Marco Rubio wants Americans to work longer and retire later to places like Florida, a stand that has drawn criticism from his Senate rivals and unnerves some in the Sunshine State where one out of every seven residents gets a Social Security check.
As the nation grapples with the fast-growing insolvency of entitlement programs, likely Republican nominee Rubio has proposed raising the retirement age and cutting benefits to younger workers. Rubio wants to raise the full-retirement age, which now ranges from 65 to 67 depending on a person's birth year, until it reaches 70 in the next century. He would exempt people currently over 55.
He also favors allowing workers to invest part of their payroll taxes on their own. That plan is similar to one that was advanced by former President George W. Bush six years ago and proved so controversial that Republicans then in control never brought it to a vote in either House of Congress.
"It's just going to have to be reformed because if left to its current status then it bankrupts itself and then it bankrupts America," said the 38-year-old Rubio. "If the system is now taking in less money than it's paying out, then it's only going to get worse as we have less workers and more retirees."
Rubio's proposal would not affect the 2.5 million retirees in Florida, but the mere discussion of any changes to the safety net program signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 alarms the millions in their 30s, 40s and early 50s who might not like the idea of having to work longer before receiving benefits.
The AARP Florida branch said the issue resonates with seniors.
"Anytime our elected officials begin debating the future of Social Security, millions of Floridians pay attention," said Lori Parham, Florida director for senior lobby. "Social Security pumps $3.7 billion a month into Florida's economy. Without it, half of Floridians age 65 or older would be plunged into poverty."
To read more click here