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We're taxing the poor to pay for the longer lives of the rich

Americans are living longer on average, but most of that added life expectancy is being lived by the rich. That's according to a new paper released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic research, wherein researchers showed that this trend has helped dramatically increase the Social-security and Medicare benefits paid to the rich, while the poor have seen their benefits decline or stagnate.

Why it matters: Entitlement reformers argue that Medicare and Social Security benefits should be delayed to reflect increases in life expectancy. But these data show that such a reform would disproportionately punish poorer Americans, who are already receiving a smaller share of benefits because life expectancy gains for that group have lagged.

Data: National Bureau of Economic Research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios