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John Kerry on Social Security

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


FactCheck: Kerry did tax some benefits, to fund Medicare

BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: "Kerry voted to increase taxes on Social Security benefits. "

CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry voted for Clinton's 1993 deficit reduction package, which included a tax increase on benefits. The revenue from this tax hike went exclusively to the Medicare trust fund. Bush has not proposed in any of his tax cut packages a repeal of the tax increase that Kerry supported in 1993. The increase targeted higher-income households; the vast majority of Social Security recipients were not affected.

Source: CNN FactCheck on statements by Bush and Kerry: Oct 29, 2004

Personal retirement accounts are an invitation to disaster

Q: Where do you get the $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits?

BUSH: There is a problem for our youngsters. We'll honor our commitment to our seniors. But for our children, we need to have a different strategy. I believe that younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it in a personal savings account, because I understand that they need to get better rates of return than the rates of return being given in the current Social Security trust.

KERRY: You just heard the president say that young people ought to be able to take money out of Social Security and put it in their own accounts. Now, my fellow Americans, that's an invitation to disaster. The CBO said very clearly that if you were to adopt the president's plan, there would be a $2 trillion hole in Social Security, because today's workers pay in to the system for today's retirees. We're going to protect Social Security. I will not privatize it. I will not cut the benefits.

Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Social Security privatization will cost $2 trillion more

Bush said young people ought to be able to take money out of Social Security and put it in their own accounts. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office said very clearly if you were to adopt Bush's plan, there would be a $2 trillion hole in Social Security, because today's workers pay in to the system for today's retirees. They said that there would have to be a cut in benefits of 25% to 40%. Bush has never explained to America, ever, where does the transitional money, that $2 trillion, come from? He's already got $3 trillion, according to The Washington Post, of expenses that he's put on the line from his convention and the promises of this campaign, none of which are paid for. Not one of them is paid for. Bush is driving the largest deficits in American history. He's broken the pay-as-you-go rules. I have a record of fighting for fiscal responsibility. I will not privatize it. I will not cut the benefits. We're going to be fiscally responsible. We will take care of Social Security.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Will not privatize Social Security nor cut benefits

You don't value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall. We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 29, 2004

I will never privatize, extend retirement age, nor cut SS

Q: What have you done to protect and improve Social Security, and what more should be done?

KERRY: Well, we did protect Social Security in the US Senate, and Social Security is safe and sound well into the next two decades or more. With very minor changes, with a strong economy, the next generation will have Social Security. I will never privatize Social Security. I will never try to extend the retirement age for Social Security. And I will not cut any benefits for Social Security.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Guarantee Social Security soundness, even if unpopular

Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?

KERRY: Young people don't believe that Social Security will be there for them. I intend to take the politics out of how we are going to guarantee that Social Security is sound into the future. And that requires leadership.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Don't threaten Social Security on Wall Street trading block

We must uphold the promise of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton and never allow the President and his Republican friends to threaten Social Security by putting it on the Wall Street trading block.
Source: Speech at Massachusetts Democratic Convention May 31, 2002

Never thought about pulling money out of Social Security

Everyone who is honest about this knows that Social Security in the year 2015 or 2020 won't work.
Source: Kerry/Weld debate, SouthCoastToday.com Jun 4, 1996

Voted NO on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt.

This vote limited debate on the amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt. [A YES vote was for a lockbox]. This vote failed because 3/5 of the Senate did not vote.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)54; N)45; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on Amdt #254 to S. 557; Bill S. 557 ; vote number 1999-90 on Apr 22, 1999

Voted NO on allowing Roth IRAs for retirees.

Senator Roth (R-DE) offered this amendment to the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act to allow people older than 70.5 with incomes over $100,000 to move funds from an Individual Retirement Account into a Roth IRA.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)56; N)42; NV)2
Reference: Roth Amdt #2339; Bill H.R. 2676 ; vote number 1998-120 on May 6, 1998

Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts.

Vote on an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Finance Committee should consider legislation to use the federal budget surplus to establish personal retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.
Bill S.Con.Res.86 ; vote number 1998-56 on Apr 1, 1998

Voted NO on deducting Social Security payments on income taxes.

Vote on an amendment to establish an income tax deduction for Social Security taxes paid by employees and the self-employed.
Bill S Con Res 57 ; vote number 1996-140 on May 22, 1996

Create Retirement Savings Accounts.

Kerry signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Balance America’s Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000

Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Kerry scores 100% by the ARA on senior issues

The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Social Security: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts