This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," February 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: OK. Despite all this, my next guest, believe it or not, is pushing a plan to lower the retirement age.
With us now, Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Thanks for joining us, sir.
Boy, we spend a lot of time on TV, you and I, together. And I still — tell us what your plan is and why you think this will work.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH D-OHIO: For a six-month period, only, if you understand, as your previous report indicated, that many are taking early retirement. Seventy percent of people eligible for retirement at age 62 are taking that retirement.
In order to create a million job openings, what I have advocated is that people who are 60 years old be given a chance to take retirement as though they were 62. That would create a million job openings. It would be paid for by money that has not been spent in the bailout funds or in the American Recovery Act funds. It wouldn’t cost that much. It would create a million job openings.
BOLLING: Well, can I stop — can I stop you right there?
KUCINICH: Go for it.
BOLLING: Let’s just do this, so people understand it.
The way I understand it, the first — the next one million people that want to retire at age 60 will be given that opportunity; is that right so far?
KUCINICH: If the law passes, they would have that just for — but only for about a six-month window.
BOLLING: OK. And this will cost how much?
KUCINICH: This would cost approximately $15 billion.
BOLLING: And this money will come from where?
KUCINICH: It would come from money that hasn’t been used in the bailout fund and — or in the American Recovery Act fund.
The COBRA part of the benefit would cover — come from the American Recovery Act. And the rest of it would come from the bailout funds that haven’t been used. There would be no money taken out of Social Security whatsoever.
BOLLING: Representative, I – here’s my issue with this. And I remember this when we were going through it when TARP one was passed. It was $350 billion, with another $350 billion behind it, if necessary.
And it was passed, it was signed, it was pushed through very quickly. Apparently, the banks needed it. The problem was, no one said, what are going to do we do with the money when and if it comes back in? And a lot of people said, hey, don’t make this is a congressional slush fund. Let’s make sure we retire debt with the money when it comes back in.
The problem is now, sir, you’re suggesting using $15 billion of this money coming back. The president suggested $50 billion for mortgage mitigation. There was a $30 billion small business fund.
It seems like it’s a congressional checkbook for 700 billion more dollars for spending.
KUCINICH: Well, I voted against the bailout, because I felt that it was wrong for government to interfere in the private sector and then tried to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. I don’t go along with that. Now, we have a national emergency here with unemployment. Sixteen million people are out of work. And the private sector is not creating those jobs. They’re actually creating the job vacancies, because they’re laying people off by the hundreds of thousands.
So, if somebody has a better idea about helping to create a million job openings, I’m ready to listen to what you have to say.
But this is something we have to do now. We can’t wait for the private sector to respond.
BOLLING: Congressman, correct me if I’m wrong. You’re going to take a million people out of the job force, put them on Social Security, and just use those same million jobs. You’re not creating any new jobs.
KUCINICH: This is not mandatory. This creates a million job openings. It’s so, people, if they want to retire...
BOLLING: Openings, but not a million jobs. You’re just taking a job that was already occupied.
KUCINICH: Wait a minute. There’s 15 million jobs to go. These are people who, if they want to — and we see that most people who reach retirement age are looking to retire — if they have the option available, people who are age 60 may choose to do so. We’re calculating one out of four, one out of five would take the advantage.
BOLLING: But, sir, explain this. It’s not a new job. You’re just taking an existing job and removing someone from that job, and putting someone else in it.
KUCINICH: Instead of 16 million unemployed, you would have 15 million unemployed, and the rest — and people who are taking early retirement. That’s exactly right.
BOLLING: All right.
KUCINICH: ...You know, the math works out.
What doesn’t work out is that we’re standing by arguing about deficit reduction, while the country’s going to hell in a hand basket, with 15, 16 million people out of work. We have got to do something to get people back to work.
BOLLING: All right. That’s Representative Dennis Kucinich, Democrat from Ohio.
Thank you very much.
KUCINICH: Thank you.