John Kasich’s Social Security comments drew criticism on Friday following his remark during an event promoting cuts and other service programs. The Republican presidential candidate was asked about entitlement reform during NH1’s “Fiscal Fridays” series in Concord, New Hampshire, and he said it was something that would have to get done, according to CNN.
“I’d rather have people be in a position where they’re aggravated with me so I can accomplish something, than have them love me and accomplish nothing,” the former governor of Ohio told the audience. “I’m not there to run a popularity contest.”
John Kasich’s Social Security argument is that the plan needs to be saved, but he then asked the crowd how many of them knew how much their initial payments would be. Two people raised their hands to indicate that they did know.
“What if I told you that your initial benefit was gonna be somewhat lower in order to save the program?” he asked. “Would that drive you crazy?”
When one audience member responded that it would “upset” them, Kasich told them, “Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it.”
Though the remark drew laughter from both the audience and the moderator, the state Democratic Party circulated the video online, accusing Kasich of “[threatening] our Granite State seniors.”
Kasich later made a similar statement about Medicare, saying that any voter wanting him to “ignore the fact that it’s going broke” would not like him.
In a brief interview later, he accused Democrats in turn of allowing Social Security to “get to a point where it could go bankrupt.”
“We’re getting close to Halloween, and they just want to scare people,” Kasich added.
John Kasich on Social Security cuts: 'Get over it' http://t.co/dI0hNk7vi1
— John Kasich (@JohnKasichNews) October 10, 2021
Kasich said he was part of the effort to reform Medicare and Medicaid in the ’90s, and that he also had a plan to change Social Security so that initial benefits were lowered for individuals not yet near eligibility.
Kasich did not go into full detail on what his plan would be, saying he would roll it out soon after some number crunching. But he noted that in the past, his cuts would have started with baby boomers.
He initially said young people would see “a lot” lower benefit, before correcting himself to say perhaps not “a lot,” but some amount.
Later in the day, John Kasich’s Social Security criticism was labeled as “silly” by the former Ohio governor, and he said “difficult” bipartisan changes are necessary in order to stabilize the program.