Skip to comments.Marco Rubio’s Right on Social Security
Posted on 05/15/2014 7:01:56 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The funny thing about third rails in politics is that there are many of them. Senator Marco Rubio seized two important ones on Tuesday. If the quality of his ideas this week are any indication, we believe hell live to do so again.
His comprehensive speech addressed how the federal government ought to support the elderly, laying out a plan to shore up Social Security and explaining and endorsing Paul Ryans approach to Medicare reform.
The two key planks to Rubios Social Security proposal are a gradual increase in the retirement age, tied to increases in American life expectancy, and a change to the growth of benefits. He wants middle- and high-income Americans to see their benefits grow more slowly and the poor to see their benefits grow more quickly. He also would eliminate payroll taxes for workers over the age of 65 and eliminate an antiquated reduction in benefits for beneficiaries who opt into the program early but keep working.
Undergirding these ideas is a positive conservative vision for Social Security. Explaining that it has served his family well, Rubio argued Social Security ought to be a strong, reliable safety net that encourages, not discourages, work and economic prosperity. And with millions of seniors still living in poverty, the system ought to be more generous for those who are still slipping through the cracks.
Parts of the 80-year old Social Security system, including its earnings test for retirees aged 62 to 65, are actually structured to push Americans out of the workforce. Economists once thought that getting older workers to quit was a good way to create jobs for younger workers, an idea that has since been entirely discredited. People who are well enough and willing to work through their 60s and into their 70s should be encouraged to do so especially since our country has an aging population and shrinking labor-force participation.
Stronger economic growth, as Rubio explained, is the best way to help close the gaping hole in Social Securitys budget picture. But on its current trajectory, the programs trust fund will be exhausted, and benefits will be legally cut by 25 percent, just a couple years after Senator Rubio reaches retirement. As the program consumes an ever-larger portion of the federal budget, hes right to suggest adjusting the growth of its benefits now. Without more specifics, its hard to say if Rubios ideas will bring the program into actuarial balance for the long term. But it would certainly close much of the funding gap, even if it doesnt go all the way.
The Left, meanwhile, is increasingly suggesting that we open the gap wider. Senator Elizabeth Warren, whod like to adopt a more generous (and highly unreliable) way of adjusting benefits for inflation, has offered no explanation of how shed pay for it. She argues that Americans are undersaving for retirement which is true, though its not as serious a problem as she believes and suggests averting the crisis by having the government pretend to save for them. Rubio has a better answer here, to open up the efficient, lightly subsidized Thrift Savings Plan, a kind of 401(k) for federal employees, to Americans whose employers dont offer a retirement plan. Plenty more can be done to encourage savings, but its one of the cheapest ways to help make the working class into asset owners and savers.
If Democrats just want to preserve Social Security as is without the kind of changes Rubio has proposed, it will soon mean ruinous new taxes, or less spending on proper federal priorities just to feed the welfare state. Which typifies much of the domestic-policy thinking of American liberals: defensive, myopic, and uncreative. Marco Rubios conservatism is just the opposite.
If the polls are correct and Mark Pryor manages to rise from the electoral dead by attacking Cotton for supporting SS reform, you can kiss any potential SS reform goodbye.
Terrified Pubbies will not go anywhere near it.
Eventually the “reform” will be Liz Warren’s idea to extend FICA taxes to every penny of income.
What a RINO joke
RE: What a RINO joke
What about his SS proposal?
Undergirding these ideas is a positive conservative vision for Social Security.Is that anything like the so-called conservative case for gay marriage that was being bandied about last year?
greece, here we come
We in Florida have learned that Marco will say pretty much anything to get elected.
That those who put the most in should get the least back? and those who put in very little should see benefits skyrocket?
A brand new welfare scheme.
Not a conservative approach at all.
I’d support those approaches on SS too. Good for Rubio, willing to express a complicated idea clearly on a sensitive issue.
I was going by what the article said
Rubio’s making an unsupported assumption and attempting to buttress that weakness with a pure appeal to emotion with the “stick to the wealthy” two-tier plan.
The unsupported assumption is about the increasing lifespan continuing. With O’Care in place, I find that to be lacking in evidence. In addition, anything that assumes a straight line into the future better have a load of facts behind it.
The class-envy appeal to emotion is simply base politics with the two-tier plan. If the money is withheld at the same rate, I don’t see they have a leg to stand on for the payout to be different.
What he really said and every congress person agrees ....."If you had died like you were supposed to at age 65 1/2 according to the SS Plan, we wouldn't be in this mess."
I just don’t include Social Security in the “Welfare State” and to think that 1400 dollars is a lot of money for working 50 years is quite insane. Sorry the reason that Social Security is a mess is because Congress raided the slush fund or whatever you call it. They should have to recoup all that money themselves. Thieves.
Eventually the reform will be Liz Warrens idea to extend FICA taxes to every penny of income.
I would just be glad when my Boss stops coming out in July and says to all of us, well I begin my “raise from now until the end of the year”....he finished paying the max to Social Security while the rest of us continue to pay for the rest of the year. Now I am not saying that he should pay more. All I am saying is he should shut the heck up.
Imagine if the 15% of your income (7.5% from you and 7.5% from your employer) taken for FICA were invested in conventional investment instruments.
If you worked for 40 years between ages 20 and 65, you’d be a millionaire at retirement.
In just 20 years, I’m halfway there just applying 4% with employer matching to a 401K.
Maybe he didn't, but the article says: " He wants middle- and high-income Americans to see their benefits grow more slowly and the poor to see their benefits grow more quickly. "
How is that idea anything other than redistribution/welfare?
Yup. And then it'll be means tested on the recipients' end. Social Security is quickly becoming welfare.