What we are trying to do is this: Get this economy growing, help workers, help small businesses and guarantee the promise of these programs with no changes for people in or near retirement. And the best way to do that is to change it for my generation in a way that will make sure it doesn't go bankrupt when we retire. That’s the point. That’s how we fix this problem. And the point is, there are bipartisan ideas that can be done to do this.
Jane Pauley: A couple more questions. From Waterville, Minnesota, Charles asks, “Would you stabilize Social Security by increasing revenues, lowering or limiting benefits, or a combination?”
Congressman Ryan: Mitt and I have put a specific plan out on this. We think that a tax increase on payroll taxes is bad for economics, is bad for growth, and it especially hurts self-employed people. You have to remember, a self-employed person, like a farmer or somebody working their own business, they pay both sides of the payroll tax, and we think that that hurts job creation. Plus, it doesn't give you the kind of revenues you need to fix the problem.
But if you put small changes now, that don't kick in until people who are 54 and below retire, you can actually make these modest changes that make the program solvent for 75 years. So what we are saying is gradually raise that retirement age to reflect longevity in the future. It won't even start until 2025, I believe. And don't give wealthier people as much of an increase in their benefits as everyone else does, and bring that bottom benefit up to at least the poverty line.
This is a flaw in the Social Security system today. There are people who live on only Social Security who are below the poverty line. So what we’re saying is don't give a higher income person as much of an increase in their benefits. That helps you afford the ability to bring the minimum benefit up so there is no senior citizen in America below the poverty level. Doing it this way helps us save the program, not just for current seniors, not just preventing the 25 percent across the board benefit cut that kicks in in 2033, but I want to make sure it's there when I retire. The younger you [are] in America the less you believe you will get this program. We should restore the trust and faith and belief that it's going to be there for us when we retire.