Longtime Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tells Newsmax that Social Security is in a “crisis” that could lead to a cut in benefits unless legislators find a way to reduce the growth of spending — and she says she has a plan that would do just that.
The Texas Republican also has proposed a bill she asserts could save billions of dollars by delaying implementation of Obamacare until the courts rule on its constitutionality.
Hutchison took office after winning a special election in 1993, becoming the first woman to represent Texas in the Senate, and was re-elected three times. After running unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for governor in Texas in 2010, she announced that she will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2012.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Hutchison discussed her Defend and Save Social Security Act, which she says will save $416 billion over 10 years without raising taxes or cutting benefits.
“Clearly we are in a crisis that we can meet right now with gradual changes,” she says.
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“If we wait, the Social Security trustees say that in 2036 the bottom falls out. They will have to cut benefits 23 percent. We can avoid that with the plan I have put forward, which does not raise taxes on anyone and never cuts core benefits.
“What it does is raise the retirement age gradually three months a year starting in 2016 so the age will be 69 in 2027. The early retirement age would go to 64 in 2023. That will make Social Security solid for 75 years.
“In addition you would lower the cost of living increase by 1 percent. So if inflation is 2 percent, you would get a cost of living adjustment of 1 percent. That lowers the cost of living but it never lowers the core benefits.”
Hutchison says her plan is different from the Social Security reform proposal supported by Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Lindsey Graham, because their plan “would take the retirement age to 70 and means test benefits starting at a salary or income of $43,000.
“I don’t want to cut core benefits for anyone if we can avoid it.”
Hutchison points out that Vice President Joe Biden is leading a group trying to cut the federal budget by reducing discretionary spending, in an effort to secure enough congressional votes to raise the ceiling on federal debt.
She feels the Senate will not raise the debt ceiling “unless there are real spending cuts,” but the Biden group “can’t get enough cuts in discretionary spending to do what’s necessary to keep us from hitting that debt ceiling again. You’ve got to hit the entitlements by slowing the rate of growth,” and that includes Social Security.
Hutchison notes that she favors privatization of Social Security but didn’t include that in her plan because she doesn’t think it could pass in Congress.
A member of the Committee on Appropriations, Hutchison is proposing what she calls the Save the States Healthcare Act to delay implementation of Obamacare.
She tells Newsmax: “We have now this Obama healthcare that more and more people are trying to get out of. They’re trying to get waivers for it. We know it is in the courts and the constitutionality has been challenged, so why would we let our states and our businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars, probably billions, implementing a bill I think is flawed and I hope will be declared unconstitutional?
“Why not take a pause and let the states put a moratorium on implementing this bill? They don’t have the option of doing that right now because there are fines, if the bill is declared constitutional, for not doing the implementation.
“So the only way we can give them relief is by the Save Our States Act, which would save the states the money they’re spending on implementation of a bill that I hope is unconstitutional.”
Hutchison also tells Newsmax the economy is flourishing in Texas because of steps taken by Gov. Rick Perry and past governors.
“We have a right to work state, we don’t have a state income tax, and we have good tort reform that was started with Gov. George Bush. I think Texas has put in place for the last 60 years a pro-business climate that has attracted jobs.
“I think Texas is the best place to do business in America.”
She declined to express support for any potential GOP presidential candidate, but says she wants a candidate who can beat Obama “because the economy he has given this country is a disaster.”
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