Sunday, April 11, 2010

More good press for Rubio on Social Security

Two opinion pieces praising Florida Senate candidate for speaking the truth on Social Security reform. The St. Petersburg Times
editorializes that

U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio deserves credit for candidly confronting the challenge to keep Social Security solvent. The Miami Republican calls for raising the retirement age and says he's willing to consider recalculating cost of living adjustments. Those are the sorts of straight answers Floridians deserve from serious candidates.

Likewise, columnist George Will writes

A recent debate on "Fox News Sunday" illustrated the differences between the few politicians who are, and the many who are not, willing to face facts. Marco Rubio, the former speaker of Florida's House of Representatives who is challenging Gov. Charles Crist for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, made news by stating the obvious.

Asked how the nation might address the projected $17.5 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities, Rubio said that we should consider two changes for people 10 or more years from retirement. One would raise the retirement age. The other would alter the calculation of benefits: Indexing them to inflation rather than wage increases would substantially reduce the system's unfunded liabilities.

Neither idea startles any serious person. But Crist, with the reflex of the unreflective, rejected both and said that he would fix Social Security by eliminating "waste" and "fraud," of which there is little. The system's problems are the result not of incompetent administration but of improvident promises made by Congress.

What's interesting about all this is how interesting it shouldn't be: I'm not aware that Rubio set out to be a Social Security reformer; rather, he simply answered a question that most politicians prefer to dodge. Of course Social Security needs to be fixed, and of course it's going to demand some hard choices regarding taxes, benefits, the retirement age or other provisions. What makes Rubio's straightforward answer unusual is that we've gotten so used to aspiring politicians dodging these questions.

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