Where is the President on Social Security?
August 9, 2012
Sen. Bernie Sanders asked on Wednesday where President Obama stands on protecting Social Security. In a radio interview with Ed Schultz, the senator questioned whether the president still stands by positions he staked out in his 2008 campaign. Four years ago, Obama was clear. He pledged in a Sept. 6, 2008, speech to AARP that he wouldn't raise the retirement age or change how yearly cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. "John McCain's campaign has suggested that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either," Obama said back then. This year, the president has barely mentioned Social Security.
Sanders earlier pressed the president to clarify his position today on Social Security in a July 24 Senate floor speech. "I do not believe that we should cut Social Security," Sanders said. "I would like to know, and I think the American people would like to know, if President Obama feels the same way. It is past time that the president told the American people in no uncertain terms that he will not cut Social Security on his watch."
The president's response so far: silence.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been clearer on Social Security, although clearly wrong. He has said he would begin the process of privatizing Social Security, gradually increasing the retirement age to 68 or 69, and cutting future Social Security benefits for millions of Americans.
As Sanders has noted, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit or our national debt. It has a $2.7 trillion surplus. It will be able to pay 100 percent of promised benefits to every eligible recipient for the next 21 years, just as it has done for the past 77 years.