In a speech in New Hampshire, site of the first 2016 presidential primary, the New Jersey governor also proposed cutting off Social Security benefits in the future for retirees with annual incomes of $200,000 or more. He said seniors who wish to work after age 62 should be exempt from the payroll tax.
“Through its unwillingness to address our biggest challenges in an honest way, the Obama administration has put us on a perilous course for both our short-term and our long-term futures,” Christie told the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. “See, I think it’s time to tell the truth about what we need to do in order to solve our problems and put our country back on the path to greater prosperity.”
The proposal marked an attempt to establish Christie’s deficit-cutting credentials in a race that has three other Republicans as declared presidential candidates, with more to come. Christie says he will decide in May or June whether to launch a campaign for the nomination.
The speech tackled cherished benefit programs often considered untouchable in politics. It comes as Christie faces an uphill battle for a pension overhaul in New Jersey, where he has been sued by more than a dozen public workers’ unions for scaling back promised payments into pension funds as part of a deal that was hailed as a landmark during his first term.