Congresswoman-elect Ashley Hinson of Cedar Rapids says to stabilize the Social Security system, she’s open to the idea of raising the age when younger Americans may begin receiving benefits.
“I think it’s my job now to go in and try to make some of those tough decisions to fix and make sure it is solvent for my kids,” she says, “and hopefully their kids, too.”
Hinson was elected to represent Iowa’s first congressional district in November and will be sworn in as a member of the U.S. House in January. Hinson opposes raising payroll taxes. She says any change to the retirement age would have to be phased in and would not apply to current retirees or those nearing retirement age.
“I’m 37 years old. If I know, coming in, I’m going to have to work longer, it’s much easier for me to absorb that than to pull the rug out from under someone who’s 62 years old right now,” Hinson says. “…Somebody’s got to be willing to make a tough call and that’s exactly why the problem hasn’t been fixed and I may be roasted on both sides for saying that I’m willing to be open to it, right? But I am and I think that’s why I won this election ’cause people are like: ‘O.K., she’s willing to go and just at least entertain the topics.”
According to the Social Security Administration, the system will be able to pay full benefits until 2037. At that point, monthly benefit checks would have to be cut by about 25 percent. Hinson says a Social Security fix should be part of a larger debate in the next congress about the national debt.
“If we aren’t cognizant of that, in this bigger discussion, there won’t be any Social Security or any of these entitlement programs if we don’t get a handle on that, too,” Hinson says, “so I think that’s a part of the discussion, trying to look at the debt, so these things are preserved long-term.”
Republicans and Democrats, Hinson says, are responsible for the ballooning national debt, which tops $27 trillion, and both sides should seek to reduce it. Hinson made her comments this weekend on the “Iowa Press” program on Iowa PBS.