Mitt Romney proposes he cut retirement benefits for younger Americans

  • Romney suggested he would prefer to cut pensions for younger Americans to deal with the debt.
  • He warned that the US could be in “a lot of trouble” if they didn’t take action.
  • Calls to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits have not completely faded among Republicans.

sen. Mitt Romney of Utah suggested he would prefer to cut pensions for younger Americans in an effort to stabilize safety net programs.

“If we’re ever going to get a handle on our debt, we’re going to have to find a way to either increase revenue, which I’m not a fan of, or find a way to adjust our long-term benefits that don’t suit today’s retirees.” he said Wednesday during a Senate Budget Committee hearing, seemingly ruling out any tax hikes.

“But for younger people who come along, we have to find a way to balance these programs out or we’re going to be in trouble,” he said. He didn’t specify which programs, but a few safety net programs that provide benefits to retirees, including Social Security and Medicare.

Romney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Many Republicans at one point supported restructuring Social Security and Medicare benefits to reduce the national debt. Those programs make up about 41% of the state budget and are a perennial target for conservatives looking to curb federal spending.

But President Donald Trump split the party from that approach and instead campaigned to preserve Social Security and health care — a violation of long-standing GOP calls to reduce those programs and curb federal spending. However, the debt increased by nearly $8 trillion under the Trump administration as a result of tax cuts and spending increases.

Calls to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits have abated, but have not completely faded. Last year, the House Republican Study Group released a token budget calling for austerity across the board without tax hikes. The age of eligibility for Medicare would rise from 65 to 69. For Social Security, the retirement age would also increase to 69 by 2030, instead of staying at 67 from 2022.

Experts predict that Social Security will not be able to pay out full benefits from 2034, when the trust fund is exhausted. The Medicare hospital trust fund will not be able to cover its financial obligations from 2026, years earlier. But there is little political zeal on either side of the aisle to tackle it.

“The president is not coming up with a proposal that would reduce those benefits,” Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said at the hearing. “He’s not going to do that.”

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