Mitt Romney recently gave a speech on Social Security, and no one noticed—people were distracted by all the empty seats. But Gail Collins was listening. "Romney has several ideas for Social Security, all involving cuts in benefits," she reports in the New York Times. Chief among them: Raising the retirement age. After all, back when Social Security started, life expectance was 60-64 years. Now 60-somethings on TV talk about "living out their dreams… If they have that much energy, why not make them keep working?"
"There are some good arguments against it," Collins assures us, starting with the legion of unemployed 20-somethings who want their jobs. Also, life expectancy statistics are heavily influenced by infant mortality—people weren't actually keeling over at 65 in 1935. Finally, "I would like to hear Mitt Romney lead a discussion on professional opportunities for laid-off 63-year-olds." The real fix for Social Security is eliminating the payroll tax cap, which exempts all income above $110,100 a year. "Anybody who refuses to even discuss the payroll tax cap is not serious about fixing Social Security," Collins argues. Surprise: Romney has already ruled it out. And then Collins' inevitable closer: "Also, he once drove to Canada with his dog tied to the roof of the car. End of story."