Many think it’s the third rail of politics — changing health and retirement benefits for millions of Americans. But it is one of the things on the table as Democrats and Republicans in Congress wrangle over the deficit.
Congressman Peter King said that nothing should be done to affect people already collecting benefits or those who will enter the program over the next decade. However, he said the programs were unsustainable for the long term and must be fixed.
“Quite frankly, I believe that just about everything should be on the table,” King told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer.
King said his position was a result of the thousands of new people going on Medicare every day.
“The average person on Medicare receives twice as much in benefits as they paid in premiums, so over the long term that’s non-sustainable,” King said.
Michael Olender, Associate Director of The American Association of Retired Persons, said the group is “flatly opposed to discussing cuts to Medicare and Social Security as a means of reaching some deal on deficit reduction.”
“These programs have not contributed to the deficit one penny and as such they should not be cut one penny,” Olender said.
AARP has vowed to fight any move in Washington that cuts benefits, but there are definitely mixed feelings in the area.
“It’s not as good idea. I think we have to reverse some of the George Bush policies first and then possibly look at other things, but tax breaks for millionaires and other subsidies for the wealthy just don’t make it,” Michael Avramides, a Turtle Bay resident, said.
However, Jerry Browne, a Croton-On-Hudson resident, said it doesn’t bother him.
“I just find it’s eating out of our pockets left and right the Obamacare, all of that, I’m not a big fan of it. I think everybody has to start taking responsibility for themselves,” Browne said.
President Obama said his deficit reduction meeting with lawmakers was “very constructive.”
Sources told CBS 2 that House Republican leader John Boehner told his members there could be a deal in a matter of days. Any deal is expected to close tax loopholes and have other revenue measures.
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