WASHINGTON - Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle issued the following statement today:
"In the Republican candidate debate last night, I observed that not a single Republican candidate made any proposals for immediate cuts to Social Security, the single largest government program in America.
"Republicans are so scared of losing senior citizens' votes that they are willing to throw their children and grandchildren under the bus.
"Republicans constantly claim they want to cut government spending, so it should be easy for them to propose small cuts to Social Security, like raising the retirement age from 67 to 68, or reducing current benefit checks by just 5%. However, no Republican candidate has proposed any cuts.
"Republican Rick Perry has been doing backflips to counter his earlier negative statements about Social Security. He says it's a Ponzi scheme, but he still wants to keep it going.
"Republican Mitt Romney says it's a wonderful program.
"Both Republicans and Democrats are determined to kick the can as far down the road as possible, until we are overtaken by events, and it becomes impossible to pay people what they have been led to expect. Their attitude is the height of irresponsibility -- even cruelty.
"It's not just the politicians -- Republican voters may claim they want to cut spending, but they are in denial about Social Security. In a Gallup poll conducted in January, only 34% of Republican-aligned voters said they supported cuts in Social Security. (They weren't willing to cut much else either -- but that's another topic.)
"Whenever Social Security reform comes up, politicians fall over themselves to say they won't cut benefits for retirees and 'people nearing retirement.'
"Unfortunately, Social Security is effectively a Ponzi scheme, and all Ponzi schemes unravel eventually. People are not going to receive what they've been led to expect -- we know that. But the politicians' claim that only young people should suffer is unfair.
"I believe that we all need to recognize Social Security for the disastrous Ponzi scheme that it is, and we all need to share the burden of cutting it.
"Unlike Republicans, I propose that we reduce government spending now by making the following three changes to Social Security:
"First, increase the retirement age to 72.
"Second, remove the automatic increase in benefits. From now on, an act of Congress will be required to increase benefits.
"Third, allow people of any age to opt out. The government should not say to Americans, 'You must participate in our retirement Ponzi scheme whether you want to or not, or else we'll throw you in prison.'
"In a recent poll at the Libertarian Party website, 53% of respondents said 'We should completely get rid of Social Security.'
"There is no way to 'make Social Security strong' or 'protect it for the future.' Those are politicians' lies. You can't fix a Ponzi scheme. You can only terminate it, or try to prolong it so that future generations suffer even worse.
"In the past, some Libertarians have proposed selling off government assets for a one-time bailout of Social Security. I'm afraid a bailout would just provide a short-term reprieve, and then we'd be right back to the same problems we face today.
"We should start winding down Social Security now, and suffer some pain and disappointment, so that future generations will be able to live and retire with freedom and security."
The Libertarian Party Platform says in section 2.10, "Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government."
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
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