Graham Defends Social Security
Senator: 50 percent of seniors would be in poverty without the program
Sen. Lindsey Graham came to Greenville Technical College on Monday morning with the intent of championing the movement to add an amendment to the constitution that would require the maintaining of a balanced budget.
"I've been in Congress since 1995, and I am convinced neither party will do the hard things required to get this nation out of debt without a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. The reason I say that is 60 years of history," Graham said.
"We've had Republican congresses and Republican presidents, Democratic congresses and Democratic presidents, and we've got one thing in common -- the debt continues to grow."
But it was another issue -- one that has been at the forefront of the last two GOP debates -- that caught Graham's attention as he spokes to teachers and students at the university transfer building on Greenville Tech's main campus.
Graham said that means testing of wealthy Americans and gradually raising the age at which social security benefits can be received are two ways to begin to make America's most vilified entitlement program sustainable.
And while some in the Republican establishment have railed against social security before, calling for outright privatization, and even labeling it a ponzi scheme, Graham spoke in favor of making the current system sustainable.
Graham himself benefitted from social security, he explained, when his mother and father died when he was only in his early 20s. The survivor's benefit from the program helped to keep his family afloat.
After speaking to roughly 200 Greenville Tech students, he fielded questions from media members present.
"I think Governor Perry had a good op piece. It's (social security) going broke, and I told everybody here if you don't change it, you're going to lose it, and it's too valuable to lose. And it's going to be unsustainable. It's broke, Governor Perry is right - every Republican should be committed to putting on the table social security reform, because it is going broke, it is not sustainable we need to modernize it," Graham said.
"Having said that, every Republican should understand what I just said -- 50 percent of today's seniors would be in poverty without it, and young people today are going to have 401(k) plans and they could definitely outlive them."