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Santorum pushing for immediate cuts to Social Security



Published: Fri, January 6, 2012 @ 8:03 p.m.

KEENE, N.H. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called Friday for immediate cuts to Social Security benefits, risking the wrath of older voters and countless others who balk at changes to the entitlement program.

"We can't wait 10 years," even though "everybody wants to," Santorum told a crowd while campaigning in New Hampshire and looking to set himself apart from his Republican rivals four days before the New Hampshire primary.

Most of his opponents have advocated phasing in a reduction and say immediate cuts would be too big a shock to current and soon-to-be retirees.

Politicians typically suggest phase-in periods of up to a decade when broaching the topic of changing Social Security to avoid grievous consequences from angering older voters.

Clearly aware of the risks, Santorum argued that everyone must sacrifice now because the nation's "house is on fire" with soaring federal debt. He argued that he is being courageous and honest by telling Americans they can't afford to wait to rein in Social Security's growing costs. And he said he anticipated possible attack ads on his position.

He made a similar pitch last week in Fort Dodge, Iowa, when he was getting little attention in the GOP race - and before he came from the back of the pack to nearly win the Iowa caucuses.

At that event, Santorum said: "The Democratic National Committee is going to say, 'Ah, ... he's for changing benefits now.' Yes, I am. Yes, I am."

"We need to change benefits for everybody now," Santorum said at the time. "Is everybody going to take a little bit of a hit? No, but a lot of people will."

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, says changes should include a higher eligibility age to qualify for Social Security benefits, and tighter restrictions on benefits for upper-income people. Americans now qualify for reduced Social Security benefits at age 62 and full benefits at 66, soon to rise to 67.

Social Security pays proportionately higher benefits to low-income people. But Santorum says wealthy retirees' proportionate benefits should be trimmed further. He did not offer details.

This week, he told New Hampshire audiences that Americans over 65 were society's poorest age group in 1937, when Social Security was created. Now that group is the wealthiest, he said.


Comments

1Muskiemouth(17 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

`Social Security is not an entitlement even though Republicans love to tar it with that brush. Payments to Social Security deducted from paychecks and matching payments from one's employer are invested, interest is earned, and then payed back to workers when they retire. Just like many private plans. By law, those investments are in guaranteed securities, not the stock market. That's why it has worked since it started. It has an independent budget, separate from the rest of government. It's surplus funds, (100 billion dollars a year recently,) are loaned, by law, to the government and paid back with interest. This is The Social Security Trust Fund with more than a 2.5 trillion dollar balance in 2011. If Congressional members were participants of Social Security there would be no talk of Ponzi schemes and no plans except to improve it, certainly not risk it in the stock market. The idea of all that cash money available to private interests but denied to them by FDR and the Democrats keeps them awake at night, not the loss of that vital resource to US citizens. Ask your grandparents if Social Security should be messed with.

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2palbubba(664 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

It is not the Republicans painting Social Security as an entitlement, it is the media. No one or group of people could ever paint the system as an entitlement without the media 's complicity. All they would have to do is explain in each article that anyone paints Social Security as entitlement is to explain in the article that it is not. That would show the person saying that it is as the dishonest person that they obviously are. Social Security was never intended to be a slush fund fo overspending politicians, or as a source of funds for illegal (yes illegal not undocumented) aliens. That is the first place to cut IMMEDIATELY..

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3CompMan(125 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Santorum need not apply to be on the Republican ballot in Ohio. Changes yes but not scorched earth policies.

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4UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Everybody must sacrifice except the richest 1% according to the Republicans? Santorum is done. Seniors will unite to defeat this fool. Social Security was earned by us over our working lifetimes and we deserve it in retirement. It's not an entitlement, it was earned by hard work.

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5samIam(213 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Santorum
Well this is one Republican that won't be voting for the
Santorum agenda or Obama Agenda either

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6HappyBob(285 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

To Muskiemouth: Re your comment "If Congressional members were participants of Social Security ...".
Can you tell us how many congressional members are NOT participants?

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7Muskiemouth(17 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Bob, none of them participate. Their pensions are through Federal Employees Retirement System, FERS. They pay into that instead of Social Security.

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8Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Funny how many who claim the tired old, " the rich aren't paying their fair share!" aren't paying any Federal income tax.

The top 10% earners pay >70% of Federal income taxes. The sponge has been squeezed dry. Taking 100% of all of the rich's assets/income makes a tiny impact in the massive government budget. So why do the Democratic-Socialists claim that the problem is the evil rich folk....let me see....duh, maybe its because they want your vote?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1j-cC...

http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-in...

We are >$15T in debt. So the theory is that it is OK to expect our grandkids to pay for our stuff (plus interest) and their stuff? Screw 'em. We're more important than them, right?!

I have paid plenty of $$ in social security and in Federal taxes. I expect no entitlements in return. That money was spent before it was even confiscated from my check. That is the priced I pay for living in a quasi-socialist / Greece-lite nation with plenty of "useful idiots" to keep the aristocracy entrenched in power.

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9HappyBob(285 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

To Muskiemouth:
Google "Do members of congress participate insocial security?"

from the ssa website:
"Question 5: Is it true that members of Congress DO NOT have to pay into Social Security?

A: No, it is not true. All members of Congress, the President and Vice President, Federal judges, and most political appointees, were covered under the Social Security program starting in January 1984. THEY PAY INTO THE SYSTEM JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Thus all members of Congress, no matter how long they have been in office, have been paying into the Social Security system since January 1984.

Try Factcheck, try snopes, the answer is the same.

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10Muskiemouth(17 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the correction Bob. If you knew that, why didn't you share that information in your first comment?

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