General Question

Pandora's avatar

What do you think would be a good retirement age for all elected officials?

Asked by Pandora (32245points) October 2nd, 2023

In another thread I wrote that 65 – 67 should be the retirement age for all elected officials and I think there needs to be a medium reached of 40 to 45 to represent citizens. Especially younger folk who have more at stake for their future. I feel the disconnect in Washington is because the medium age for the Senate is in the high 60’s and 58 for the House. I think after a certain age these old men and women just don’t want to let go of power and refuse to make way for the future generations. They stay till they drop dead of old age. By the way, I’m over 60. So I’m not trying to be biased against the elderly. I’m just thinking as someone in my 60’s, my thoughts are not the same as when I was in my 20’s and 30’s or 40’s even.

As we get older our priorities change and we forget the younger ones had or have the same priorities we had at that age.

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44 Answers

jca2's avatar

I think 75 should be max, so if you’re 71 you can run for a 4 year term, but anything older than 71 you shouldn’t be running. I think having someone retire at 75 is reasonable, although it’s against the civil service laws in my state. Not sure about other states.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I am not in favor of an a limit. I have known plenty of very sharp 85–90 year olds, friends of my parents. And I have known a bunch of 65 year olds who just aren’t with it at all.

Pandora's avatar

@elbanditoroso Do you truly consider them sharp or simply sharp for their age? I ask this because I feel the same thing happens as with young people.
If a young person is wise at 14, people are impressed. Then the person is so very smart. Same kid and make him equally the same. People are not impressed. Now take an older person in their 80’s or 90’s who lives alone and can manage, and people are in awe. A 30-year-old can do the same but no one is impressed. But to be in control of your life and to be able to hold a conversation at 90 becomes impressive because it’s not the norm. My daughter is always saying her friends are impressed with how informed I am and how creative I am and so on. What they don’t know or ever have seen is how I was in my 40s compared to now. I’m slower to learn new stuff. I could juggle several things all day every day and not forget a thing. But not now. Everything slows down for everyone. Even my daughter thinks I’m pretty sharp for someone my age when she compares her friend’s parents. She’s not saying I’m sharp compared to her.

jca2's avatar

My stepfather is very sharp at 75 and even works part time (for himself) but he says he can tell he’s not as quick as he was five or ten years ago. So while he may be able to do a job like a politician, he understands he’s not in the same shape mentally that he was in the past.

Then we have people like Mitch McConnell, who were ok one day and the next day they fall and they go downhill. Dianne Feinstein was the same – look at how she deteriorated recently. She shouldn’t have been working. Joe Biden I’m sure is not as sharp as he was ten years ago.

gorillapaws's avatar

Whenever they aren’t up to the job—cognitively.

It’s not age that’s the problem, it’s the corruption. These politicians have salaries in the low 6-figures, which is nothing to scoff at, but when their net worths are in the 8 or 9 figures—that’s only possible with fuckery and weaseling. Take out the money and these folks wouldn’t even be interested in 1 term.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if I want an age.

The military is forced to retire at a certain age, so it makes sense that political representatives would have to too. They have a little flexibility in the military, but more or less it’s age 64 and can be extended a few years. It might vary by branch, I’m not sure of the nitty gritty specifics.

75 seems reasonable. Another idea is it could be that the person needs to be elected by age 72.

I can’t imagine working full time in my 70’s. God forbid I wind up in a situation that I have to.

Zaku's avatar

I agree with @elbanditoroso above: there should not be an arbitrary age limit.

There should be an incompetency limit, though, and an ignorance limit, and a corruption limit.

Pandora's avatar

@Zaku but then there will be a whole issue about who does the test and if the exams are unfair. Will they be timed, or not timed? Some people test poorly. I think it’s just better to put an age limit. I personally think they all should have to pass a competency test and a full background like they do for regular government workers and be jailed if they lie about their background information and are not able to run for office ever. They should also be required to show all their earnings and sponsorships. I’m for the idea that they should wear outfits like nascar drivers with the labels of all their huge donors, so we know who and what we are buying.

seawulf575's avatar

I think @gorillapaws nailed it. My take is that age shouldn’t be an issue at all. That assumes that all old people are incapable of rational thought and we are just trying to nail down how old you are when that happens…how old is old?

The answer is to stop making this a lifetime career. Term limits would solve the issue and would limit how much corruption could be done by a single person in their tenure.

LostInParadise's avatar

Term limits might have an effect similar to age limits. My preference would be to have term limits, especially on the Supreme Court.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Make it flexible by tying it to the FRA, full retirement age, of Social Security – now 67.
Over the decades as the FRA is adjusted up, the mandatory retirement age will go up.

Bill1939's avatar

Age is a poor projector of a person’s capabilities and should not be used to limit people from running for office.

smudges's avatar

I retract my age limit of 68, and agree with term limits, which I’d already inserted into a different post. It’s not usually age that’s the problem, it’s monopolizing a position for years and years. Remember 100-year-old Strom Thurmond from S.C.? In the senate for 48 freakin’ years!

Forever_Free's avatar

Those who support age limits usually say that politicians holding office should be no more than 70 years old. That would make 71% of current U.S. senators ineligible to hold office.
It is unclear how age limits like that could even be implemented unless “Grandfathered” :)

jca2's avatar

@Forever_Free Yes, they’d have to be grandfathered for the term they’re in. If there were to be term limits, same thing, they’d have to be able to serve out the term that they’re in.

For those who say there are 80 and 90 year olds who are sharp as a tack, yes, there are always exceptions. They’re referred to as “outliers” as they’re not the typical. I volunteeer for a local office and there’s an employee there who is very sharp at age 93. However, I am betting even she is not as quick as she was at 30, and yes, she’s an outlier.

Forever_Free's avatar

Grandfather clause could allow for all people currently in to be allowed to continue as is. It could only apply to newly elected.
Similar to the Hockey Helmet rule in the NHL from a 1979 rule. Craig MacTavish was the last player to skate in the NHL without a helmet up till 1997

zenvelo's avatar

The thing about term limits- I want term limits for your representative or Senator, but not mine. I like my representative. McConnell should have been retired eight years ago.

SnipSnip's avatar

After 70 I would like to see cognitive testing. For most people, there is some decline by the age of 80.

jca2's avatar

Many people (not all, of course) also have physical ailments as they get older which affect their cognitive ability and they also may take medications for those physical ailments, which may affect their cognitive ability.

tinyfaery's avatar

Term limits not age restrictions.

jca2's avatar

Another one that it’s time to go, 90 years old, in office over 40 years

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Grassley

Zaku's avatar

@Pandora An age limit would be certainly unfair. A test might be somewhat unfair, but it could be pretty reasonable, I think.

zenvelo's avatar

@Zaku If we are going to test people, I would prefer a national citizenship test to vote.

smudges's avatar

@Zaku That would ever happen. People would have to agree on the test or who should develop it, the interpreters/scorers, and even having a test to begin with. Never gonna happen.

Forever_Free's avatar

No other major nation have age limits. Good luck fighting that stat.

jca2's avatar

Here’s a brief article about the ages of current leaders around the world:

https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/03/24/who-are-the-oldest-and-youngest-current-world-leaders/

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
smudges's avatar

@Forever_Free No other major nation have(sic) age limits.

Well there ya go! Let’s set an example for them!

Kropotkin's avatar

I’d retire all of them at whatever age they currently are.

filmfann's avatar

I was thinking about Elon Musk, Elizabeth Holmes, Sam Bankman-Fried, and the pharma bro were all youngish, and cratered the companies they were running.
Ya, Biden is old, but he is kicking their asses.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

There just needs to be a fitness for duty requirement. We all know too young and too old usually is not good but it’s hard to draw the line for being too old. Some people get dementia at 50. We certainly don’t want people too young and inexperienced either. We can draw a line there at like 30 or 35.

Forever_Free's avatar

@smudges The US has been far from leaders in these types of common sense issues.

smudges's avatar

@Forever_Free So you think that it is common sense not to have age limits? Sounds like most here would like to see either age limits or term limits. You think a 100 y.o. office holder is on par with a 50 y.o.?

@jca2 posted a good link.

Forever_Free's avatar

@smudges I am perfectly fine with age limits. It makes complete common sense.

smudges's avatar

^^ Oh, I took your comment the other way – that it’s common sense not to have age limits. My bad. ;)

tedibear's avatar

I would like to see term limits – no more than 25 years in either the House or Senate, and age limits – no older than 72 when starting their term. I would put the age restriction on the president. For the Supreme Court, I would say retire by 75.

Caravanfan's avatar

I am very much opposed to term limits and age limits. I think term limits have ruined California politics, and setting an arbitrary age limit is frankly just discriminatory.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan I’m reluctant about age limits, but willing to consider it. We do have a minimum age for president.

Caravanfan's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t agree with that either.

ragingloli's avatar

I doubt that even an 8 year old would do a worse job than the walking skeletons are doing right now.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

It’s completely okay to be somewhat age-discriminatory with this.

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