Mitch Daniels on Social Security

Republican IN Governor

Stop paying pension benefits to the wealthy

One item on our national must-do list: we must unite to save the safety net. Medicare and Social Security have served us well, and that must continue. But after 1/2 and 3/4 of a century respectively, it's not surprising that they need some repairs. We can preserve them unchanged and untouched for those now in or near retirement, but we must fashion a new, affordable safety net so future Americans are protected, too.

Decades ago we could afford to send millionaires pension checks and pay medical bills for even the wealthiest among us. Now, we can't, so the dollars we have should be devoted to those who need them most.

The mortal enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who, in contempt of the plain arithmetic, continue to mislead Americans that we should change nothing. The better course is to stop sending the wealthy benefits they do not need, and stop providing them so many tax preferences that distort our economy and do little or nothing to foster growth.

Source: GOP response to the 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Means testing for Social Security

Unreformed Social Security and Medicare will destroy not only themselves but our national economy. To me, an obvious place to start is with means testing. Ask any Hoosier, "Why are we sending a pension check to Warren Buffet?" and the answer always starts with a laugh. Especially now that the resources are so clearly inadequate, it is obvious that we should direct the available funds to those most in need, those whom FDR had in mind when he started Social Security. In truth, there has never been any reason, humanitarian or economic, for this absurdity of giving money to rich people except the nakedly political one. So by all means let's means test. Concentrate the dollars we can afford on those with the least wealth and the lowest retirement income. Let's hear the no-change lobby answer the Buffett question.

President Obama is fond of thundering ," Warren Buffet doesn't need a tax cut!" No, Mr. President, and he doesn't need a social security check either.

Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p.199-200 , Sep 20, 2011

Raise the retirement age; replace COLA

Let's get real about the retirement age. Of course even now Americans are either choosing or being forced to work past the traditional 65 or 67 years. Many can relate to Red Skelton's line "I can't retire. I have a federal government to support!" but in seriousness, it is time for the system to catch up to the facts of life--long life. Americans are living longer than they did in 1935, a lot longer. They are reaching their mid-sixties not only in far greater numbers but also in far better health than they did back then.

We can simply restore FDR's original design and increase future benefits to offset inflation. Most people with whom I discuss this issue think that's what a COLA does. Up until the 1970s, they were right. No benefits go up with wages rather than living costs, so they outpace inflation almost every year. Going back to a pure-inflation adjustment system, or doing so for higher-income recipients only, is another fair and sensible way to protect the system.

Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p.202 , Sep 20, 2011

Other governors on Social Security: Mitch Daniels on other issues:
IN Gubernatorial:
Mike Pence
IN Senatorial:
Daniel Coats
Joe Donnelly

Newly elected Nov. 2012:
IN: Mike Pence (R)
NC: Pat McCrory (R)
NH: Maggie Hassan (D)
MT: Steve Bullock (D)
WA: Jay Inslee (D)

Re-elected 2012:
DE: Jack Markell (D)
MO: Jay Nixon (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
UT: Gary Herbert (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WV: Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Up for re-election 2013:
NJ: Chris Christie
VA: Bob McDonnell
Up for re-election 2014:
AK: Sean Parnell
AL: Robert Bentley
AR: Mike Beebe
AZ: Jan Brewer
CA: Jerry Brown
CO: John Hickenlooper
CT: Dan Malloy
FL: Rick Scott
GA: Nathan Deal
HI: Neil Abercrombie
IA: Terry Branstad
ID: Butch Otter
IL: Pat Quinn
KS: Sam Brownback
MA: Deval Patrick
MD: Martin O'Malley
ME: Paul LePage
MI: Rick Snyder
MN: Mark Dayton
NH: Maggie Hassan
NM: Susana Martinez
NV: Brian Sandoval
NY: Andrew Cuomo
OH: John Kasich
OK: Mary Fallin
OR: John Kitzhaber
PA: Tom Corbett
RI: Linc Chafee
SC: Nikki Haley
SD: Dennis Daugaard
TN: Bill Haslam
TX: Rick Perry
VT: Peter Shumlin
WI: Scott Walker
WY: Matt Mead
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Page last updated: Apr 25, 2013