Rep. Duncan Hunter, who, according to prosecutors, went repeatedly broke on a $174,000 salary and allegedly stole funds from his campaign to fund his lavish lifestyle, doesn’t think Americans waiting at least five more years to get Social Security or Medicare benefits would be a big deal.
“Because of medicine, because of medical technology in general, the fact that we’re not working in caves anymore or hunting animals, we’re working usually at desks or in a building,” Hunter, R-Calif., said earlier this month on a conference call with constituents, as first reported by The Huffington Post.
Hunter suggested on the call raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits from 67 to 72 and Medicare from 65 to 72, according to the report.
“I’m 41 years old. What if we said, ‘Hey, for everybody who’s under 45 years old, you don’t get to collect Social Security until you’re 72’” because of those advancements, Hunter said.
Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were indicted Tuesday on charges they used more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses such as vacations to Italy, Las Vegas and Hawaii; hotel rooms; video games; and golf outings, CNN reported. Margaret Hunter was also being paid thousands of dollars a month as her husband’s campaign manager.
According to the indictment, the Hunters were living well above their means: “Throughout the relevant period, the (Hunters) spent substantially more than they earned. They overdrew their bank account more than 1,100 times in a seven-year period resulting in approximately $37,761 in ‘overdraft’ and ‘insufficient funds bank’ fees. Their credit cards were frequently charged to the credit limit, often with five-figure balances, resulting in approximately $24,600 in finance charges, interest, and other fees related to late, over the limit, and returned payment fees.”
On Thursday, Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Duncan Hunter, who has not dropped his re-election bid, whether his $174,000 congressional salary was not enough.
“I think it depends where you live,” said Hunter, who represents San Diego. “It’s difficult to live in a place like San Francisco or San Diego or New York or D.C. It’s probably easier to live in Kansas or Missouri, so it’s all relative.”
On the call with constituents, Hunter said that changing the retirement age wouldn’t matter for him because the system wouldn’t exist by the time he would draw from it.
“You could do something like that and it would be really easy,” he said of raising the retirement age. “It wouldn’t impact me. I don’t plan on getting Social Security anyway. I think it will be busted.”