John Kerry on Social Security
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry voted for Clinton’s 1993 deficit reduction package, which included a tax increase on benefits. The revenue from this tax hike went exclusively to the Medicare trust fund. Bush has not proposed in any of his tax cut packages a repeal of the tax increase that Kerry supported in 1993. The increase targeted higher-income households; the vast majority of Social Security recipients were not affected.
BUSH: There is a problem for our youngsters. We’ll honor our commitment to our seniors. But for our children, we need to have a different strategy. I believe that younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it in a personal savings account, because I understand that they need to get better rates of return than the rates of return being given in the current Social Security trust.
KERRY: You just heard the president say that young people ought to be able to take money out of Social Security and put it in their own accounts. Now, my fellow Americans, that’s an invitation to disaster. The CBO said very clearly that if you were to adopt the president’s plan, there would be a $2 trillion hole in Social Security, because today’s workers pay in to the system for today’s retirees. We’re going to protect Social Security. I will not privatize it. I will not cut the benefits.
KERRY: Well, we did protect Social Security in the US Senate, and Social Security is safe and sound well into the next two decades or more. With very minor changes, with a strong economy, the next generation will have Social Security. I will never privatize Social Security. I will never try to extend the retirement age for Social Security. And I will not cut any benefits for Social Security.
KERRY: Young people don’t believe that Social Security will be there for them. I intend to take the politics out of how we are going to guarantee that Social Security is sound into the future. And that requires leadership.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."
Balance America’s Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Women's Retirement Security Act of 2008: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to increase the retirement security of women and small business owners. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to:
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