In high-profile speech, Christie calls for Social Security retirement age to be raised
February 16th, 2011
02:55 PM ET
7 years ago

In high-profile speech, Christie calls for Social Security retirement age to be raised

Washington (CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie traveled to the nation's capital Wednesday with a message for Democrats and Republicans alike: the country is "teetering on the edge of disaster" unless the government's looming fiscal problems are confronted head-on.

"It's put up or shut up time," Christie declared in a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in downtown Washington.

Christie called on President Obama and members of Congress to stop tip-toeing around the need to reform entitlement spending and said bluntly that the retirement age for Social Security must be raised or the program risks becoming insolvent by 2037.

"There, I just said it!" Christie joked, tweaking other politicians who tend to avoid specifics when discussing Social Security reform. "I'm still standing here, and I did not vaporize."

Christie, who was elected in 2009, boasted about bringing "a new approach and new discipline" to Trenton, where he has famously butted heads with legislators over spending cuts and clashed with teacher's unions over school reform.

The governor said voters appreciate his blunt talk. "People are ready to hear the truth," he said.

He demanded that leaders in Washington address the "big things" - specifically fixing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - instead of putting them aside for someone else to deal with.

"The old playbook says lie, deceive, obfuscate, make it to the next election," he said. "Leadership today in America today in America has to be about doing the big things and being courageous. That's what it has to be about."

Christie has insisted over and over again that he has no plans to run for the White House in 2012 despite having a loyal following among Republicans who admire his brash style and efforts to trim a bloated budget in New Jersey.

But Christie, addressing a standing-room only crowd peppered with reporters from major newspapers and television networks, sounded very much like a politician ramping up his national profile.

"In Jersey they call me impatient," he said. "Ladies and gentleman, I think it's time for some impatience in America."

After his speech, Christie took several questions from reporters and audience members. Not surprisingly, Christie was asked right off the bat if he would consider running for president.

Christie admitted that there is room for him to run - "I am not stupid," he noted. "I see the opportunity. I see it." - but he said that's not reason enough to take the plunge.

"You have to believe in your heart and in your mind that you are ready and I don't believe that in myself right now," he said. "So that's why I said I won't run and I can't imagine that changing."

Democrats dismissed Christie's talk as empty rhetoric.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, accused Christie of pursuing "fiscally reckless" policies like cutting school funding.

"The issue of budget management deserves a serious discussion, not merely a set of slick 'tough guy' sound bites," O'Malley said in a statement. "And as the nation's governors are set to convene in Washington next week, it's an issue we look forward to debating."

Filed under: 2012 • Chris Christie
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    Return tax rates to the 2000 levels and get out of the two Bush wars.

    Then, Mr. Christie, you can shut up.

    February 16, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. wwf

    Yeah right. Now tell me what are those who are closing in on retirement and getting layed off going to do. Find another job after they have been let go from a job that they worked at for over 15 years or more? Tell me all about it Christie.

    February 16, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. james Miller

    HELL, why not !!! -–Most people can`t afford to retire anyway and without cost of living raises, what retirees get won`t pay the heating bill anyways----

    February 16, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The American workers and their employers have paid for their Social Security in full, and this money has been set aside in U.S. Government "Secure" Bonds. The problem with the republicans in power today is, they don't want to pay the people what they owe them. They would rather steal this money from the people, than cut their spending on their special interests. These neo-cons have sold their soul to the wealthy contributors to their "campaign funds". It is time to PAY THE PEOPLE WHAT YOU OWE THEM!!!

    February 16, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This man needs to seriously address his weight and I'm not trying to be funny. If he became President we'd have to pay for a new "Airforce One" to fit him because he wouldn't fit inside a regular one and he'd need a lift to enter the door of the aircraft, he can't take all those stairs. I like Crist but he's just too big.

    February 16, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. patnamm

    As Giulianni found out in 2007/2008 you can play all that tough guy talk in NY, NJ. Can you play it out in the Carolinas, Utah, Dakotas? Oh no, you can't

    February 16, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. AEK

    They're raising the minimum age to 80. See, the plan is to have everyone die off before they are actually eligible. Sound Republican logic, you know those folks who are already so rich they'll never need Social Security! And you thought they were just a bunch of money-grubbing corporate shills!

    February 16, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. james Miller

    AND raise taxes for those who have become " the super-rich" and can well afford to pay their fair, adjusted share.

    February 16, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. lynn

    More scare tactics from the Right, not blunt talk. He can work till 75, see if he likes it. The SS fund's come from payroll deductions, it's funded, but the politicians replaced it with their IOU's. It should have been invested safely, not squandered on military toys or bridges to nowhere.

    February 16, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Skokie

    Excuse me Christie I will not work my way to the grave.

    February 16, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Gsmith

    Christie is correct and it's a no brainer and I'm a Democrat. If one goes to the Social Security website and review it's history, Social Security started in the 1930's when the normal lifespan was around the mid-50's. It's now in the upper 70's and climbing. The magical age of 65 as retiirement was established in Germany by Bismark in the late 1890's.

    We need to recalibrate Social Security to reflect today's conditions on many levels.

    February 16, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Glen Lathamlen

    I would like to punch Governor Christie in his fat-azz face. He's no rising star in the GOP. he is an idiot who makes stupid proposals that most people will not tolerate. Raising the retirement age so many of us die before we can collect our pensions and social security? This is why I don't volunteer anything. Not for this or anything the U.S. and state
    goverments propose. I am tired of being bleed dry! I can't enjoy my life because I am too busy giving the government
    my hard-earned money!

    February 16, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. fayse

    Why dosen't Mr. Christie tell the people the truth? 65 is no longer the magic number for drawing social Security. I have a friend who is 63 her retirement age is 66. For those born later than 1948 the age of eligibility to draw Socical Security advances by several months for each year. Check this out with the Social Security Administration, The real drain on Social Security are those who draw early Social Security for reasons like Bi-Polar, obesity, among other things.

    February 16, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Zip

    And then, he finished the buffet single handedly. Several bystanders were hurt.

    February 16, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    Christie did not say anything DIFFERENT from what everyone else is saying!! He just uses his SIZE and BULLYING tactics to get OLD MESSAGES across. Just because he SAID it – LIKE OTHERS – and did not VAPORIZE, does this make him more or less important than anyone else??

    Christie handled situations in his OWN STATE that is not even CLOSE to the magnitude that needs to be done in Washington!! I am tired of the media making him MORE than what he really is at this time.

    On another note – he IS NOT ready to run for president and for all we know, it may be medical and/or other PERSONAL reasons why he chooses not to. I think I would be TIRED of hearing it if these were the facts.

    Maybe by 2016, Christie will be ready and more Americans will be able to "stomach" him!!! Maybe he wants to "accomplish" something as a Governor and not QUIT what he has set out to do – UNLIKE others we know!! Furthermore, the REAL reason why he is NOT going to run – besides his personal reasons – is the fact that he will NOT beat President Obama in 2016… Why WASTE the time and $$$$$??

    February 16, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    I'll make it easy on you Christie, just keep the old working until they die....or you can have people who make more than $90,000 a year start paying into it....

    February 16, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. carlos

    lose about 300 pounds, you look VERY disgusting.......people in NJ are regreting their vote for you.
    A BULLY you were, are and always will be,once again,obese boy, ou look disgusting and a tremendously bad influence onthe human race by being extremely fat.

    February 16, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Hotdog

    He is in deed a big wind bag. He could not carry his state in a national election. There's is no need to raise the age liimit to social security. What person in the right mind would cut funding for schools. You never hear the Republicans mention ending the two wars that we are engaged in. How much impact do you think that they have on our economy?

    February 16, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Squealy

    Ok, fine. Just give me back all the money I have put into the Social Security program over the years, with interest, immediately. Now, doesn't that seem fair?

    February 16, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Yeah, sscrew the middle-class! Let's pay them them all the same salaries they've been receiving for decades, give tax cuts to the rich BEFORE cutting gov't spending, watch with idiot smiles on our faces as the wealth gap grows exponentially and the middle-class starts shrinking as a result of having to rely more and more on debt products to survive, pretend the debt and deficit have anything to do with SS and then tell everyone they have to work a few years longer before they retire!!! Maybe, if we're lucky, that'll cut down on Medicare costs by killing people off with stress a little earlier!!!

    Screw this fat moron. Anyone with a brain in their head has reached their frickin limit with these conservative windbags who are, no doubt about and don't you get yourself condfused, out to kill the middle-class and scerw everyone possible EXCEPT for the ultra-wealthy and the giant corporate special interests that pay for their campaigns. SS is solvent through 2037 or so. You want to raise the retirement age? Well, WE WANT THE FICA CEILING FOR TAXABLE INCOME RAISED...PRONTO. GET ON TOP OF IT NOW!!!

    February 16, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Big_D

    Robbing from the old to give to the rich, how typical for a Republican

    That 3% tax cut wasn't worth this or all the lost jobs!

    February 16, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. ConservaFascists

    You ConservaFascists love sticking it to the little guy. Who better than Christie to cosign this ridiculous notion. You've already demonized and marginilized teachers in your own state. Leave Social Security alone. Where was all of this belt tightening when Bush ran up the deficit with his unfunded wars?

    "Leadership today in America today in America has to be about doing the big things and being courageous. That's what it has to be about."

    Our President is looking towards the future and proposing infrastructure projects, yet stupid and naive governors are refusing federal dollars that will put people back to work. Christie happens to be one of those knuckleheads.

    February 16, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    I'm higher on the food chain than you: GET IN MY BELLY!!!!!!
    I want my babybackbabybackbabybackbabybackbabyback ribs, I want my babybackbabybackbabybackbabybackbabyback ribs.

    Oh, he's not auditioning to be a stunt double for Mike Myers? He's about as credible.

    February 16, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Papasan in AZ

    Time to go on a diet...

    Stay away from the Pork Roll Sandwiches!

    February 16, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Democrat who likes Christie

    I have been a democrat my entire life, but I have to be honest, I like Chris Christie, he speaks the honest truth, I have never heard a politician speak the way he does, without fear of backlash or offending anyone. You know what, I would like to have Social Security and Medicare around when I become a senior, and if we don't do something about them they won't be. Obama's answer to Medicare is to cut half a trillion dollars from senior citizens mediicare?????? My mother is already suffering because of it. I voted for Christie in New Jersey and I will vote for him for president if he runs.

    February 16, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
1 2 3