Rick Perry: 45 Year-Olds Should Really Be Talking About Retiring At Age 70 (VIDEO)

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September 7, 2011 1:03 pm
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Rick Perry, under fire for his Social Security views from all sides lately, threw another log on the blaze this weekend during a South Carolina town hall.Perry floated the idea that workers 45 years-old and younger might have to wait years longer than their elders to retire with government benefits, wading into an area of Social Security reform that is extremely controversial and politically dangerous.

This Pew poll from June showed 59% of Americans opposed raising the retirement age. But for a guy like Perry, who’s already out there calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme and “monstrous lie,” grabbing a hold of the third rail of politics is old hat at this point.

From the transcript of the town hall:

“So, there’s a lot of different options out there that we could talk about, whether it’s moving the age forward, you know, at some particular time, if it’s, you know, if you’re a forty-five year-old or less we’re going to move that retirement age up to sixty-nine or seventy, or whatever it is. I mean, that’s a good conversation to have.”

There are signs Perry is aware of the effect this kind of talk could have on older voters. At the South Carolina town hall, he assured the retirees and the near-retirement in the crowd that under a Perry administration, their benefits won’t be touched:

“[N]o matter where you are in America, if you’re already getting your Social Security benefits, if you are approaching that age at which you’re going to get it through Social Security, you made a lot of decisions about retirement about how you’re going to take care of yourself and or your family. Those individuals need to understand something; you have no worries at all about your current Social Security as we go forward.”

Here’s the video, clipped for us by American Bridge:

The full video of the town hall, hosted by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) as part of his series of events with the Republican presidential contenders should be available here eventually.

The long transcript of the full Q&A on Social Security from the town hall is below:

SCOTT: I guess when you write a book, they want to know the answers to the book. So the book FED UP! has brought up some questions here. One is on Social Security and then another predominant question is on your position on immigration. So I’m going to put those together and let you have an opportunity to answer. About half the questions…

PERRY: I’ll be quick on this. I want to talk about Social Security first. And I’m not going to ask for any hands out there for those who are either on Social Security or approaching it, like me. But no matter where you are in America, if you’re already getting your Social Security benefits, if you are approaching that age at which you’re going to get it through Social Security, you made a lot of decisions about retirement about how you’re going to take care of yourself and or your family. Those individuals need to understand something; you have no worries at all about your current Social Security as we go forward. What we do need to have a conversation about is the kids my children’s age. I got a twenty-eight year-old son, or approaching twenty-eight, and a twenty-five year-old daughter and we shouldn’t lie to them and tell them that this system that we have in place today will be there for them. So have a conversation with America, how do we make that transition from the system that we’ve got today, that frankly, I call it a ponzi scheme, I call it a monstrous lie for our kids and it’s true. And there’s no use in, I mean, anyone who is running for the Presidency of the United States and wants to keep status quo on entitlement, is suspect. They don’t want to be honest with the American people. And we have to have that conversation. So, there’s a lot of different options out there that we could talk about, whether it’s moving the age forward, you know, at some particular time, if it’s, you know, if you’re a forty-five year-old or less we’re going to move that retirement age up to sixty-nine or seventy, or whatever it is. I mean, that’s a good conversation to have. You know there’s part of the book where we talk about back in the early eighties we, states had the opportunity with their public employees and their county employees to shift over to a private sector run program and there were three counties in Texas did it. There’s probably about 251 counties in Texas that wish they’d done it in the early age. But having those types of thoughtful conversations but with the clear and unmovable fact that if you’re on Social Security today or if you’re approaching Social Security, you do not have to worry about those dollars going to be coming in for your retirement.

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