Last night Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN), Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Gov. Gary Johnson (NM), Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) and the CEO of Godfather Pizza Herman Cain (GA) officially launched the 2012 race for the White House at the first Republican Presidential Primary debate of this cycle. The GOP debate was organized by Fox News at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina.
After the debate, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was interviewed by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.
HANNITY: How would you balance the budget for the federal government and begin the process of paying off $14 trillion plus in debt which is going to be higher soon?
PAWLENTY: There are many things we have to do. I governed a very liberal state. I had the first government shutdown in 150 years. I set a record for vetoes. I un-allotted more money using executive authority in my eight years than all the other 140-some odd years of governors combined. You’ve got to draw lines in the sand. It does lead substantially to reforming entitlement programs. We have to look the people in the eye, tell them what we are going to do.
And it includes this — we have to raise the retirement age for Social Security for new entrants into the program. Don’t scare the people who are already on the program. Anybody who is not yet contributing to Social Security. So, people coming into the workforce at age 16, 17, 18, that retirement age will raise gradually over time.
Pawlenty claims he will not raise the retirement age of people who are already in the Social Security system. He will only adjust the retirement age of teenagers up to 18 years old who have not yet entered the workforce (and coincidentally are too young to vote in 2012). An 18-year old in 2013 would not qualify for a full retirement pension until 2062. Thus, the change which Gov. Pawlenty is advocating will only begin to affect the deficit half a century from now.
So is Pawlenty being honest about what he is going to cut, or is balancing the deficit not really a priority for him?