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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Boehner: We Need to Raise the Retirement Age to 70 & Other Things That'll Make Social Security Solvent| Update: Clyburn, Pelosi Twist Themselves Into Human Pretzel Rewriting Boehner's Statement

Yesterday, the House Minority Leader, John Boehner, said that we should be more like the French and raise our retirement age to 70, the point when one would be eligible for Social Security benefits:

A Republican-held Congress might look to raise the retirement age to 70, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Monday.

Boehner, the top Republican lawmaker in the House, said raising the retirement age by five years, indexing benefits to the rate of inflation and means-testing benefits would make the massive entitlement program more solvent.

We're all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected, Boehner said in a meeting with the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. And I think that raising the retirement age — going out 20 years, so you're not affecting anyone close to retirement — and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken.

This makes perfect sense. With people living longer than we did when Social Security was started, it seems only logical that more money would have to be doled out for longer periods of time than the program was initially designed to would cause solvency problems. Also, with medical advancements, people are living better than they did and could work longer than previous generations could. That's only one of his ideas:

But Boehner also floated several other reforms to Social Security, paired with raising the retirement age, to make it more solvent. Boehner said benefits should be tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of wage inflation, and he suggested reducing or eliminating benefits to Americans with a substantial non-Social Security income while retired.

We just need to be honest with people, he said. I'm not suggesting it's going to be easy, but I think if we did those three things, you'd pretty well solve the problem.

Now, we all knew that the Democrats were going to jump on this like junkyard dogs on a steak bone. However, I expected some sort of "Why does the GOP hate old people?" type of talking points, but no, they threw a swerve on me with this one:

Democrats are slamming House Minority Leader John Boehner for reportedly saying the Social Security retirement age should be raised to pay for the Afghanistan war -- though Boehner's office vehemently denies he made that connection.....

"The House Republican Leader John Boehner and his GOP colleagues want to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 and cut benefits in order to pay for George Bush's war and their failed policies of the past," House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said in a written statement. "Democrats will not stand for this."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office put out a "fact sheet" accusing Boehner of wanting to "slash" Social Security not to stabilize the program, but to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan - though Iraq was not mentioned anywhere in the Tribune-Review article. 

I can't find anywhere in Boehner's comments regarding his idea of raising the retirement age that has anything to do with Iraq or Afghanistan. In other words, they're lying.

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