Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) not only became the latest Republican to jump into the 2016 presidential race, he also became the latest Republican to signal strong support for deep Social Security cuts.
“Washington’s failure to do the hard but right thing has put Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy,” Graham said during his speech on Monday. “As my generation retires both programs are on track to go bust. We’re living longer and fewer workers are supporting more retirees. That’s unsustainable, everybody knows it, but not everybody will admit it. We have to fix entitlement programs to make sure people who need the benefits the most receive them. That’s going to require determined presidential leadership.”
Graham’s comments are similar to those of other declared and likely 2016 candidates. Months earlier, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) started a chain reaction of statements vowing to cut Social Security spending to save the program from insolvency.
Those statements fall roughly in line with House Republicans move to block routine fund transfers between the Social Security Disability Fund and the Social Security retirement fund as a way to leverage cuts to the program.
In April, Christie rolled out a set of entitlement reform changes including raising the retirement age and cutting benefits based on income. Most of the GOP field who have weighed in, except for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, said something to that effect was a good idea.
Graham specifically described how he and his sister Darlene benefited on Social Security while growing up.
“I know from personal experience how important these programs are to the lives of millions of Americans. As Darlene mentioned, we lost our parents when I was a young man and she was in middle school. We depended on Social Security benefits to survive. I’ve been fortunate,” Graham continued. “I’ve done better than I’ve ever dreamed. If I and others like me have to take a little bit less and pay a little more to help those who need it most, so be it. And younger people, you may just have to work a little bit longer. As president I’ll gladly do what it takes to save a program that once saved my family.”