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Chris Dodd on Social Security

Democratic Sr Senator (CT)


Achieve solvency but donít go so far as to raise the cap

Q: Would you raise the cap for Social Security tax above the current level of the first $97,500 worth of income?

A: I donít think you have to go that far. You could raise that tax far less than all incomes here and achieve the same result by achieving solvency. But issues like privatization have to be off the table, and I believe you can achieve that solvency here by doing simpler things without the draconian measures that some have suggested.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

Readjust the Social Security tax including raising the cap

EDWARDS: I think we have to be very careful to protect the middle class, so, specifically, what I would do as president is create a protective zone between $97,000 up to around $200,000 because there are a lot of firefighter couples, for example, that make $100,000 to $115,000 a year. We donít want to raise taxes on them. But I do believe that people who make $50 million or $100 million a year ought to be paying Social Security taxes on that income.

KUCINICH: Of course we ought to be raising the cap in order to protect Social Security. And in addition, we should be thinking about lowering the retirement age to 65. Peopleís bodies break down.

DODD: You could do this by basically readjusting that tax so it doesnít have to affect everyone in society.

Q: But youíd raise the cap to $500,000?

DODD: Youíve got to raise it up, clearly, to do this.

Source: [Xref Edwards] 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth Sep 6, 2007

No privatization; but raise earning cap over $97,000

Q: We all know that Social Security is running out of money, but people who earn over $97,500 stop paying into Social Security. The Congressional Research Service says that if all earnings were subject to payroll tax, the Social Security trust fund would remain solvent for the next 75 years.

A: I donít disagree with that. This is an issue that comes to a head by the year 2040. Obviously, I think it would be important to start to address the issue. Certainly, we have no ideas, and I would be totally opposed to the privatization of Social Security. That is a very bad idea and I am glad we rejected it. But one of the ideas is to raise that level above $97,000.

Q: Do you support that?

A: I would support that. That is one of the solutions that would make a lot of sense to me to make the trust fund whole.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."

Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

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.
Reference: 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.
Reference: Bill S Con Res 57 ; vote number 1996-140 on May 22, 1996

Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Dodd scores 90% 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: Chris Dodd on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010