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Ralph Nader on Social Security

2008 Independent for for President; 2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green nominee


Social Security should not be voluntary; keep community

Asked if participating in Social Security and Medicare should be voluntary, Nader answered no. “What would Americans who are elderly be doing now,” with retirement accounts’ values dropping with the stock market, “if not for Social Security?” He launched into a passionate defense of “a sense of community” in society and argued that we, like the social democrats of Western Europe, should use government to create universal health care, “decent wages,” paid maternity leave, sick leave, and day care.
Source: 2008 third-party presidential debate, in Cleveland Magazine , Nov 2, 2008

Candidates focus on elderly because young people don’t vote

The day after a Youth Convention gathering [that Nader attended and Bush & Gore skipped], there were no stories in the major media, no mention of Bush--the self-described education candidate who pledged to “leave no child behind”--being absent from an event that he could have turned into an advantage over Gore. Why? Because Bush & Gore’s supposedly savvy staffs had polls showing that young adults do not vote in large numbers and their interests are more universal, unlike elderly voters whose demands are more particular and insistent, such as prescription-drug benefits, preserving Social Security, and patients’ rights. Older voters have money. Older voters have influence. Younger voters tend to have neither. Then there are the less inhibited question young people tend to ask and a risk of being caught off guard or being embarrassingly out of touch. Why should the candidates deviate from the carefully constructed script and emerge from the force field erected by their political handlers?
Source: Crashing the Party, by Ralph Nader, Chapter One , Oct 9, 2002

Social Security is solid; pending bankruptcy is nonsense

Nader urged Bush & Gore to stop trying to convince the puvblic that the retirement program is headed for bankruptcy. “The idea that Social Security is going to run out of money is simply nonsense,” Nader said. The program has an “extremely solid” base that will provide benefits until 2037, even under the “pessimistic” assumptions of a 1.7% average annual growth rate to estimate the projections, Nader said. He said that growth rate is about half the average over the last century.
Source: Boston Globe, “Campaign Notebook” , Sep 20, 2000

Pensions controlled by people, not banks or insurers

Working people need a reasonable measure of control over how their pension monies are invested, rather than it being controlled by banks and insurance companies.
Source: The Concord Principles, An Agenda for a New Democracy, # 8 , Feb 21, 2000

Social insurance is government at its noblest

Every discussion of Social Security should begin by recognizing that Social Security is a system of social insurance. It places government in one of its noblest roles: Provision of a bedrock guarantee to all members of society that you do not need to fear the financial consequences of growing old or disabled. It is government as it should work -- a coming together of society to ensure that we, as a community, take care of each other as we age or suffer from disabilities.
Source: Speech at “Saving Social Security” Conference , Jan 21, 1999

Social Security privatization replaces certainty with risk

From the consumer or citizen perspective, one of the great benefits of social security is its very certainty. As one of its great assets, it offers systemic tranquility -- no matter what, people know that in old age or disability, they can count on the social security guarantee. As soon as the system is privatized in individual accounts, in whole or significant measure, the commonwealth would be perverted into a subsidy bonanza for brokers, who would take their 2-to-5% cut. Systemic tranquility would be replaced by an enforced anxiety.

By their very nature, market investments introduce risk into the equation. There is nothing inherently wrong with risk, of course. Risk and the returns on risky investments are an important motor in our economy. If people believe there is an upside to risk and are eager to invest in the stock market, in bonds, in hedge funds or otherwise, they are free to do so, directly or through IRAs, 401Ks and other tax-subsidized private retirement devices.

Source: Speech at “Saving Social Security” Conference , Jan 21, 1999

Fears loss of retirement funds in privatized investments

Source: Speech at “Saving Social Security” Conference , Jan 21, 1999

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Social Security.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Ralph Nader.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Ralph Nader.
Other candidates on Social Security: Ralph Nader on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014