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Bill Richardson on Social Security

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Donít raise the cap; itís a 15% tax on middle class

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

A: No, you donít need to do that. Thatís a 15% tax on small businesses, on the middle class, on family farms. You donít need to do that. This is what you do. One, you take privatization off the table. You donít want Social Security in the stock market. Two, you stop raiding the Social Security Trust Fund, as the Congress and the president constantly do.

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

Stop talking about privatization; stop raiding trust fund

Q: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security need to be radically changed to avoid a financial crisis when baby boomers retire. There are two solutions, both of which are politically unpopular: Raise taxes or cut benefits. Which would you choose?

A: The best solution to those two issues is a bipartisan effort to fix it. 33% of Medicare cost is diabetes. Letís have major prevention programs, and also ways that we can ensure that we find a cure. And stop raiding the Social Security trust fund. Stop talking about privatization. And then thirdly, letís look at a universal pension, 401(k) universal pension, that would assure portability for those that want to keep their pensions as they move into other professions. But what we need is a bipartisan effort. Put this issue aside. If Iím president, I would take this issue and I would say, Republicans, Democrats, within a year, letís find a solution. No politics. This is the safety net of this country.

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

Focus budget reform like Soc. Sec., avoiding future burden

Spending now and passing the bill on to our children is simply immoral. To be a legislator, to be a governor, to be a president, is to make choices, difficult choices, not to saddle future generations with debts that we ourselves lack the will to pay.

We need to address this profligacy in a bipartisan manner. There is no shortage of strategies--hard spending caps in Congress; an end to certain tax cuts enacted when the fiscal outlook was brighter; a larger overhaul of the federal tax code to build simplicity and equity into the system. I would advocate some combination of these three approaches. But I doubt that Washington can get from here to there without some political cover. This was the job done by Alan Greenspanís Social Security Reform Commission in 1983. Iíd set up a commission on taxes and spending. We simply cannot continue to avert our eyes from this gathering crisis.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.347 , Nov 3, 2005

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014