CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is calling for fundamental changes in Social Security and other entitlement programs during a visit to senior-rich Florida.

The former Minnesota governor said Tuesday that entitlement programs are not sustainable.

Pawlenty says if elected he would push to gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security and phase out cost-of-living increases for wealthier Social Security recipients.

Pawlenty said current retirees or those close to retiring wouldn’t be affected.

The White House hopeful is billing himself as the candidate who will be blunt with voters about solutions to major issues.

Pawlenty won praise from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Twitter after a speech in Iowa corn country advocating a phase-out of the ethanol subsidy. Bush’s tweet said he admired Pawlenty’s truth-telling.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (26)
  1. One more thing says:

    Why in the world would anyone think it is OK to mess with a retired person’s main line of income? For Gosh sakes, Do they think you get wealthy living on that amount? A person works their whole life, only to end their careers with that as a sole means of income, and now you have people saying it is an entitlement……paying into something your whole working life is not an entitlement. It is a promise made by the Feds years ago.

    1. Tom says:

      You do relize that most people get back a lot more than they put in…why not make it so they get back what they put in only instead of giving out more than they earned? Also stop paying for other things than retirement out of that fund.
      If a childs father dies why start paying SS to the family?

    2. Chris says:

      If you read the story, it is clear in that current and close to retirement folks will not be affected. They also need a plan to make the program sustainable and that is what Timmy is recommending. I think he is on the right track by communicating policy changes to the younger people so that they do not get disappointed or burned. The story says nothing of what it takes for you to live now, so relax and enjoy your permanent vacation.

  2. Workinghard says:

    While I am not currently a Pawlenty supporter, I do feel that serious reform needs to put these Entitlement Programs and their free loaders into check. There is no reason unemployment should last for 99 weeks! Greed is what brought on this financial problem to start with and it’s those who feel entitled to a paid 99 week vacation that keep us in this never ending cycle. When I see neighbors building a $$$ deck from my tax dollars (since it’d be safe to say they aren’t having taxes deducted from their employment checks) I have a problem with that. We all need to contribute.

    1. griley says:

      They will pay taxes on unemployment, either when received or on April 15 Aiil payments are reported to the IRS as taxable income. I agree it was greed that caused economic stuation we are in, those that caused it are still gainfully employed for the most part. It is the people farther down the economic later that are losing their jobs.

    2. Vern says:

      Unemployment is taxed. Unemployment insurance comes from the employers, not you. The maximum you can get is 578 a week or 44% of your wages, whichever is lower. That figure goes down after 26 weeks as your maximum benefit is 33% of your last yearly wage. Your neighbor might have an alternative income coming from somewhere. If your neighbor works for an industry that is not working much now like the trades it is difficult to find work. Employers are not going to hire an out of work plumber to sweep the floor.

      1. Don_J says:

        Actually you’re wrong. While the employer pays the money to state and federal it is the EMPLOYEE who pays the bulk of the actual money via payroll taxes collected by the employer, but companies do pay a portion into the system too. Maybe you need to go into your HR dept and ask questions.

  3. Frank says:

    In his eight years as governor did he and his crew found the proverbial waste in government when they were in charge of it. NO
    In that same time did he do anything to change entitlements in Minnesota? There are still complaints that people are moving here from Chicago.
    Does he ever state more than the obvious? People are working later past 62.the earliest age for retirement. It is a no brainer that you can cut the wealthy off from social security.

  4. Bobby says:

    Funny how he ran MN into the ground financially and now he is an expert on national finances. Seriously, does anyone beleive anything this guys says?

    1. Chuck says:

      Bobby, You are crazy as he did a good job and stop twisting it around already! Tough choices result in sacrifices too, as it just cannot continue. If he had not held a hard line, we would be in really big trouble now. What kind of hit did you take to get a chip on your shoulder regarding T-Paw… seems like the only explanantion for you to attack with such poor information! There should be laws against saying untruths about others… oh wait, there are and I wish they would stick you with it!

      1. Don_J says:

        You know what CHUCK… it’s very easy to say “tough choices are needed…” when YOU are not the one on the end of those “tough choices”. I just find it very disgusting that people often like to come out to these online forums and spout off about how things need to change… until those changes affect them and they find that cushy life ain’t so cushy anymore.

        So you’re saying that all of those “slight of hand tricks”… like taking money from the counties or cities which forced them to raise taxes was the right thing to do… sounds a lot like “I got mine, now go get yours…”

        You cannot “cut” your way out of debt, you got to raise money, because you still gonna be in debt the next time the budget comes around and if there’s nothing left to cut then what you gonna do…

      2. llp says:


      3. Linda says:

        Chuck – What state are you living in? Minnesota is in big trouble. Mr. Pawlenty raided every fund in State government that had money in it and put the money in the general fund. One of the big ones was the Minnesota State Board of Electricity – he stole money from that fund, which was suppose to pay electrical inspectors and combined that Department into the Dept. of Labor & Industry and hired his buddy Swiggum to run it. What a mess that has became.
        Pawlenty has raised every fee imaginable over his time in office, and then says I did not raise taxes. It’s called smoke and mirrors. Our property taxes continue to rise and we just received our renewal for license tabs – don’t have a fancy new car, but the tabs are $280.00. This is not ok. Also who left the state with a 5 billion dollar debt?

    2. Whatever Bobby says:

      Bobby, DId he single handedly run MN into the ground financially or did he have help from the other party? BOTH parties love to spend money. Wake up and stop believing that the Democrats are innocent. They both suck.

    3. dan says:

      Ran it into the ground? Try again Bobby. Lets see some numbers to back up your claims. He controlled MN at one of our worst times in History. Please explain how his policies ran the state into the ground?

      1. Don_J says:

        OK…explain why the state is 5 Billion in the hole… he said that we weren’t…

    4. GH says:

      Bobby have you ever lived anywhere besides Minnesota? I think it’s crazy for you people to say he ran the state into the ground!! Every state but one has a deficit!!! Minnesotans have no idea what it’s like to really fall on hard times. Stop your whining you ignorant baby!!!

  5. EZ says:

    How is social security entitlement? We all pay into it, from the first day we start work until the day we die. If that fool wants to end social security than he had better refund every single penny that I ever put into the fund. I don’t see why the government should be able to take my hard earned money and not give it back at some point.

    1. snowman says:

      You are entirely correct

  6. Why no revolution in the USA says:

    Why don’t we ever see cuts made on our public servants’ health insurance benefits for life program? Seriously?

    1. snowman says:

      Good question

  7. GOPSUX says:

    It is always easy to talk about sacrifice, when others are making it.

  8. dphilips says:

    Why doesnt Pawlenty take a cut?

  9. snowman says:

    Pawlenty says if more bailouts. Without the bailouts
    of GM, Chrysler, AEG, the country would have slipped into depression

  10. snowman says:

    Pawlenty is a joke, not to be taken seriously. During his 8 yrs,
    Minnesotas infrastructure crumbled

  11. This Guy says:

    So EZ, you believe you are “entitled” to a refund of what you paid in to SS? Curious! It is supposed to be a safety net, insurance if you will, not a refund program. You are the person with the entitlement mentality.

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