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GOP senators: Raise retirement age, 'means test' Social Security

From NBC’s Doug Adams
Calling Social Security "broken," three Republican senators unveiled a plan Wednesday to overhaul the 75-year old entitlement program by raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for some wealthier Americans.

Two freshmen -- Tea Party Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- joined Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who has been working on this issue for more than five years.

A key part of their proposal would be to gradually raise the mandatory retirement age to 70 years old by 2032. 

“If you talk to young people in America - they've already accepted this,” Paul said. “I tell people ‘the knowledge has already been discounted. Young people know the age will have to go up gradually.’”

The senators also proposed "means testing" for Social Security benefits, meaning the reduction of benefits for wealthier Americans.

Under their plan, seniors making over $43,000 a year would have their monthly benefits reduced by $300 to $400 by 2032.

This year is the first year in which Social Security pays out more than it takes in, because people are living longer, and the huge wave of Baby Boomers is starting to hit retirement age. 

Neither Rep. Paul Ryan’s FY2012 budget nor the deficit plans outlined by President Barack Obama to date address specifics for addressing Social Security’s long-term solvency.

Graham noted the political hazards of discussing changes to benefits for America’s retirees, saying that Paul and Lee are the only co-signatories on his proposal.

"These are the only 2 guys I could find,” he said.

Mnsbc.com's Carrie Dann contributed.