Daniels: It's not too late to change entitlement programs

Sep 24, 2013

Purdue President Mitch Daniels says for the United States to prosper, spending on entitlements must be reined in soon. He was one of several people who spoke at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels spoke on fixing the entitlements programs in the United States before a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation audience Tuesday.

The forum looked at the costs and impacts of entitlement programs on future generations, and possible reforms and solutions available. 

Daniels says government spending on Social Security and Medicare leaves less money for such things as university research, which in turn hurts the national economy.

“Investments in basic research of the kind done since World War II in a very brilliantly conceived way on American research universities’ campuses is a major driver of the innovation we need to grow and succeed as a country.”

Daniels says the very wealthy who do not need Social Security or Medicare should do without, and he would gradually raise the age of eligibility. However, he would protect those who already are receiving benefits or those who are close to retirement.

“We could put these changes in law very prospectively and say to everybody in the system today – everybody within several years of the system – you are good to go. A deal’s a deal. Nothing changes for you.”

At the same time, Daniels says those older Americans need to help find a solution and take the financial burden off the backs of younger Americans. He admits the problem is dire, but there is a way to fix the situation.

“We are still above water. We do have the opportunity. We don’t have to dream that we can somehow do it all at once. We don’t have to do that. Maybe we start with a few changes that people can absorb and understand.”

Daniels thinks part of the problem is people have been misled to believe they’re only taking out what they put into the system. He says the truth is they’re taking out much more, at the cost of future generations.

You can watch the entire U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event HERE.