If the United States does not turn the economy around in six years, social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security may not last, Republican Chris Shays told the .
At the COC's breakfast meeting, Shays said, "Doing nothing will result in all those services disappearing."
He criticized Democrat Chris Murphy for promising no change to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
One listener asked about the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, which the Supreme Court court upheld today (Thursday).
"I really think health care programs need to be decided on a state level," Shays said, adding that state law is easier to change than federal law.
The candidate noted that there have already been 1,700 exemptions to the clause that fines people who choose not to purchase health care plans. Labor unions also get "cadillac plans without the penalty," according to Shays.
In his opening remarks, Shays recalled how "my brothers thought that I was spoiled because I lived better than they had."
But that is the American dream, successive generations living better lives than their predecessors, Shays said. "My dad made me think it was my birthright."
That is not the case today, according to Shays. The economy grew 1.6 percent and 15 million to 25 million people are unemployed.
"That's not normal," Shays said. Employment should be 95 to 96 percent and growth at four percent. The question is, "How to get back to that," he said.
"We need to first get our financial house in order," Shays said. "You have to reduce the size of the government."
Then the country needs to capitalize on its resources, including natural gas. "What we have is an unbelievable amount of natural gas and oil in this country," the candidate said.
Low coal prices are helping to keep energy prices low, and the steel industry will benefit from the piping need to transport the fossil fuels.
He also called for fewer tax writeoffs and phasing out the inheritance tax. "I'm into what generates economic activity," Shays said.
The candidate would call upon his experiences in Washington, D.C. Shays served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2008.
"I'm looking to put all the knowledge I have and the experience and the talent" into the turning the country around, he said. He also vowed to include democrats in all his decisions and work across the aisle.
The primary between Shays and Republican Linda McMahon is scheduled for Aug. 14.