Touring Tennessee during the congressional recess, Senator Bob Corker has revived a rather lonely mission — to raise the retirement age and stabilize Social Security. The two-term Republican says he believes he can find support, if people will hear him out.
Senator Corker has been talking about tweaking Social Security to keep the program solvent since 2010. He acknowledges that it's easy to get taken out of context and create an "onslaught" of angry constituents. So he's been laying out the broad terms of his proposal in front of voters from Memphis, Brentwood and Crossville over the last week.
"I think when you sit down with people and explain the kinds of changes you're talking about, and they realize this isn't going to affect me in any way, then it works," he told reporters after speaking to the Brentwood Rotary Club.
Corker told the group of Williamson County residents he wants to slowly raise the retirement age by a year or two over the course of several decades — that would mean moving the retirement age up by just a couple of weeks annually. He also wants to reduce how much wealthy retirees get in federal benefits.
"The Social Security component can be dealt with relatively painlessly if we just began to do it," Corker said. "When you look at those time horizons over a 75-year period, it doesn't take much to get things back in balance."
If Social Security doesn't change, Corker argues the financial burden could be the "undoing" of the nation.