Tags: GOP2016 | Social Security | chris christie | social security | retirement | benefits

Christie's Social Security Plan 'Not Smart Politics': Pundits

Christie's Social Security Plan 'Not Smart Politics': Pundits
(Matt Rainey/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 April 2015 11:50 AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's bold proposal for Social Security reform is a risky political move that likely will hurt more than help his chances in the 2016 GOP primary, according to The Washington Post and a bevy of other media that say the plan would work against him with two core constituencies: retirees and middle-aged blue-collar workers.

Christie has proposed gradually raising the retirement age by two months a year, beginning in 2022, until it reaches age 69, while also using "a less generous measure of inflation called the Chained Consumer Price Index to calculate retirees' benefits," according to the Post.

He would cut benefits for those making more than $80,000 a year and end them altogether for people making more than $200,000.

"He's acting foolishly and risks alienating retirees, who increasingly vote Republican," according to the Post. "The people who would be most affected — blue-collar workers in middle age — are also an important constituency for any prospective candidate."

Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum notes that a two-year retirement delay, from age 67 to 69, "forces the poor to work longer and effectively slashes their lifetime Social Security payout by nearly 15 percent."

"This is a huge reduction for anyone with a low income, and it's especially cruel since it would mostly target people who perform manual labor and have the hardest time working into their late 60s," Drum writes.

Even fellow Republican Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has voiced criticism of Christie’s plan. Huckabee told The Daily Caller last week that raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare and taking "wealthy seniors" off the rolls is an "insult" to Americans.

"I don’t know why Republicans want to insult Americans by pretending they don’t understand what their Social Security program and Medicare program is," Huckabee said.

"My entire life, as it is with every American, it was never an option for me to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

"That’s been taken out of my pay before I ever got the money. It wasn’t like I said, 'You know what, I want to contribute to that fund. Because I when I get older, by gosh, I want there to be a Social Security program. I want there to be a Medicare program.' I didn’t get the option. It was taken out of my check before I ever saw the money."

Citing a January 2013 Reason-Rupe survey, the political blog FiveThirtyEight.com reports that Republicans, more than Democrats, independents or the general public believe that income should not be considered when determining Social Security benefits. That same survey showed that 70 percent of Republicans oppose the proposal.

A September 2013 Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center poll, according to the blog, found 58 percent of Republicans age 50 or above opposed raising the eligibility age, compared with 33 percent of GOP members in the same age bracket who supported it.

"Does Christie really want to try to push the idea of raising the retirement age in New Hampshire, where 56 percent of primary voters are over the age of 50?" FiveThirtyEight writer Harry Enten writes.

"For a moderate Republican like Christie, New Hampshire is a crucial state. His plan doesn’t seem like smart politics."

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's bold proposal for Social Security reform is a risky political move that likely will hurt more than help his chances in the 2016 GOP primary, according to The Washington Post and a bevy of other media.
chris christie, social security, retirement, benefits
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2015-50-22
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 11:50 AM
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