- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2023

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says younger generations should prepare for a revamped retirement age and limits on Medicare and Social Security benefits for wealthier Americans so the entitlement programs can remain solvent.

Mrs. Haley, who is running against former President Donald Trump and others for the GOP presidential nomination, waded into the thorny entitlement debate Wednesday during a town hall in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“The first thing you do is you change the retirement age of the young people coming up so that we can try and have some sort of system for them,” Mrs. Haley said in comments reported by CNN.

The outlet reported it was unclear what Mrs. Haley would set as the retirement age instead of 65, though her comments were notable, given a debate in Washington over spending and how to preserve benefits for seniors.

President Biden accused GOP lawmakers of targeting Medicare and Social Security as the House majority insists on spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit.

GOP leaders say cuts to the entitlement programs are off the table, but the idea has become a political football as the 2024 cycle begins.

Mr. Trump, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, accused fellow GOP candidates of wanting to cut Medicare and raise the minimum age for Social Security to “70, 75 or even 80 in some cases.”

Mr. Trump didn’t name anyone, but he has targeted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his prior support for nonbinding budgets that raise the minimum age for retirement benefits and comments in support of privatizing Social Security.

These days, Mr. DeSantis is assuring the public that Republicans won’t mess with Social Security.

Mrs. Haley said efforts to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent should focus on younger people who have time to prepare.

“You reform the entitlements, but you do it in a way that you don’t take anything away from seniors or people who are getting ready to retire,” she said. “You focus on the new generation, you focus on what’s next.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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