The Erickson School’s Dr. Joe Gribbin has commented on my post on McCain’s comments regarding Social Security.
Dr. Gribbin offers a generous interpretation of what McCain might have meant to say.
While it is possible that this is just a flubbed line, it is definitely true that McCain supports the same kind of privatization schemes that the Bush Administration wanted but did not get.
Here’s Dr. Gribbin’s comment…
Having studied closely the comments made and the positions taken by both candidates for president I can say with absolute certainty that what McCain meant to say (and he fumbled it) was that it is a disgrace that young people are supporting older generations without the certainty that the program will pay them 100% of promised benefits.
I strongly disagree with Dr. Thomas’ characterization of McCain’s position. While I think that the positions taken by both McCain and Obama are seriously lacking in addressing issues in such a way to equitably share the pain of resolving the financial issues with the program while preserving its core principles of social adequacy and social equity, it is patently unfair to state or imply that McCain is against Social Security. Ideology can be a dangerous and counter-productive thing when trying to heal this program.
–Dr. Joseph Gribbin
Former Associate Commissioner, Social Security Administration and currently Professor at the Erickson School of Aging Studies.
Dr. Gribbin feels that “it is patently unfair to state or imply that McCain is against Social Security”
Here are the key Social Security votes of the last 10 years…
McCain Voted for Bush’s 2006 Social Security Privatization Plan. In 2006, McCain voted for the Social Security Reserve Fund. The proposal would shift Social Security’s annual surpluses into a reserve account that would be converted into risky private accounts. [SCR 83, Vote #68, 3/16/06; SCR 83, Vote #68, 3/16/06]
In 2000 McCain Wanted to Divert Social Security Money to Private Accounts. The Wall Street Journal reported that “[a] centerpiece of a McCain presidential bid in 2000 was a plan to divert a portion of Social Security payroll taxes to fund private accounts, much as President Bush proposed unsuccessfully.” The plan would put workers’ retirement money into the risky market and reduce the amount of Social Security payments they would receive from the government. The plan would undermine the Social Security system. [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]
McCain STILL Proposes Privatizing Social Security—Despite What His Website Says. McCain told the Wall Street Journal he still backs a system of private retirement accounts that he supported in 2000 and President Bush pushed unsuccessfully. The Journal reported he “disowned” details of a proposal on his 2008 campaign website that says he would “supplement” the existing Social Security system with personally managed accounts. But when asked about the position change he denied it and promised to change the website to reflect his true position. “I’m totally in favor of personal savings accounts… As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it—along the lines that President Bush proposed,” McCain told the Journal.[Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08; Campaign Website, accessed 3/3/08]
McCain Might Raise the Retirement Age and Reduce Cost-of-Living Adjustments. “[T]he McCain campaign says the candidate intends to keep Social Security solvent by reducing the growth in benefits over the coming decades to match projected growth in payroll tax revenues. Among the options are extending the retirement age to 68 and reducing cost-of-living adjustments, but the campaign hasn’t made any final decisions. ‘You can’t keep promises made to retirees,’ said Mr. Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic aide.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]
McCain Supported Deep Cuts That Put Social Security Benefits at Risk. In 2005, McCain supported a Social Security plan that would require deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt. That same year, McCain voted against prioritizing Social Security solvency over tax cuts for the wealthy. [SCR 18, Vote #49, 3/15/05; S. Amdt. 144 to SCR 18, Vote #47, 3/15/05]
McCain Voted to Use Social Security Money to Pay Off National Debt. In 2003, McCain voted to use Social Security funds to pay off federal debt. [HJR 51, Vote #201, 5/23/03]
McCain Voted Against Protecting Social Security Solvency with a Strategic Reserve. In 2001, McCain opposed reducing tax cuts for the wealthy to create a strategic reserve for Social Security. In the same year, McCain voted against a proposal to create “lockboxes” to protect Social Security and Medicare. [H.R. 1836, Senate RPC, Vote #145, 5/22/01; S. Amdt. 29, Vote #22, 3/13/01]
McCain Voted to Replace Social Security with Risk-Based Investments. In 1998, McCain voted twice to replace Social Security’s guaranteed benefits with income from risk-based private investments. [SCR 86, Vote #56, 4/1/98; SCR 86, Vote #77, 4/1/98]
Are these the votes of a supporter of Social Security?