I also watched the Crist-Rubio debate and came out impressed by Rubio (I’d not paid much attention prior to this). One topic stood out for me: Rubio said that on Social Security reform we’re going to have to look at the tough choices like raising the retirement age for younger people, changing COLA payments, etc. If we don’t want to raise taxes, simple math says those are about the only things we can look at. Crist, by contrast, said he’d focus on eliminating “waste and fraud” in the program — a clear sign of non-seriousness. If there’s anything you can say for Social Security it’s that there’s not a ton of waste and fraud in it — we take money from working-age people and give it to old people who qualify based on their earnings and years on the workforce. To think that waste and fraud will get you past first base on Social Security reform is absurd, but seems on par with the rest of Crist’s arguments.
– Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.