Sen. Elisabeth Warren (D-MA) took two Bloomberg TV hosts to school on Wednesday after they suggested that Social Security was the root of an “entitlements crisis” that was driving the nation’s budget deficit.
In an interview on Market Makers, host Stephanie Ruhle confronted the Massachusetts Democrat for her recent call to increase Social Security benefits.
“When I think about imbalance, I think about our children,” Ruhle said. “In the next 10 years, between Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending, it’s going to grow to $780 billion. Our spending on children is $20 billion. Are you not worried about kids? Why should these senior citizens be getting more money?”
“Of course, I’m worried about our children and I want to see more investment in our children,” Warren replied. “But we cannot ignore the fact that we have a retirement crisis in the United States right now.”
“Social Security is not driving our deficit,” the senator continued. “Social Security is a system that pays for itself. If we did absolutely nothing to Social Security, we would make payments for more than 20 years exactly at this level. And then they would drop by roughly by about 25 percent and pay forever into the future… We can make modest adjustments now in Social Security and make sure it will be there to pay on into the future. And if we make some more adjustments, we could see an increase in Social Security benefits for those who count on it.”
Warren pointed out that two out of three seniors relied on Social Security for food and housing so it was the last thing that should be cut during a retirement crisis.
Co-host Erik Schatzker, however, insisted that the U.S. was also facing an “entitlements crisis.”
“Social Security is not creating a deficit in our budget right now or in the future,” Warren declared. “So, let’s just pull that one out of it, because that is not a conversation.”
Watch this video from the Bloomberg TV’s Market Makers, broadcast Dec. 12, 2013.