““I don’t know if you’re watching, Warren. I don’t know if Warren Buffett has collected Social Security, but if he is, shame on you.” ”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a message for Warren Buffett and anyone else considered ultra-wealthy: You’re wrong to claim Social Security benefits.
“The fact is on Social Security, it was established to make sure that no one would grow old in this country in poverty, and that is what we have to get back to,” Christie said. “Rich people should not be collecting Social Security.”
“There are a lot of programs in this country that we do not get a direct benefit from,” Christie said during the third Republican presidential debate on Wednesday.
See: Haley, Christie open to raising Social Security retirement age
Christie used food stamps as an example, saying he may pay taxes that support food stamps, but he’s never personally benefited from them. “Fortunately, I have never had to have my family on food stamps, but I’m glad it’s there so no one in this country goes to bed hungry at night if they have availability of that program,” he said.
Social Security is facing an insolvency issue. If Congress doesn’t act, the trust funds that support the program’s retirement, disability and survivor benefits will run out of money in 11 years, according to the trustees report released earlier this year.
“We need to be realistic,” Christie said. There are three factors that would determine solvency: retirement age, eligibility requirements and taxes. “We are already overtaxed in this country,” he added.
Christie, who was asked to expand on his previous proposal to raise the retirement age (which is currently 67 for anyone born in 1960 and later), said an increase would be for people in their 30s and 40s, not current retirees. Nikki Haley, who has also made a similar proposal while campaigning, echoed Christie’s comments, and urged changing the rules on cost-of-living adjustments and expanding Medicare Advantage plans.
Also see: Raising Social Security’s full retirement age from 67 to 70 would be the wrong way to fix the program
When asked what the new retirement age should be, both Christie and Haley said it would have to be a negotiation with Congress.
The White House quickly responded to the candidates’ proposals for Social Security during the presidential debate. Donald Trust proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare during his administration, Seth Schuster, the spokesperson for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, said in a statement Wednesday night. “On the debate stage, several of the MAGA disciples explicitly talked about doing the exact same thing.”
If Trump, who was not present during the debate on Wednesday, were to become president again, older Americans’ benefits would be in peril, Schuster said. “If Trump returns to office, the benefits millions of America’s seniors rely on — and spent their careers contributing to — will once again be on the chopping block.”