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Rep. Dennis Kucinich

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Protect Social Security; Numbers Show Lifting the Caps Works

Posted: 07/25/11 03:42 PM ET

Obama 2008: 'The best idea is to lift the cap;' Obama 2011... What Happened?

Social Security is strong. It is not a government piggy bank and it is 100% fully funded until 2036.

Social Security has been falsely interjected into a discussion about our nation's debt and deficit. Seniors have been threatened that their checks will not go out and that long term cut backs could include an extension of the retirement age and reductions in benefits. This is a false solution to a fake crisis.

It is simple to fix the long term concerns about Social Security: Lift the caps on taxable income for Social Security. The numbers show that it is the best way to ensure the viability of Social Security for the next 75 years. Lifting the caps is the most equitable way to strengthen Social Security because everyone in society fully participates.

Check out the calculations from the Social Security Administration here.

This is the mainstream position; a position on which then-Senator Obama was elected. He repeated over and over that, as President, he would defend Social Security. What happened?


Here's the record on then-Senator Obama's oft-repeated position on Social Security:

September 6, 2008, Speech to the AARP Convention, C-SPAN

"[John McCain's] campaign has...suggest[ed] that the best answer to the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. I will not do either."

October 30, 2007, Democratic Debate and Drexel University [PDF]

"Social Security is not in crisis; it is a fundamentally sound system... The best idea is to lift the cap on the payroll tax, potentially exempting middle-class folks, but making sure that the wealthy are paying more of their fair share, a little bit more."

September 6, 2007, Democratic Debate at Dartmouth College

Obama: I think that lifting the cap is probably going to be the best option. ... My personal view is that lifting the cap is much preferable to the other options that are available.

September 21, 2007, Op-ed in Quad City Times, Iowa

"I do not want to cut benefits or raise the retirement age. I believe there are a number of ways we can make Social Security solvent that do not involve placing these added burdens on our seniors."

November 11, 2007, Meet the Press Interview

"I said I will convene a meeting as president where we discuss all of the options that are available. I believe that cutting benefits is not the right answer; and that raising the retirement age is not the best option, particularly when we've got people who are still in manufacturing. ... 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."

April 6, 2008, Philadelphia Democratic Primary Debate

"What I have proposed is that we raise the cap on the payroll tax, because right now millionaires and billionaires don't have to pay beyond $97,000 a year. Now most firefighters & teachers, they're not making over $100,000 a year. In fact, only 6% of the population does."

October 16, 2008, Obama Campaign Video

"The best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax... What it does allow us to do is to extend the life of Social Security without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age."

 

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