Sen. Lindsey Graham Monday referred to President Barack Obama as "small-minded" because of his refusal so far in budget negotiations to offer any sweeping reforms to Medicare and Social Security to help control federal spending.
"My biggest problem with President Obama is that he is a small-minded president in big times," the South Carolina Republican told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Monday night, adding that the White House proposal to increase the tax rate on the wealthy from 35 percent to 39.6 percent "doesn't get us out of debt."
Graham called on the president to reach for a broader agreement with congressional Republicans that rivals the bargain made by President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill in 1982 that increased taxes, cut spending, and extended the life of the Social Security program.
"If we adjusted the age of retirement over the next 30 years . . . and means-tested benefits, we could save Medicare and Social Security from insolvency," Graham said.
"I'm for generating more revenue only if we get entitlement reform," Graham added, reflecting the position held by most Republicans in the House and the Senate.
Graham said the longer the president waits to deal with entitlements, the harder it is to solve the debt problem, which the senator essentially blamed on the fact that "10,000 baby boomers" are retiring each day.
"If you do it now, you could save the benefit stream for those who need it the most, ask people like me to pay more and reduce my benefits because I can afford to take the hit," he said, offering his formula for extending the life of Social Security and Medicare.
"And the sooner you do it, the easier it is for us all."
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