Candidates Talk Social Security Reform (At Last!)

Traditionally, this issue of Social Security reform is one that few candidates have been willing to touch upon. After all, no one wants to alienate a huge block of voters, in this case senior citizens that rely upon that check each month.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that 2010 is not a typical election year. In the last few years, we’ve seen government spending spiral out of control, paid for by IOUs from our children and grandchildren.

The Tea Party movement is just one indication that people are fed up with our government’s current ideology of spend, spend, spend, and then spend some more. People are frustrated that government has gradually taken control of what should be personal choices, and has mandated our participation.

Like health insurance. The new health care law doesn’t care if someone doesn’t want to spend their money on health insurance; it demands that they do so. Or education. Our current education system punishes those that would choose to educate their children in the home or in private school. This does not exactly sound like freedom of choice.

Social Security is a forced retirement plan. Money is taken out of your paycheck, and when you reach a certain age, you receive monthly payments. Unlike private retirement, people don’t get to decide how much to save, nor where to invest it.

Now there’s an even bigger problem with Social Security than freedom of choice. The baby boomers are entering retirement, and the current system is simply unsustainable. Theoretically, the money should be there, waiting for the retiree, but the real world doesn’t work in theory.

Social Security spending is set to enter the red permanently in 2015, so something has to be done. Candidates are now speaking out about retirement benefits. Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubiosays that the age needs to be increased for the younger generation. Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul shares Rubio’s views, saying, “You’re going to have to have eligibility changes for the younger people.”

Joe Miller, the Republican that beat incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the recent primaries in Alaska takes it a step further, calling for at least some privatization of the system.

In an interview with CNN in September, Joe Miller touted a privatized system as “an account that the government is not going to steal from.” Asked whether he’d be open to ending “federal Social Security” for Americans being born now, he said: “Absolutely.”

No matter what our politicians decide to do about Social Security, one thing is certain. The current system will collapse if we do nothing. I’m glad our candidates are talking about it. Someone needs to.

Cross Posted at The Stir

Charlie Crist is Hanging by a Single, Independent Thread

I think the tanning rays may have finally seeped into the Florida Governor’s skull. Dude was on top of the world a couple of years ago. His name was even tossed around as one of the VP hopefuls for the 2008 Presidential ticket. Of course, that was before Senator McCain picked that smart and sassy nobody from the great white North.

That was Before.

Before a man was seated in the Oval Office that really didn’t like America, and sought to fundamentally transform it.

Before our President appointed a 9/11 Truther to be one of his close, personal advisors. A 9/11 Truther, in case you weren’t aware, is someone that believes the United States was behind the horrific 9/11 attacks. As in planned them. Yeah. That’s bad.

Before the government took over banks, car companies, and even our health care.

Governor Crist was riding the wave of popularity Before. He was a shoo-in for the Senate seat left vacant by retiring George LeMieux. But that was Before.

After?

After the last year and change (and I do mean change), Crist represents a deviation of the Republican party. The Moderate. The Moderate is squishy. He tries to please everyone, and in effect pleases no one. He is not a RINO (Republican In Name Only), but he is not a conservative. He does not align himself with the principles set forth by the awesome dudes that founded the greatest, richest, strongest, most spectacularly free nation in the history of the world. Well, except for Eden, but that was even before Before.

We (and by “we” I mean Americans) are done with the Moderate. We want him him out. He embraced the Leftist Change, and now we want people that will fight for their constituents to change it back. Which is why we like peeps like Marco Rubio.

A year ago, Rubio was down in the polls by 40+ points. Now he’s ahead of Crist by well over 20 points. The Cuban nobody. No important family ties. No giant bank account. He hasn’t even “done his time” as they like to say in the government job sector. But the people? Oh the people are speaking. They like this fresh young conservative eager to change it back. They love his pledge for freedom from government interference in their lives.

They probably love his face too; the guy’s not bad to look at. ;-)

So how does Charlie Crist respond to this changing tide? By pondering running as an Independent instead of being beaten at the primaries by this Rubio kid. In a statement today he addressed those questioning his irrational thought process:

“I care what my fellow Floridians think and what their thoughts are much more than anybody from Washington.”

Dude. Florida is speaking. You’re not listening. Run however you want-Republican, Independent, or as the Florida Whig Party. You’re not going to Washington. You may have a few years ago, but that was Before.

People like Marco Rubio are After.

Marco Rubio

I had quite a time getting set up for blogging CPAC this morning.  There will probably be a post about my adventures since my airplane post soon.  Trust me, it was definitely an adventure.  A humorous one.  Because, well, sometimes you have to choose whether to laugh or cry, and I always choose to laugh.

Because I was so behind in getting setting up, I missed the opening speaker.  Marco Rubio.  I saw the last 20 seconds of his speech, just enough time to snap one ridiculously tiny & fuzzy picture on my blackberry.  I was bummed.  I almost cried.  Then I decided to laugh instead.  I’m like that.

Then I was walking from one place to another and ran into Leon & Jillian Wolf, two very awesome people that I’m happy to call my friends.  Oh yeah, and Erickson was there too.  ”You want to meet Marco Rubio?” He asks me.  Do I?  Um… YES.  ”He’s right in there with a small press group.”  I just stared at him.  Nerves, yah know.  ”Go on in,” he said, giving me a little push into the room.  ”Everyone thinks you’re my wife anyway!”  (Ask me about that story sometime, it’s really funny.)

So that’s how a found myself standing ten feet from Marco Rubio, taking questions from a dozen or so journalists, both real and citizen, although the distinction is getting very blurred very quickly these days.  In fact, citizen journalism and social media was the topic de jour.

He said that he wouldn’t have a campaign if it weren’t for the bloggers.  The ability to communicate online has made it possible for anyone to become a candidate, or a journalist.  There’s a whole new set of rules in today’s political world.  Because of the wide access to information, Americans no longer have to choose between two candidates that are sort of the same, picking the one that we like better.

People understand what’s at stake, and candidates are being more widely vetted than ever before.  We don’t need to rely on the traditional media to tell us what to think about a candidate, we get the information ourselves and get it out there.  Some really consequential things are happening in Washington, and will continue to happen if we don’t stop it by sending sensible people to congress.

His hope for the 2010 elections, of course, is to win a senate seat in Florida, but also to be one of a crop of newly elected Senators and Congressmen determined to restore our country to it’s greatness, not fundamentally transform it into something not recognizable in our Constitution.  Which is why he spoke at CPAC: to reach a broader audience.  He hopes that the attendees from across the country go home and seek out reliable candidates to support and vote for.

When asked about Scott Brown, he commented that if the Obama agenda is not safe in Massachusetts, it’s not safe anywhere.  And then his handler said he had to go, so he politely said it was nice to talk to us, walked right past me, smiled directly at me, and said (and I quote), “Hi.”

Awesomeness.