Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Sunday that his opposition to reforming Social Security doesn’t make him sound like a Democrat — but like an American.
The former Arkansas governor has broken with his party and his rivals for the nomination by opposing GOP proposals to cut benefits or raise the retirement age for Social Seucurity and transform Medicare into a voucher-style program, measures aimed at preventing the popular programs from going broke.
“I think I sounded more like an America,” Mr. Huckabee said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
He said it is unfair to treat Social Security and Medicare as welfare programs when people have been forced to pay into the system for 50 years. He said that he has been paying into it since he got his first job at 14 years old.
“I understand the program has some real fiscal problems, but why would you punish the recipients who played by the rules they were forced to play by?” said Mr. Huckabee. “Social Security and Medicare are not voluntary programs.”
Still, his objections echoed those of Democrats who have made opposition to the GOP reforms top issues in recent elections and have accused Republicans of abandoning the sick and elderly.
Mr. Huckabee said he would back some reforms to keep the program solvent, but he wouldn’t want to change the benefits or terms for anyone older than 14.
He said the government has mismanaged the programs.
“I don’t think Americans believe that after having paid all these years … that somehow the government that didn’t take good care of business is going to come in and say, ‘Yup, we’re going to make you pay for our sins.’ I just don’t think that is something most Americans are willing [to do],” he said.