GOP senators propose raising age for Social Security benefits
April 13th, 2011
04:19 PM ET
11 years ago

GOP senators propose raising age for Social Security benefits

Washington (CNN) - On the day President Obama announced his vision for curbing the costs of entitlement programs and reining in the nation's deepening debt, three conservative Republican senators announced their plan to raise the eligibility age for Social Security to 70 while lowering monthly payments to upper-income retirees.

"There is no way in God's green Earth to save America from bankruptcy until you deal with entitlements," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, combined in the next twenty years, is going to absorb every dollar of revenue coming to this place. There will be no money left for anything else."

Under the plan, sponsored by Graham, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, the retirement age for full Social Security benefits would gradually increase to 70 in 2032. After that, the retirement age would be adjusted to match life expectancy. People who earned $43,000 or less on average over the years they worked would be exempt from means-testing while those who made more money would see their monthly payments lowered.

"Upper income Americans under our plan have to give up future benefits. Three, four hundred dollars a month," Graham said. "It's better for them to give up future benefits than it is to raise taxes on them now cause if you raise taxes on them now, some people will lose jobs."

Paul said the plan would keep Social Security solvent for generations without raising taxes or privatizing accounts. Both Paul and Graham support allowing private investment accounts as part of social security but acknowledge there's not enough support in Congress for that to pass.

"There's not enough votes for privatization and there's definitely not the votes for raising taxes," said Paul.

The Republicans' plan smacked into a political reality of its own this week, even before it was unveiled.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who controls the Senate floor, reiterated his belief that Social Security does not contribute to the nation's debt and therefore should not be part of the discussion on entitlement reform.

And in his speech Wednesday, Obama said, "Social Security is not the cause of our deficit" and while "it faces real long-term challenges in a country that is growing older" it must be strengthened "without slashing benefits for future generations."

Filed under: Social Security
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. L in OP FL

    So this is their solution to the whole deficit problem... people have to be older before they can seek their rightfully paid into benefits?! I can't believe they have yet again tried to raise this number. I am 44 years old and have been working since I was 16 and have been steadfully employed the entire time. I have paid A LOT into SS over time and I think I should not have to wait til I'm 70 to stop working and enjoy life for just a few years. I have paid into this! And they want to take that money and privatize it??!! I mean what are they thinking? Are they history illiterate? Don't they know what happened right before Bush left, or right after .. the stock market crashed!!! & they want to take OUR trust funds and put it into the free market so some fat cat can make $$ off the interest? When I should be able to get that $ and make interest off of it. Not the Fat Cats! This is ludicrous and the Republicans are seriously making buffoons of themselves right now. I hope nobody is falling for this crap!

    April 13, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Mike in Texas

    Raise the age by one year and raise the cap to 1 million. There are about 8 million millionaires in the U.S. If you took the difference between 1 million and the cap of $106,800 and multiplied that by the SS rate of 6.20% it would come out to $55,825 per person. Take that times 8 million and you end up with 446 billion dollars in revenue.

    April 13, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Tim

    I'm a big Democrat, but this is obvious. There is no way to fix social security without raising the age to 70. The reason we're in such trouble these days for social security is that its a politically dangerous thing to do, so politicians have been avoiding doing it for years. Social security was started back when the average life expectancy was around 65. Now its about 78. Taking that fact into account, no one should be surprised that the system is in trouble. We have got to raise the age to 70 or the whole system will fail.

    April 13, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Christian

    It is funny how the only tax cuts from the Bush era that are spoken about at those in the top 2%. Why is it that nobody talks about the fact that EVERYONE received tax cuts? Oh, it is because people are not willing to see the entire picture. One of the big issues I see is the fact there is not a indexing for the income threshhold. This is why the AMT constantly has to be "fixed" at the end of the CY so more middle class families are not pulled into the payment.


    April 13, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Steve Jackson

    Give me a good reason why the government wants the working people to work to an age they won't enjoy the last years of life! It is so working people can keep giving the government more pay and they can take a good retirement. Most of them would pass out if they had to do a honest half day of real work

    April 13, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Thankfully Independent
    If you want to deal with the economy, stupid, cut spending AND raise taxes. Doing half a job (cutting spending) just won't work.
    Really? Raising taxes improves the economy in your world? On earth, raising taxes kills an economy quickly and predictably. And unemployment goes up. Quickly and predictably. In our current situation, wouldn't that be stupid?

    April 13, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Christian

    Also, I would like for someone from the left to provide a definition of "fair share" when referring to taxes. While I agree that it is crazy that large companies like GE are not paying any 2010 income tax, I believe this is due to carry-forward losses from prior years, just like an individual can do with investment losses. Let's eliminate all tax loopholes on the corporate side, including things like farm subsidies, and eliminate deductions and refundable tax credits on the individual side. This will get that tax code clean and simple and EVERYONE should contirbute to the funding of the country.

    April 13, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. w l jones

    Many years ago congress and senator retired got thier retirement from government plus $18,ooo a year in social security no tell what they get now. Poor people have to make do with what the older people use to say my pennies.

    April 13, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. aaa

    Every time we have a issue with the budget we go back and mess around with Social Security. I think it is shame that people in our country could not retire with pride that they have done there job and deserve to rest. But people in congress tried epically Republicans who are the money people who do not care about the average American who has worked hard to keep the economy going but in the end ,end up ripped off. These is not a way to treat old and new retirees and it makes no sense raising the age limit. It will shameful to treat people these way when some of us at the expense of the voters we will be sitting looking pretty. Have respect for the working majority.

    April 13, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Judas

    This should all work out well for the Republicans. With the Republicans hellbent on repealing “Obamacare”, their penchant for de-regulation and their total lack of interest and action to reform healthcare during their majority years, they’ve coldly calculated that a significant majority of Americans will never live long enough to cash their first retirement check. But these clowns and their spouses will all do well in their senior years with their overstuffed pensions and lifetime healthcare being provided for them by the very taxpayers they’re trying to screw over now.

    April 13, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. rusty155

    If you Republican didn't borrow from SS and pay It back there wouldn't be a problem with SS. I pay in SS and medicare for fifty six year , so It Isn't that I'M asking for something for nothing I work hard all my life. I have the right to get It. Why don't you Republican offer half your pay and pay a1/3 of your health care and you will till be making more than most America are now. It really funny noe you people in congress and the Senate use too vote your self a raise every year be for President Obama put a freeze on Government pay. Why don't you Republican get smart for a change and do away with the BUSH TAX CUT. And the tea party are nothing but Corporate Drones and work for the KOCH'S BROTHER and a few other Billionaire or they make over250,000 a year. You know them Tea PARTY people that go all over America to go to these rally they drive really nice RV, they think when people started saying something about them than they started hiding them. The Thing here Is I wouldn't even afford the gas to drive one ,let a long own one. American people better wake up and get the Republican out of control of the congress or the Senate in 2012, be for we don't have anything. And do away with the TEA PARTY all together.

    April 13, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Anthony... proud tax payer

    And there goes the elderly vote for these Republicans..

    Just to be clear.. with an election looming in the next year and a half...
    exactly who their target demographic is...

    Alienate women... check!
    Alienate Teachers
    Alienate the working/middle class... check!
    Alienate the Gays... check!
    Alienate the Muslims... check!
    Alienate the Mexicans... check!
    Alienate Minorities(especially poor ones)... check!
    Alienate the basic Military core servicemen.. check!
    Alienate the ELDERLY

    Well I sure hope the Rich White Evangelical Uneducated NeoCon TeaParty Patriots outnumber the groups mentioned above if they plan on winning ANYTHING in 2012.

    April 13, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. carrotroot

    What company hires people over 60? Those jobs would be better filled by a younger healthier person.

    April 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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