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2024Politics

Nikki Haley Gets Substantive

GOP presidential hopeful targets entitlements …

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Some of the early criticism of former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s nascent presidential bid is that it is long on rhetoric and light on substance … an exercise in platitudinal identitypolitik.

In an effort to counter that perception, Haley is addressing one of the most critical issues facing the American Republic- the impending insolvency of its largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare.

“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,” Haley recently told a town hall audience in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “It’s the new ones coming in. It’s those in their twenties that are coming in. You’re coming to them and you’re saying, the game has changed. We’re going to do this completely differently.”

“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,” Haley added.

The current full retirement age for Social Security is 67. For Medicare, it is 65.

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Nikki Haley (Getty)

In addition to raising both of those ages, Haley has suggested limiting or cutting Social Security and Medicaid benefits for wealthy Americans, saying “many of them will tell you they don’t even want it.”

To be clear: I have yet to see the Haley campaign’s full white paper on entitlement reform. I suspect there isn’t one yet, because she has yet to say what the new retirement age would be under her proposal.

Still, this is a discussion that must be had … and Haley deserves credit for engaging it in search of a solution.

“Doing nothing on Social Security and Medicare will lead to automatic benefit cuts,” noted Romina Boccia, director of budget and entitlements at the Cato Institute. “Reforming these major old-age entitlement programs is not an option; it’s an urgent necessity.”

According to Cato’s assessment of the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, “federal health care programs and Social Security will be responsible for 60 percent of the growth in projected spending over the next decade.”

“The main drivers of rising deficits and debt are Social Security and Medicare,” noted Cato’s Chris Edwards. “The combined cost of the two programs for the elderly is projected to leap from $2.35 trillion in 2023 to $4.46 trillion by 2033. By then, spending on the two programs will be four times higher than spending on national defense.”

That’s trillions … with “T’s.” Nearly $29 trillion in total over the coming decade, in fact. And that’s in addition to soaring debt payments and all the non-entitlement profligacy emanating from Washington, D.C.

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Do I trust Haley to be an honest broker on these vital solvency issues? Hell no … in fact my money is on her flaking. Also, next to chronic chameleon U.S. senator Lindsey Graham, Haley is the definition of opportunistic, hypocritical political shapeshifting – a definitional weather vane whose only conviction is her naked ambition.

Still, credit where credit is due: Haley’s willingness to at least discuss entitlement reforms stands in stark contrast to positions staked out by former U.S. president Donald Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis – both of whom are unwilling to even engage the issue in the context of their 2024 ambitions.

“We’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans,” DeSantis told Fox News last week. “I think that that’s pretty clear.”

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny,” Trump said in a January 2023 campaign video.

Say what you will about Haley (and I’ve said plenty), but she gets points in my book for substantively raising this critical issue … and at least being open to reading the writing on the wall as it relates to the future of these two programs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

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Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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Will Folks

12 comments

Observer March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

Not a fan of Trump or DeSantis, but in this case they are both right. I agree with Haley on cutting Medicare and SS for the ultra-rich, if they agree to that on an individual basis.

Haley and her cronies buggered up the South Carolina State Employees and Police Retirement Systems when she was governor. Her, Ryberg, and her other cronies looted, burned, and pillaged, the system. I guess that was practice for bigger and better things, like Social Security.

Reply
John March 10, 2023 at 7:10 pm

No Republican has a chance in 2024.

They are so awful and hated by the average, real American that a 80+ year old man will be re-elected.

Watching an elderly man run circles around the complete idiots that run the GQP today is pretty funny!

Reply
Travis Barlow March 11, 2023 at 6:30 pm

Define “ultra Rich”….

Reply
Astonished Top fan March 10, 2023 at 9:15 pm

I have paid into the system for 60 years!!! It is not a damn ENTITLEMENT! If it had been managed properly and not raided on an annual basis, there would be money to meet the obligations.

Reply
Observer March 11, 2023 at 1:13 am

Astonished, you are absolutely correct!

Reply
Flossip Top fan March 11, 2023 at 10:51 am

Eliminate loopholes for billionaires and tax them as much as you tax the middle class and there would be money to spare to keep SS and Medicare going for decades. But yes, the answer is to raise the retirement age to 90+ and keep those seniors working so some poor billionaire can afford that 3rd yacht and 10th vacation home.

Reply
Observer March 11, 2023 at 3:19 pm

@ Flossip
Yep! You called it!

Reply
Stephen Guilfoyle Top fan March 11, 2023 at 3:48 pm

It’s amazing what Will considers “substantive.”

“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. It’s the new ones coming in. It’s those in their twenties that are coming in. You’re coming to them and you’re saying, the game has changed. We’re going to do this completely differently. … 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.” Haley added.

You change the age, not specified to what. Try and have “some sort of system.” it’s the new ones coming in. It’s those in their 20s that are coming in.

She’s saying really nothing.
Do whatever it is “completely different.”
Reform it. But do it in a way that doesn’t take anything away from seniors or people ready to retire.
So … major reform … that really doesn’t change anything.
It’s a stuttering lot of smoke getting blown up our collective asses.

Reply
Lemon Law March 12, 2023 at 10:03 am

Changing the age that people who are currently 20 have to wait for to draw anything doesn’t actually fix anything in the here in now.

Which is the point.

The second you fix the problem, no one will let you cut it again. You don’t fix something that isn’t broke, so… you never actually fix it, so you can keep “fixing” it.

Haley would make a great shady car mechanic.

Reply
Stephen Guilfoyle Top fan March 21, 2023 at 3:43 pm

So Nikki was on some safe conservative news outlet being asked to explain her SS program.
She couldn’t pull it off.
She got called out for flubbing it on a liberal internet show, The David Pakman show.
Pakman is not the sharpest crayon in the box, and if he’s calling you out, that’s saying .. a lot. He’s not as dumb as Allen Colmes. But not far off.

Reply
Stephen Guilfoyle Top fan March 21, 2023 at 3:44 pm

In other words, …
SUBSTANTIVE. Yeah. Sure Will.\

Reply
Bernie Was Right March 12, 2023 at 9:53 am

These programs are fixable if you elect people who actually want to fix them.

If you elect wolves that just want to rip it apart for the meat inside, well, you won’t recognize Social Security or Medicare in thirty years.

Reply

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