Today on Meet the Press, Senator Lindsey Graham showed significant political courage by taking a clear and unambiguous stand on reigning in entitlement spending, particularly on Social Security.
“I will not vote for the debt ceiling increase until I see a plan in place that will deal with our long-term debt obligations, starting with Social Security, a real bipartisan effort to make sure that Social Security stays solvent, adjusting the age, looking at means tests for benefits.”
When David Gregory pressed him on whether Republicans would support him in his call for a means-test and age adjustment for Social Security, Graham did not hedge or obfuscate like most politicians. He replied, “Everything’s on the table when it comes to making America fiscally sound.”
Reforming Social Security has become a veritable political shibboleth in American politics, even more so with the imminent retirement of baby boomers. But everyone knows that Social Security will go bankrupt unless government does one or more of the following: 1) increase the retirement age, 2) increase taxes, or 3) reduce benefits.
Senator Graham’s two suggestions are just common sense, but potentially and unfortunately political suicide. People are living longer today than they were in the 1930s and the retirement age should reflect this. Additionally, Social Security was originally intended to act as a social safety net, not as an inter-generational wealth transfer from a younger, poorer generation to an older, wealthier one. There is simply no reason for my generation to be funding Warren Buffett’s retirement.
Bravo, Senator Graham!