Tom Coburn: Solution for fixing Social Security ‘easy’

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.”


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  • thephranc

    I don’t want it solvent for 125 years I want it gone or at the very least back to being an option.

    If they really wanted to fix things they would make a SS cutoff in 2015. After that no one is eligible at all. Keep the SS tax rate the same and freeze benefits at current levels. Every one born before 2000 pays in and gets something out. Those born 2000 – 2015 pay in and get nothing back. Yes it is unfair to a few but it is whats best for the nation in the long run.

  • independentvoter

    First of all who says everyone who pays into SS will live LONGER?? do we have a date on our bodies that say when we go?? I have known people who paid into the system for 40 years and DIED after getting a check or two.. and guess what.. the government gets to KEEP that money.. NO.. IF you don’t like the way it is BUY the people out give them BACK their money..

  • notalone

    He is exactly right on. It should be there for only those that absolutly need it. Stop wanting the government to take care of you. Like I always told my kids, get off the couch, get out and do something worth while. They both paid their own ways through college and guess what they are just fine – in fact they are very successful and contribute to society not take away from it.

  • krjohnson

    Just let me out! I’ll take care of myself, I’ll even pay social security on any income I may have (in the future) over 200k, or whatever the “rich” threshold is these days, with no expectations of benefits and forfeit all the money I’ve put into the system so far. I just want to invest my future income instead of throwing it down the government rat-hole.

    My parents will make about a 1% annual return on SS, my generation will make about 0%, and my children will make about -1%. This needs to stop!

  • JoeJ

    Means testing is anathema to the liberal elite.

    It is a matter of personal greed – because they will be the ones who will fail the means test.

    They do not want to give more to poorer older folks then they get – beginning and end of story.

  • Patrick Henry

    The ONLY answer to fixing Social Security begins and ends with an optional privatization feature. The Democrats are scared to death of that option because it removes a huge pawn from their rhetorical game plan but it is the ONLY fair and just alternative.

    • independentvoter

      As long as they don’t demand we put it in a 401K to many people LOST money.. IT actually NOT SS that is the problem it’s the Politicians who took the money for other social projects.. IF they has kept it as intended for workers and their spouses thing would be FINE but they extended it than BORROWED the money in it.. THAT was the problem..

      • krjohnson

        I’d rather have an account at a credible brokerage than with the US government… With current projections I’m going to make literally no money by giving it to the government, I’d do better just putting it in a CD. My kids are going to lose money, essentially lending to the US government with a 1% penalty. Ridiculous.

        All the money they save in social security they HAVE to put in government bonds, it’s part of the law. And the government bond bubble is about to pop… they’re going to lose a lot more money than the stock market ever did. And the stock market will recover quickly, international funds and commodities stocks are way up this year, for example, and the blue chips are doing ok. Bonds may take decades to recover.

        I cannot believe how popular SS is. It’s a scheme to defraud retirement investors of their savings in order to subsidize government debt! Save your own money, you’ll end up with a lot more of it.

  • ajkrik

    Coburn should realize he does not have any authority to represent the solvency of SS for the next 125 years, give me a break. Talk about hyperbole.

    As to people who complain they will be “defrauded” for money they put into the system . . . cut the crap. If these people have been under the impression for the last 40 years that the FICA taxes they pay are somehow going into a pension fund or some saving instrument . . . they should be booted from the system. It has been an obvious FRAUD for 30 years . . . money in with the left hand, out with the right hand.

    If workers have continued to support the cowards that have been representing them for decades – afraid to address this fraud – they deserve what is going to happen. It’s a tax, always has been a tax and will continue to be a tax until the economy collapses. If I knew that the FICA taxes would only go to those seniors who NEED assistance, I’d gladly give up anything coming to me. But then I have never believed in Social Security and will not be hurt if it goes away.

  • rainmaker1145

    In other words, defraud those who put money into the system under the expectation that when they reached 65 they would receive their payout. It’s always easy to keep a Ponzi scheme going when you don’t have to pay out the winnings.

    There is a solution that doesn’t increase taxes nor reduce benefits and it puts Social Security on a permanent fiscal course of self-sustaining fiscal bliss within 12 years. You can read about it and the overhaul of our banking system that allows it to happen by downloading the FREE white paper on it at:


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