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Hirono, Case differ on Social Security issue

KAHULUI >> U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case vowed today to preserve Social Security and Medicare for future generations, but Case said he would consider raising the retirement age under Social Security for younger workers to help keep the program solvent, while Hirono ruled out that option.

The two Democrats who want to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Senate discussed federal entitlement programs at a one-hour debate hosted by AARP Hawaii at the Maui Beach Hotel.

Hirono and Case both oppose privatizing Social Security and would lift the $110,100 cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax that finances the program so higher-income workers would pay a greater share. Case, however, said he would also gradually raise the retirement age for younger workers. Seniors can now get early retirement benefits at 62 and full benefits at 65 or 67, depending on when they were born.

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