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McCain's Dirty Little Social Security Secrets

One of the many issues on which John McCain is hiding his plans from the American people in is regards to Social Security. It's an important issue to a lot of people.... a lot of Americans are counting on Social Security being there for them when they retire.

What McCain has said is "everything is on the table" with regards to changes he'd make - he just won't tell anyone specifically what he favors. It's all part and parcel of the new John McCain we saw emerge at the convention -- "I won't address the issues, but vote for me and I'll take care of you" smirk, *wink, *wink.

Sure - and sure enough John McCain supported President Bush's efforts to privatize social security -- a disastrous proposal which -- in light of the current mortgage debt and financial crisis -- would have effectively stripped the "security" this program offers and tilted the tables in favor of the rich financiers and Wall Street banks who would have made additional fortunes off the backs of Americans seeking investment shelters for the privatized funds.

A few of the McCain proposals have been leaked by his campaign staff. They've suggested trimming benefits and raising the eligibility age -- a one-two punch that'll knock many every-day Americans' plans for retirement right into the crapper.

It's not surprising, really. The only way to save Social Security is to pump more money into the program, and that means raising the cap and requiring rich Americans to pay more so the rest of America can benefit from the program we've been paying into for our entire adult lives.

McCain doesn't want that. He cares more about rich Americans than he cares about the other 95% of us.

Unlike McCain's dirty little secret plans to aid the rich and screw the rest of us, Barack Obama has laid out specific proposals to rescue social security -- plans that work for the rest of us, not just the rich.

Earlier today Obama addressed the AARP and specifically pledged that "anybody who is investing in Social Security will get their full benefit -- not 75 cents on the dollar, not 80 cents on the dollar -- they are going to get a dollar's worth of benefits for their contributions to Social Security."

McCain will not make that same pledge, what John McCain will do to retiring Americans remains his dirty little secret. Obama has a plan:

Despite the many smears of his opponents, Obama does not support uncapping the full payroll tax of 12.4 percent rate. Instead, he is considering plans that would ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee). This change to Social Security would start a decade or more from now and is similar to the rate increases floated by John McCain's close adviser Senator Lindsey Graham and that McCain has previously said he "could" support.

Specific proposals made today by Obama:

Obama cited his proposals to place a new Social Security payroll tax on incomes above $250,000 and to eliminate federal income taxes for older people making less than $50,000 a year. He also said he would "allow the government to negotiate with drug companies to lower costs for seniors, and we'll allow reimportation of drugs from other countries and ensure their safety."

Wage earners above $250,000 would pay more, and working Americans making less than $50,000 a year would pay less, and while this alone won't close the gap it'll go a long way towards returning Social Security to solvency.

Obama also recognizes the importance of putting the federal budget on a sound foundation and getting rid of the growing national debt perpetuated on the American people by the Bush-McCain economic policies. A balanced budget and reduction of the national debt will further protect Social Security funds from future raids, insuring the money will be there for retiring Americans.

Obama offers specific plans that protect Social Security and help working Americans and yes... it'll mean Americans making $250,000 or more will pay more to make this happen. Sooner or later more money has to be pumped into the fund -- there are fewer working Americans per retiree - and we have to get more money in the program.

McCain offers secret plans and a history of supporting dangerous privatization, and hints at benefit cuts and a higher eligibility age.

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Comments (6)

Ray H.:

That's all fine and dandy, but when you talk about fixing Social Security, eliminating taxes on the elderly, socializing health care, balancing the budget, paying off student loans for individuals that provide a public service and other items I'm sure I'm missing, you'll have to hike taxes on everyone a significant amount unless someone finds a way to save a whole lot of money elsewhere. A lot of people are going to be very disappointed when they realize all of this is fiscally impossible. The rich can only pay so many taxes before they take their money and companies to other countries. I live in NY, and you find that we have some of the highest taxes and as such both companies and professionals decide to move elsewhere where it's more economically favorable to live.

Social Security should be privatized...but actuarial problems prevent a complete privitization now...and that has nothing to do with current mortgage debt and financial crises.

Social Security is at present a ponzi scheme that will, as all ponzi schemes do, collapse under it's own weight. Social Security is also a bi partisan problem...every member of Congress dating back to the Kennedy administration, and every President is responsible.

The now more than twenty year history of IRA's and 401 K plans has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that American citizens can save wisely for their own retirement.

The only question is what to do with the millions of fully vested SS recipients that are beginning to receive benefits now.

SS should be means tested....immediately. Privatization is not the problem (IRA's and 401 K's solved that problem), paying benefits to the middle and upper middle class is the problem. Good luck telling them that they don't get back the money they paid in. I don't have the answer for that.

But stop requiring twenty one year olds to pay in. That will force the issue to a solution, however painful. And Lee, given your experience with unions I have to ask: if the UAW and other unions are being asked to give back MAJOR benefit packages so that their employers MIGHT survive, why shouldn't middle class and upper middle class tax payers be asked to do the same?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Our government doesn't fail Americans, it's not how we Democrats see it anyway.

Hard-working Americans deserve a dollar's worth of benefits for every dollar they contributed. Obama has made that pledge - McCain hides his true intentions.

Republicans are willing to waste billions on a pointless war in Iraq -- and yet they want to steal retirement dollars from Americans who've given their all for 45 years.

Obama doesn't agree with you and McCain in calling for less benefits.

Americans don't work for the government, Hugh, it's the other way around. At least, it will be once we rid Washington of several dozen more Republicans.

Ray H.:

Hugh, I have to disagree with you. You and I are able to effectively use a 401(k) and IRA in order to secure our future, but there are millions of stupid people that can't seem to take care of themselves. That why I call the Dems the superheros of the stupid people.

I think programs like this should continue for the select few that absolutely can't because they have a disability. But there are millions more that think having cell phones, plasma TVs and name brand tennis shoes are more important than saving their own retirement funds. And because I am able to secure my own future, the Dems think I need to be penalized by having my money taken away and given to those who didn't.

John S.:

"Hard-working Americans deserve a dollar's worth of benefits for every dollar they contributed. Obama has made that pledge..."

So you're saying Obama will cut off Social Security and Medicare benefits 20 months after retirement? Because that's what most retirees actually contributed dollar-for-dollar. Fact is future liabilities (some $54 trillion) dwarf total payroll deductions since 1936. But Congress spent every dime, so we're supposed to retire on new taxes.


Lee, Social Security and Medicare each has way more problems than can be solved by replacing a few republicans with democrats. Bruce Alger, a Republican way back when decades ago, started screaming about future SS problems. Both Dems and Repubs thought he was nuts. He wasn't.

OTOH, if we can bail out the banks to the tune of a trillion dollars, we can probably take care of SS for our lifetimes. Medicare is another story:


Ray, that was a nice piece of smug, but your IRA and 401 plans are going to be essentially worthless if the country goes bankrupt, which is the direction it is headed. And the reasons are two-fold; the war on drugs has been lost and the war on poverty is one of the reasons why we are headed toward bankruptcy. We borrow out money back from China and the Oil States to fund our shortfalls where we spend more than we take in. Yes, and it is a bit more complex than that, but for simplification, good enough.

After Newt's ego blew him up, the Republicans floundered in Congress under the likes of Tom DeLay, the pit bull idiot from Sugarland, TX. The Democrats who followed a couple of years ago are maybe even worse. Clinton did a pretty good job until his waha got him in trouble. The elements of competition put in place between Newt and Clinton is the reason for the prosperity during the 90's and that was a joint effort by Clinton and Newt. The toxic atmosphere during the late 90's and early 2000's is the reason we are where we are. And both Dems and Repubs share the blame and the unintended consequences.

We are all victims of what Peggy Noonan calls the "Bubblehead" mentality and if affects almost all of us. I don't see that we are going back to the days of semi-cooperation and civilized debate any time soon.

The truth is that neither the Dems nor the Repubs have all the answers or are the source of all the problems. It is the lack of cooperation as fueled by the self interest of politicians and the public persona's of the likes of Olberman, Hannity, Colmes and Limbaugh, not to overlook Ann Coulter and Paul Krugman.


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