PBS’s Charlie Rose gave Mike Huckabee a softball interview this week that may as well have been given by one of Huckabee’s fellow Fox contributors. After a bit of his “aw shucks” routine on how the budget of the United States ought to be written so that the average American out there who’s lucky to even know what our three branches of government are, or who’s representing them in Congress is can understand it, he moved right into Chris Christie land with telling Americans that they ought to work until they’re dead by raising the age for Social Security benefits.
Let me just be the first to say that yes, I would never, ever support someone spouting the garbage you did here and if you ever decide to get off the dole at Fox like your sister Sarah and actually run for president instead of just milking it for time on the airways as she’s done, I hope my fellow Americans will line up to tell you the same thing as well.
Huckabee apparently doesn’t know that the age to receive full Social Security benefits is not 65 now, but 67. And as Matt Yglesias at Think Progress reported, all things are not equal when it comes to life expectancy and economic status and whether your average worker out there might ever see a dime of their Social Security benefits. But hey, Huckabee’s making the big bucks now as a propagandist at Fox, so what does he care?
We need to just raise the cap on what income is taxed and problem solved with any future shortfalls in Social Security's solvency. Not asking people to work until they're physically incapable of it or dead.
Here's the chart from Matt's post on life expectancy.
And his summation:
In percentage terms, raising the retirement age from 68 to 70 would have a small impact on the expected Social Security benefits of a rich person and a large impact on the expected Social Security benefits of a poor person. It’s very regressive and a healthy share of the fiscal benefit will be lost on the back end in terms of increased disability claims.
But hey, who said those Republicans weren't fiscally conservative, right? As I've said before, I wish everyone was listening to Thom Hartmann and his recommendation to lower the retirement age instead instead of wanting us peons to work until we're too old to enjoy it like good old boy HuckaJesus does here.
If Huckabee really thinks his positions here are defensible, I'd love to see him come on Thom's show. I'm not holding my breath. Why should he when organizations like PBS are willing to give him as big of a pass as Rupert Murdoch's channel he works for?
Transcript below the fold.
ROSE: And then you have a deficit commission of Republicans and Democrats now, and no one is endorsing it except the two people who chaired the commission, but Paul Ryan, who I assume you admire greatly…
HUCKABEE: I do.
ROSE: …has said some positive things about the discussion that was took place there. But we’re ignoring it. (The commission didn’t come to a consensus Charlie, but the rest of the media, like you, is not ignoring it.)
HUCKABEE: Well that’s unfortunate. You know I talk about for example, the things we’re not supposed to talk about politically. I say that for example the Social Security program, we’ve got to raise the retirement age. And that’s tantamount to heresy. It’s political heresy to say that. But it’s true.
ROSE: It used to be the third rail of politics, didn’t it?
HUCKABEE: It did but it’s a, it’s a point where we don’t touch it; we’re all going to die from it. I also talk about Medicare, the same thing. If sixty is the new forty, then we need to start acting like it Charlie. We need to start believing that if we’re so wonderfully healthy and going to live forever…
HUCKABEE: …then we can’t start getting benefits at sixty five when we’re going to live to eighty five.
ROSE: Okay but on your side of the aisle, the Republican Party, there are constant talks about discretionary spending. Is that the answer or is the answer having a very, very politically risky willingness to look at entitlements, Medicare and Social Security and defense?
HUCKABEE: My frustration is and one of the reasons I wrote the book. Politicians today had rather risk their children’s futures than their own. You know what I look for is people who will just be honest enough, and I think the American people are capable of hearing the truth. And if they’re not, well you know what, then I’ll find that out when they hear my ideas and they say, well I’ll never, ever support a guy who would go out there and suggest we raise the retirement age, Social Security, or give people a chance to have a one chance buyout, which is an idea that I think we ought to be exploring.