Ezra Klein, filling in for MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell this Tuesday evening, ended this segment responding to Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein's assertion that the Social Security retirement age should be raised with a question that we all already know the answer to:
KLEIN: [A]ll these folks who like to talk about raising the Social Security retirement age as if it's a complete no-brainer, they need to think harder about why they have settled on the single cut to Social Security that will concentrate its pain on people who are poor, who haven't fully shared in the remarkable increase in life expectancy and who really don't like going to their jobs every day. Why are they the people who should sacrifice the most on Social Security?
Because they haven't bought the politicians, who as Klein noted, too often are more than happy to stay at their jobs until they drop dead, unlike most Americans out there.
I just want to thank Ezra Klein for saying on television what way too few of his fellow pundits are willing to say out loud. Raising the age equals a cut in benefits for the poor and those who work physical jobs that most people just cannot continue working as we get older and our health declines, and for advocating that the cap be lifted. And for pointing out again what he wrote in his article at The Washington Post last month -- There’s nothing ‘courageous’ about raising the Social Security retirement age.
Here's what Blankfein told CBS's Scott Pelley:
BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.
PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?
BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. ... So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?
BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them.
We wondered whether he thinks the government needs more revenue in the form of higher taxes.
BLANKFEIN: In the long run, there has to be more revenue. And, of course, the burden of that revenue will be disproportionately taken up by wealthier people. That's just logical.
PELLEY: So higher taxes on wealthier people?
BLANKFEIN: More taxes on wealthier people, to the extent that we need to raise more revenue, and we do need to raise some more revenue.
PELLEY: Why is an increase in revenue, in tax money, necessary? Why can't you just cut your way out of the deficit?
BLANKFEIN: For sure certain people in this country wouldn't like the society you would have if you did that, and personally, I don't think I would like it either, if we went as far as to close our entire budget deficit in that way.
PELLEY: What kind of society would it be?
BLANKFEIN: I think it would be one where the safety net would be more porous and lower to the ground.
Rough transcript of Klein's full response below the fold.
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