Carroll: Bennet doesn’t get spending, Social Security

Vince Carroll of the Denver Post writes that Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., for all of his promises to contain spending, shows little willingness to make “hard choices” and a surprisingly poor understanding of entitlement spending.

What gives me pause is not merely the fact that Bennet spent much of the campaign attacking Buck for proposing even small-caliber spending cuts — such as at the Education Department.

After all, it’s conceivable Bennet has better ideas for savings. Except he doesn’t. Every time I’ve heard Bennet hold forth — in three debates and on three occasions with the Post editorial board — his discussion of spending has been maddeningly noncommittal. And while he’s sharpened his positions of late, he has offered hardly any ideas that are a cinch to reap major savings.

Well, maybe one. In a visit to The Post, Bennet said he favored adding a month “every year going forward” to the Social Security retirement age of workers in their 20s. And while that would help overcome the program’s long-term shortfall, it almost certainly wouldn’t erase the gap — a fact Bennet didn’t realize.

“I actually think you can solve the problem just by raising the age,” he told us. No, not unless you plan to push full benefits north of age 70, which is rather extreme.

By contrast, if you hike the age to 70, you offset just one-third of the shortfall, according to a report released this summer by the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.

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