New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Wednesday punched back at criticism of the set of Social Security cuts he unveiled a day earlier during an appearance in New Hampshire.
In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday, Christie said the critics of the proposal on the left were effectively defending the richest Americans.
“It’s good to see that the left are defending the rich, Laura. And that’s a very interesting turn of events,” Christie said. “When you actually try to talk common sense to people, the left automatically goes to defending people who have more than $200,000 a year in retirement income. I mean the fact is this, I want Social Security to be there fore the people who really need it. I don’t want the elderly in this country to live out their later years in poverty.”
Christie argued that means testing for Social Security was necessary to keep the program solvent. His proposal starts to cut benefits for people making more than $80,000 with those making $200,000 or more receiving absolutely not benefits at all.
Liberal Democrats have recently taken the opposite course of Christie and called for expanding Social Security. The knee-jerk reaction from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, was to quickly bash the proposal.
“You take a deep breath and try and wonder what world these people live in,” Sanders said responding to TPM about Christie’s proposal.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who like Christie has taken steps toward running for president in 2016, signaled that he would like to see similar reforms to entitlement programs.
Interestingly, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, now the president of the tea party aligned-Senate Conservatives Fund, praised Christie’s proposal. Christie hails from the establishment wing of the GOP which has fought openly and viciously with tea party wing SCF is aligned with.
“Liberal Democrats have recently taken the opposite course of Christie and called for expanding Social Security,” Cuccinelli wrote on Facebook.
Listen to Christie below: