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Santorum: ‘People are living too long’

By David Edwards
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 15:49 EDT
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told supporters in Lancaster, South Carolina Tuesday that the Social Security retirement age had to be increased because “people are living too long.”

“Does anybody in this room believe that somebody that 62 years old is too old to work in America today?” Santorum asked. “Social Security was established for people who were too old to work and therefore they needed the support of the federal government.”

“Now back in 1936 we probably did and that made sense. Why? Because life expectancy in 1936 was 61. It’s now 80… So you have a situation where things have changed, and for our young people it will even be longer. We keep gaining about a month every few years, we gain in life expectancy. And so the idea that we’re going to keep the Social Security program locked in on a 1937 actuarial chart makes no sense at all.”

He continued: “Do you know what your life expectancy at 65 is? 85. So you have folks living at least 20 years… Ronald Reagan saw this problem and said, ‘Look, we have to do the common sense thing. We have to phase the retirement age back.’ What did he do? Twenty-five years from 1983 he started to phase it back. And we did and that’s where we are right now. We are in the middle of a phase up to age 76 which will be normal retirement age.”

“Well, we need to continue to do that. Not radically. But look at where the revenues are coming in and where the expenses are and we need to adjust everything from cost of living increase for high income seniors is one thing. We can look at retirement ages. And again, you still will be able to retire at 62 and take Social Security, you’ll just get a slightly smaller benefit. Why? Because we can’t afford the benefit structure we have because people are living too long.”

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Sept. 13, 2011.


David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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