Boehner: A Republican Congress might try to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 for some people

posted at 5:42 pm on June 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

In which the would-be Speaker dances on the third rail. In a sane world, the only debate here would be over how far we should raise it. Chuck Hagel proposed doing it years ago, when Bush was pushing his privatization initiative, and no wonder: Social Security will be massively underfunded in the years ahead and the national debt, according to Steny Hoyer, is now a serious national security problem. Gotta get those costs down ASAP — like the French have! But as I say, that’s in a sane world. In our world, this will produce a bunch of uncomfortable glances among GOP strategists and a flood of crocodile tears from Democrats, who see something they can demagogue in the fall to try to mitigate the beating they’re going to take among older voters.

I give him credit for honesty, though, notwithstanding the risk. An important election will always be right around the corner; if that’s the excuse for not facing up to hard realities, we’ll never face them.

“We’re all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected,” Boehner said in a meeting with the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “And I think that raising the retirement age — going out 20 years, so you’re not affecting anyone close to retirement — and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken.”…

Boehner also floated several other reforms to Social Security, paired with raising the retirement age, to make it more solvent. Boehner said benefits should be tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of wage inflation, and he suggested reducing or eliminating benefits to Americans with a “substantial non-Social Security income” while retired.

“We just need to be honest with people,” he said. “I’m not suggesting it’s going to be easy, but I think if we did those three things, you’d pretty well solve the problem.”

Not-so-fun fact: Raising the retirement age to 70 and then having it track increasing life expectancy (as Reason contributor Veronique de Rugy recommends) will only put a dent of 30 percent in the Social Security shortfall over the next 75 years. More will have to be done, but it’s a start. Is the public ready for it, though? Take a drink, then eyeball the numbers in this new Pew poll about austerity measures voters might accept in order to bring state budgets back into something resembling solvency. They don’t want new taxes, but they don’t want cuts to services either. Time to start planting money trees, America.

Via Breitbart, here’s Cantor assuring The One per his comments at the G20 that the GOP isn’t bluffing when it comes to reducing the debt. Given Boehner’s willingness to take on Social Security, I almost believe him.


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Do it.

scotash on June 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

People who retire in their sixties are boring old people before their time. Just as life expectancy has increase so has good health into our older years.

It is silly to retire so young if one is in good health.
Work keeps your mind young, keeps you involved in life.

Raise the age. Please.

The Republicans better be serious about austerity. And they better get some PR help to sell it. Because without it we will lose everything worthwhile about a free society.

petunia on June 30, 2010 at 2:44 AM

Two things

1. The problem is not people retiring at 65 or 67. The problem is government employees who retire in their 40s and 50s and then spend 30-40 years collecting a pension as well as working a second career.

2. 70 is fine. But you don’t announce it before an election. You get elected and then do it. Have the Repubs learned nothing from Obama?

angryed on June 30, 2010 at 7:49 AM

The electorate’s commitment to raising the age of eligibility for social security separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls.

WordsMatter on June 30, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Raise the retirement age. We are facing talent shortages in the workforce. Today we have people taking social Security because they can’t find work.

seven on June 30, 2010 at 9:13 AM

People who retire in their sixties are boring old people before their time. Just as life expectancy has increase so has good health into our older years.

It is silly to retire so young if one is in good health.
Work keeps your mind young, keeps you involved in life.

Raise the age. Please.

The Republicans better be serious about austerity. And they better get some PR help to sell it. Because without it we will lose everything worthwhile about a free society.

petunia on June 30, 2010 at 2:44 AM

–How about companies actually being willing to hire people in their 50s or 60s? Many companies refuse to do that.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 9:24 AM

I’ve voted Republican my entire life, but if they raise the social security age beyond the 65/67 that is already in place, just a couple of years before my retirement age, then I would seriously have to rethink my support of the GOP. Bad idea.

Old Fritz on June 30, 2010 at 10:12 AM

–How about companies actually being willing to hire people in their 50s or 60s? Many companies refuse to do that.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 9:24 AM

How many years in jail should you get for not hiring the 60 year old versus the 20 year old?

As a 50 year old with tremendous experience, but an older and a much more “experienced” body, I hire youth when I need it and experience when I need it. And the Government should not decide which I need.

barnone on June 30, 2010 at 10:28 AM

I watched Fox the other day and I don’t recall who was on, but they mentioned that if you are 65, the odds are that you will live until 95. When you eliminate infant mortality and teen accidents etc. and you have lived until 65, the average person lives for 30 more years.

What I have heard the plan is; for people that are under 45, the healthy retirement age will be raised to something else (70?). However, if you have any form of disability then you would retire earlier.

They are also looking at a means test. For those who are 45 years old when enacted, when they retire, if they have assets or income over a threshold, then their SS benefits would be reduced or eliminated.

I also want to see the elimination of SS going to non-citizens.

barnone on June 30, 2010 at 10:34 AM

How many years in jail should you get for not hiring the 60 year old versus the 20 year old?

As a 50 year old with tremendous experience, but an older and a much more “experienced” body, I hire youth when I need it and experience when I need it. And the Government should not decide which I need.

barnone on June 30, 2010 at 10:28 AM

–You know that there are laws that prohibit you from hiring people based on age. If it were up to me, you should get 10 years in prison and lose your business and personal assets if you’re guilty of violating those laws.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 11:14 AM

When we read the entire quote, it sounds VERY reasonable. If the retirement age is increased from 65 to 70 over 20 years, they could raise it by three months per year.

As a 54-year-old, this sounds great–why should I take money I won’t need at age 65, then have the program go bankrupt when I’m 90 and really CAN’T work?

The question is, how many voters think this way? Boehner is telling the truth (as was George W. Bush in 2005), but many people believe they are “entitled” to promises made back in the 1930′s, when the average life expectancy was 47 years, and only a lucky few lived past 65 years old. Like the Fort Myers lady who thought Obama would pay her mortgage. When the AVERAGE person lives to be 80, there simply isn’t enough tax money to go around.

Even the French have gotten the lesson–sacre bleu–by raising their retirement age…from 60 to 62!

Social Security reform is definitely needed, but needs to be explained well. We need some figures and charts–what happens if we do, what happens if we don’t.

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 11:21 AM

–How about companies actually being willing to hire people in their 50s or 60s? Many companies refuse to do that.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 9:24 AM

If the Social Security retirement age was higher, a person in his/her 60′s would keep working longer, and be a better long-term investment. Lots of experience, children are probably on their own, a great hire if there are no health issues.

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

If the Social Security retirement age was higher, a person in his/her 60’s would keep working longer, and be a better long-term investment. Lots of experience, children are probably on their own, a great hire if there are no health issues.

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

I’m 50+ and have a bunch of friends who also are 50+. One of them is a consultant because no company will hire him as an employee even though he has 25 years of significant procurement experience, which most companies should find useful. There is real age discrimination in most large companies.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM

I’m not giving up anything!!! I am entitled to whatever this country owes me! And when it runs out of money, I’m going to violently protest, maybe burn a bank, kill a few innocent people to make sure they somehow pay my benefits!!! Greek it up, baby!

kcluva on June 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

They HAVE to do this.

Fixing 30% of the medicare problem is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a completely logical step that is only assailable by those who would be affected being selfish. I’m 45, so I think I can say that. I will sign up for “retirement at 70+”, without any reservation at all.

This is the most logical step they can take, and it will be easier than they think to sell it. The public WILL approve of this. Just don’t dilute it by mixing it with other steps that are more objectionable and divisive. Get this one passed on it’s own.

This is one of the easier of the difficult steps that we will need to take on the road to recovery. Let’s begin.

connertown on June 30, 2010 at 12:52 PM

I watched Fox the other day and I don’t recall who was on, but they mentioned that if you are 65, the odds are that you will live until 95.

barnone on June 30, 2010 at 10:34 AM

As I mentioned to someone a while back, assuming ~20 is when people start full-time employment, retiring at 65 and living until ~95 means 50 years (over half your lifetime) not working and being productive. Can any society really support that?

taznar on June 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM

I’m 50+ and have a bunch of friends who also are 50+. One of them is a consultant because no company will hire him as an employee even though he has 25 years of significant procurement experience, which most companies should find useful. There is real age discrimination in most large companies.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM

AnninCA, is that you?

Sounds like a profitable sideline for a guy with a law degree. What the hell are you doing hanging out here?

DrSteve on June 30, 2010 at 2:36 PM

How many years in jail should you get for not hiring the 60 year old versus the 20 year old?

As a 50 year old with tremendous experience, but an older and a much more “experienced” body, I hire youth when I need it and experience when I need it. And the Government should not decide which I need.
barnone on June 30, 2010 at 10:28 AM

–You know that there are laws that prohibit you from hiring people based on age. Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 11:14 AM

So misleading. Barnone didn’t say he was making hiring decisions based solely on age. He said he hires experience when he needs it. It’s perfectly legitimate to base hiring decisions on experience (or lack thereof, which usually means a lower salary).

LASue on June 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Sounds like a profitable sideline for a guy with a law degree. What the hell are you doing hanging out here?

DrSteve on June 30, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Your legal perception is as lousy as your attempt at psychic name-detection.

The long and short of it: age discrimination is almost impossible to prove, and it’s hard to whip up sympathy for hiring young energetic employees instead of old fogeys. (at least that’s the general perception)

Dark-Star on June 30, 2010 at 4:23 PM

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