Reforming Social Security has been called the third rail of American politics, one that politicians are reluctant to discuss. When they do, as Republican Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has tried, they’re demonized. But solving shortfalls for this entitlement programs might not be as difficult as it has been made out to be.
On Tuesday’s “Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell asked Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn about the dark looming threat over the federal government’s fiscal situation, the “sacred cow” entitlements. She asked Coburn about his “easy” fix for Social Security.
“You mentioned a lot of other programs where there are not metrics,” O’Donnell said. “But a lot of people think focusing on that is really a fiscal sideshow that what many members of Congress need to be focused on are these sacred cows, as Joe [Scarborough] put it — Medicare, number one, Medicaid and then Social Security. You said Social Security is an easy one. What is the easy solution there?”
With a series of tweaks to the program – changing the age requirements and targeting those who need it, Coburn said he could extend the solvency of the program for another 125 years.
“Well, I think the easy solution is slowly raise the age of retirement as our life expectancy has gone up,” Coburn said. “That’s what we have done in the past, help those that are the poorest that Social Security really doesn’t supplement now. One of the things the debt commission did was when you’re 85 or 87 and starting to run out of your funds, give a little bump there, change the bend curves in it to where the wealthiest receive a little bit less than what they would have. We can do all those things without raising taxes on anybody and make Social Security solvent for 125 years.”