New Jersey Gov. Christie (R), a potential 2016 presidential contender, is proposing to overhaul a number of entitlement programs, including reducing Social Security benefits, in a speech Tuesday.
Christie previewed those plans in an interview with Yahoo News. His proposal would raise the retirement age for Medicare and Social Security to 69 from the current 67. The early retirement age would be raised from 62 to 64. Social Security benefits for people making more than $80,000 a year would also be phased out; they would be eliminated for people with income incomes higher than $200,000.
Christie is also calling to eliminate payroll taxes for workers older than 62 to encourage older Americans to stay on the job.
The bold proposal could be politically dangerous for Christie, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Liberals quickly seized on the ideas to criticize the governor.
"What Gov. Christie is saying is just the continuation of the war being waged by the Republican Party against the elderly, against the children, against the sick and against the poor, in order to benefit millionaires and billionaires," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who is also weighing a bid for the White House, according to a report from TPM. "It is an outrage."
In the wide-ranging interview with Yahoo, Christie also said he wasn't ready for a presidential bid in 2012 and would have lost.
“Everything that everybody said back in 2011 about me running in 2012 was all theoretical. It was all based on the inherent assumption of, ‘He’ll do well if he performs well,' " he told Yahoo News.
“Well, that second part of the sentence is really important,” he continued. “The only way you’re going to perform well is if you believe in your heart that you’re ready to be president. And I didn’t. And so, there was no way I would have won in 2012. I wouldn’t have because I wasn’t ready.”
Asked if he was ready to run for president now, Christie said he was.
The New Jersey Republican is visiting New Hampshire to get face time with voters in the crucial early-primary state. He will do a series of town-hall events this week.
But his nascent efforts seem to be lagging behind those of other possible candidates, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whom Christie praised but also gently ribbed for his family's political dynasty.
“Let’s see if he can hold it,” he said of Bush’s momentum. “And I don’t know that he’s taken up that much of it. But he certainly makes the race different. Listen, if your father and your brother have been president of the United States, and you enter the race, you make the race different, you know?
“There’s no one else who could have entered the race who was bringing that resume to the table, that both their father and their brother had been president.”
— Updated at 12:38 p.m.