Bean knew about proposals to raise the Social Security retirement age. “When I read it, I thought it was great news that we’re living longer, but it’s not great news financially,” he told me. “It’s not great news that they’re forcing people to work more years.” Then he talked about his father. “If they had made my father work another five years, it would have killed him.” He worked as an electrician who helped build nuclear power facilities. “He’s seventy-two now and retired seven years ago. To force someone like that to work five more years seems like a crime.”

Yet Bean said he could see both sides of the issue. But he did worry about fairness and changing the rules of the game: “To tell people at the end, we’ve changed the rules, that’s not fair at all.”

For more from Trudy Lieberman on Social Security and entitlement reform, click here.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.