Obama on Social Security
SEN. OBAMA: . . . [O]n Social Security, for example, she has maintained, it appears, that if we just get our fiscal house in order that we can solve the problem of Social Security. Now, we’ve got 78 million baby boomers that are going to be retiring, and every expert that looks at this problem says “There’s going to be a gap, and we’re going to have more money going out than we have coming in unless we make some adjustments now.” . . .
Ah, the Social Security "crisis." More.
. . . Now, I think that Social Security is the single most important social program that we have in this country, and I want to make sure that it’s there not just for this generation, but for next generations. So that means that we’re going to have to make some decisions, and it’s not sufficient for us to just finesse the issue because we’re worried that, well, we might be attacked for the various options we present.
MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, you said last year—earlier this year that everything should be on the table for Social Security, including looking at raising retirement age, indexing benefits, and then suddenly you said, “No, no. Those aren’t off—on the table; I’m taking them off the table.”
SEN. OBAMA: Tim, that’s not—that’s not what I said. What I said was that I will convene a meeting as president where we discuss all of the options that are available. [Now where have I heard that one before? Hmm. Did Hillary say the same thing? Yep.] That doesn’t mean that as president I will not have strong opinions on how we should move forward. And when you look at how we should approach Social Security, I believe that cutting retire—cutting benefits is not the right answer. I meet too many seniors all across the country who are struggling with the limited Social Security benefits that they have. That raising the retirement age is not the best option, particularly when we’ve got people who ware still in manufacturing. By the time they’re 67, their bodies, oftentimes...
MR. RUSSERT: But in May you said they would be on the table.
SEN. OBAMA: Well, when I—I am going to be listening to any ideas that are presented, but I think that the best way to approach this is to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like myself are paying a little bit more and the people who are in need are protected. That is the option that I will be pushing forward. But, look, even as president I’m not going to be able to get this done by myself, and that means that I’m going to be listening to any other ideas out there. It doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not going to have a strong position on it.
MR. RUSSERT: But they would be on the table?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, I will listen to all arguments and the best options, finding out what is it going to take to close that gap. But what I’m going to continue to insist on is that the reason we need to fix it now is precisely to protect our senior citizens and maintain not only Social Security as a social insurance program, but also make sure that the benefits are sufficient so that we don’t have seniors in need.
MR. RUSSERT: When you say “raise the cap,” right now you pay payroll tax on the first $97,500. If you increase that for people to pay Social Security tax on their full income, about 10 million people, some could pay as much as $5,000 a year more. How is that going to play in November?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, it—you know, I have not specified exactly how we would structure it. Conceivably, you might have the equivalent of a doughnut hole, although this one would be a good one, as opposed to the bad doughnut hole that Bush set up for, for prescription drugs where you have a gap between people who are of middle income and very wealthy people. But, look, I’ve, I’ve got a friend, Warren Buffett, you may know, the guy made $46 million last year. This is public information because he’s concerned that he is paying a lower tax rate than anybody else in his office. And, you know, he has said, and I think a lot of us who have been fortunate are willing to pay a little bit more to make sure that a senior citizen who is struggling to deal with rising property taxes or rising heating bills, that they’ve got the coverage that they need.
MR. RUSSERT: So you would not be afraid to say, “We have a problem with Social Security, and I’m willing to raise taxes on some to help address the?to fix it.”SEN. OBAMA: I, I, I believe that it is important for us to look at all the options, but I think that the best option would be to make sure that those who are in the best position to help solve this problem are willing to do so.
(Emphasis supplied.) No options off the table? Uh oh. The funny thing is that the reality of Obama's position is that it is equivalent to Hillary's position. 'Cept she is handling the issue much more shrewdly politically.
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