Utah's Republican Senate candidates have outlined a vision for reforming Social Security that includes raising retirement ages, private accounts and, in Mike Lee's case, taking the retirement safety net away from the federal government and letting states run it.
"Somewhere down the road we need to ask: Is the federal government the right government to be administering this?" Lee asked. "You don't find a retirement system in [the Constitution]. That, with the 10th Amendment, says it's a program best administered by the states."
Lee's proposal would mark a historic shift in the 75-year-old program, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in three cases in 1937 is a constitutional exercise of federal power.
Timothy Smeeding, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studies Social Security, was blunt in his assessment of Lee's proposal: "That is total horseshit."
"What happens to people who move in and out of the state? It's just knee-jerk," he said. "[Social Security] is a federal program. It covers you no matter where you live and as long as you live."
With workers moving between states, a state-by-state patchwork is an idea that is impractical and should be discarded, Smeeding said.
I'm sure Mike Lee thinks that the Air Force should be state-run, too.....