FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Presidential commission released very controversial ideas to reign in the massive debt in the U.S. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Still, these painful proposals are catching some off guard. People we talked to around Fort Myers hope this plan is only a rough draft, and will have many many changes before it's put into play.
President Barack Obama's bipartisan deficit-cutting commission is tackling social security, taxes, domestic spending, and healthcare. One proposal:gradually increase social security retirement age to 69.
It wouldn't necessarily affect the soon-to-be retired, but their children or grandchildren.
"Bad idea," Georgie Kolomichenko said.
"The effectiveness of people at 69, trying to compete in the job market with 35 year olds is... yeah, they'll be Wal-Mart greeters and that's about it," Marilyn Hayes said, visiting from Spring Hill, FL.
An idea to cut the deficit and fund transportation programs is to increase the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon - an increase, most we met agree with. "Just use good economic sense and cut your spending on gas, carpool, get a bike, get a motorcycle," Laris Strassel said.
Another plan is to eliminate the current tax deduction homeowners receive for interest they pay on their mortgages.
"I don't like the fact that if you own something you have to pay taxes for it," Strassel said.
"We depend on that, especially when your children are gone," Hayes said. "Mine are grown. I need that tax break to actually help with taxes I have to pay at the end of the year. So if we are going to be paying interest to the banks it should stay with the bank."
Other key ideas: reduce Congressional and White House budgets, require Medicare participants to pay more costs themselves, and make cuts in domestic and military spending.
"We have an extremely large budget for military," Kolomichenko said. "I don't know if we need so much, probably not."
The Chairmen of the panel understand the ideas obviously won't be warmly received. In fact, one even joked he's going to have to be "in a witness protection program" once people read all the details.
At least 14 commission members of the committee must support this in order to proceed. They hope to have a final plan by December 1.