How Mitt Romney's new plan would change Social Security and Medicare
Mitt Romney unveiled his fiscal plan to a tea party-aligned group Friday. It would cut some federal programs, and it could mean significant changes in Social Security and Medicare.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has laid out his fiscal plan “to turn around the federal government” by axing or reducing programs – including what could be significant changes to Medicare and Social Security.Skip to next paragraph
As might be expected from a relatively moderate Republican, Mr. Romney’s plan is not as drastic as others, such as fellow GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul’s, which would eliminate several departments of federal government, or House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s controversial plan, which Democrats say would “kill Medicare.”
Still, Romney’s pledge to “make government simpler, smaller, and smarter,” declared Friday in a speech to the tea party-aligned group Americans for Prosperity, was embraced by Congressman Ryan. That’s sure to set it up as a target for Democrats and for President Obama, as the incumbent president looks for ways to win reelection at a time when the US economy sputters and congressional Republicans reject his jobs-creating efforts.
“This is a great development,” Ryan told Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, regarding Romney. “It shows that the elusive adult conversation is taking place.... This tracks perfectly with the House budget.”
Among the elements in Romney’s plan:
- Cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product (it was 24.3 percent last year), which would require spending cuts of approximately $500 billion per year in 2016, assuming the economy grows about about 4 percent annually. (The US grew by 2.8 percent in 2010.) The plan would also reverse defense cuts in Obama administration budgets.
- Cut nonsecurity discretionary spending to below 2008 levels by cutting such spending 5 percent across the board.
- Privatize Amtrak, saving $1.6 billion.
- Reduce subsidies for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation, saving $600 Million.
- Eliminate Title X family planning funding that benefits groups like Planned Parenthood, saving $300 million.
- Reduce foreign aid by $100 million, particularly to countries the US borrows money from, including China.
- Reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition, align federal employee compensation with the private sector, and repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which, according to Romney, “forces the government to pay above-market wages, insulating labor unions from competition and driving up project costs by approximately 10 percent.”
On Social Security, Romney would “gradually raise the retirement age to reflect increases in longevity and slow the growth in benefits for higher-income retirees.”