Former Vice President Pence visits Washington and Lee University

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 11:47 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Former Vice President Mike Pence addressed a crowd at Washington and Lee University Tuesday. He mainly discussed potential reforms to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

“Today our national debt is 100 times larger than it was in 1965. And the biggest drivers of government spending are entitlements and interest on the national debt,” Pence said.

Pence, who is considering a potential 2024 presidential campaign, says it wouldn’t target anyone retiring soon, but rather younger generations.

“Over the next 30 years, Social Security and Medicare, along with interest on the national debt, will face a shortfall of $116 trillion,” he said.

University of Virginia Political Analyst Larry Sabato says talk like this is risky. “For decades, we called reform of Social Security and Medicare the third rail. That is, you got electrocuted when you touched it,” he said.

While Sabato says it is still a tough topic politically, he calls it a legitimate issue.

“It is absolutely true that we have to do something about entitlements. Even if it’s a new way of funding them, you have to do something about it because the funds are going to go bankrupt and we’re not talking about the far future, we’re talking about the middle future,” he said.

The former Vice President said some members of his own party and Democrats don’t want to have this discussion, but said it is critical to avoid a future crisis.

“Could face a $150 trillion in national debt and presumably have a national debt 5 times the size of our economy. That’s not a mountain of debt on your generation; that’s a mountain range of debt,” Pence said.

Pence says his decision about a potential 2024 presidential bid will come by this summer.