Christie Urges Cutting Federal Entitlements

Sunday, 27 Feb 2011 03:14 PM

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the American people “are ready for a frank, adult conversation” about raising the retirement age and controlling the costs of government health-care programs.

The costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid represent the “overall majority” of the nation’s spending problem, Christie said today on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” Unless officials deal with controlling them “those three are going to eat up everything else.”

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute last week, the first-term Republican governor suggested raising the retirement age for Social Security, which consumes about 20 percent of the federal budget.

“Oh, ho, I just said it, and I’m still standing here. I did not vaporize into the carpeting,” he said in his speech.

Those born in 1960 and later can receive the maximum benefit at 67, according to the Social Security Administration.

The U.S. deficit will widen this year to $1.6 trillion, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, said in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal sent to Congress on Feb. 14.

Politicians should publicly discuss raising the retirement age and other politically controversial moves to help rein in the deficit, Christie, 48, said today.

“Stop being afraid and stop selling the people of America short,” said Christie, who was in Washington attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

--Editors: Stephen Merelman, Romaine Bostick

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy Jones in Chicago at tjones58@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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