Nikki Haley has a simple strategy for handling future shortfalls in Social Security funding.
During a Thursday appearance on Bloomberg News, the former South Carolina governor repeated her call for the retirement age for younger people to be raised above age 65.
In the interview, Haley, a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential ticket, accused her competitors in the GOP field of being unrealistic about the future of federal programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“Any candidate that says they’re not going to touch entitlements means they’re basically going to go into office and then leave America bankrupt,” she said.
“Social Security is going to go bankrupt in 10 years. Medicare is going to go bankrupt in eight,” the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned. “So the way we deal with it is we don’t touch anyone’s retirement or anyone who’s been promised in but we go to people like my kids in their 20s when they’re coming into the system and we say the rules have changed.”
Haley said the retirement age should be raised to factor in increased life expectancy, but didn’t have an exact figure to share.
“I think we have to do the numbers,” she said. “We’ve gotta figure out what it is but what we do know is 65 is way too low and we need to increase that. We need to do it according to life expectancy.”
Current federal regulations allow people to start receiving Social Security benefits at 62, but those born after 1960 are not eligible for full benefits until 67. People are eligible for Medicare coverage when they turn 65.
Haley’s fears about Social Security shortfalls are not unfounded.
In June, the Congressional Budget Office projected the program’s trusts would be exhausted by 2033.
Passing on the burden of Social Security shortfalls to millennials and those in Generation Z could have a profound economic impact on younger generations, however.
A 2021 study from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research showed that while the average millennial’s wages have caught up with prior generations, their overall wealth and retirement savings fall behind those of their predecessors.