Charlie Crist’s Social Security Nonsense

by Ramesh Ponnuru

In a meeting with editors of the Palm Beach Post, Charlie Crist rejected the options of raising the retirement age or payroll taxes to make Social Security solvent. They asked how he would solve the problem? His “first plan,” he says, is comprehensive immigration reform–he has been claiming in recent days that making illegal immigrants legal would make them contributors to the program. (He’s wrong: Most illegal immigrants pay into the program, so legalizing them would just enable them to get benefits too.)

So a Post editor asks, “What’s your second plan?” His answer: “The other is try to restore the economy so it’s improving the way I think it’s starting to do right now.”

I suppose one could point out that “try to restore the economy” isn’t actually a plan; or note that increased economic growth, as wonderful as it would be, would raise wages and thus also require the system to pay more benefits. But note that his “restore the economy” line has dwindled into nothingness by the very end of his sentence.

In short, Crist’s plan on Social Security is: first, make the problem a little worse; then, sit back and watch nothing happen.

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