 62, during one year in spite of all efforts cannot secure a job, the Social Security retiring age of 65 years could be in a particular case lowered to 62, the present required age for women.
"In the name of some of my friends as well as in my own we ask you to let us know at your earliest convenience your opinion regarding this problem."
This is a problem that comes to many of us as we move around the country, and I think all legislation should be administered with some flexibility. I realize that the minute one introduces the element of flexibility one also introduces the element of possible abuse. But, on the whole, it seems to me better to run that risk than to see the hardships which any one of us can discover attendant on the effort made by older people to find work before they are eligible for Social Security.