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Ron Paul on Social Security

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


System is broke; allow young people to get out

Q: Is Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

PAUL: Well, I agree that Social Security is broke. We spent all the money and it's on its last legs unless we do something. One bill that I had in Congress --never got passed--was to prevent the Congress from spending any of that money on the wars and all the nonsense that we do around the world. Now the other thing that I would like to see done is a transition. I think it's terrible that the Social Security system has the problems it has, but if people wouldn't have spent the money we would be OK. Now, what I would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of Social Security and go on their own. Now, the big question is, is how would the funding occur?

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Abolish Social Security, but not overnight

Q: Are you still in favor of abolishing Social Security?

A: Yes, but not overnight. As a matter of fact, my program’s the only one that is going to be able to take care of the elderly. I’d like to get the young people out of it, just the younger generation, because there’s no money there, and they’re going to have to pay 50 years and they’re not going to get anything. I’d take care of all the elderly, all those who are dependent, but I would save the money from this wild spending overseas.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Let people get out of Social Security; it’s a failure

Right now they’re getting behind because they’re having a 10% to 12% inflation rate and we give them a 2% increase, and they’re really hurting. I don’t want taxes on the Social Security benefits that they receive. I have a bill in that would secure the trust fund, where none of that money could be spent in the general revenues. So in many ways, the goal would be to get us out of this program that is a failure. It doesn’t work, and is going to bankrupt this country. The only way you can do that is save enough money, tide the people over, let the young people get out, because they’re going to be paying all these years and they’re not going to get anything. I probably have the only program that would really help the elderly because the money’s not going to be there. There’s no way these cost-of-living increases are ever going to keep up with their benefits are never going to keep up with their cost of living. They’re decreasing. My program has a better chance of helping them than any other one.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Never voted to spend one penny of Social Security money

Q: You said in 1988 that you would abolish Social Security. You’re OK with Social Security now?

A: I think we need to offer the kids the chance to get out. But right now, if we don’t save the money, we can’t take care of the other. I never voted to spend one penny of Social Security money. So I’m the one that has saved it. I say take that money--and I say this constantly--don’t turn anybody out on the streets--people we have conditioned--but I would say take care of the people that are dependent on us. The only way you can do that is cut spending. If we don’t, they’re all going to be out in the street. Because right now Social Security beneficiaries are getting 2% raises, but their cost of living is going up 10%. A dollar crisis is going to wipe them all out.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Allow young people to get out of the system

Q: What do you think of Social Security?

A: It’s a mess. And it proves that the government is not very good at central economic planning, even for retirement. The money was taken from the people with good intention. We should do our best to return it to those that have taken it. But we need to allow the young people to just flat out get out of the system. Because, if you have the government managing these accounts, it’s not going to work.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Personal retirement accounts allow investing in one’s future

Q: Current estimates for the unfunded liabilities of our Social Security system are as high as $10 trillion. Would you revive Pres. Bush’s attempt to introduce personal retirement accounts as a way to reform Social Security, thus allowing all Americans, particularly low-wage workers & the self-employed, an investment in their future & ownership in the inheritance they pass on?
Source: [Xref Huckabee] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Federal government won’t keep its entitlement promises

When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, the federal government simply won’t be able to keep its promises in the future. That is the reality every American should get used to, despite the grand promises of Washington reformers. Our entitlement system can’t be reformed--it’s too late. And the Medicare prescription drug bill is the final nail in the coffin--costing at least $1 trillion in the first decade alone, and much more in following decades as the American population grows older.

Don’t believe for a second that we can grow our way out of the problem through a prosperous economy that yields higher future tax revenues. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the US economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.

The answer to these critical financial realities is simple, but not easy: We must rethink the very role of government in our society. Anything less, any tinkering or “reform,” won’t cut it.

Source: Weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk” , Mar 5, 2007

Voted YES on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable.

Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would raise the amount individuals may contribute to traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and to 401[k] plans and make pensions plans more portable
Reference: Bill sponsored by Portman, R-OH; Bill HR 10 ; vote number 2001-96 on May 2, 2001

Voted YES on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.

Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4865 ; vote number 2000-450 on Jul 27, 2000

Voted NO on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox.

Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.
Reference: Motion to Recommit introduced by Rangel, D-NY; Bill HR 1259 ; vote number 1999-163 on May 26, 1999

Create personal retirement accounts within Social Security.

Paul co-sponsored creating personal retirement accounts within Social Security

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: One of the things I have consistently heard from folks back home is the very simple idea that the first part of saving Social Security is making sure that Social Security taxes stay with Social Security. That is what this bill does because it takes the Social Security surplus, whatever that happens to be, and simply rebates it back to the people paying Social Security taxes, not to go out and fix up the car or buy a refrigerator with it, but instead to go into their own personal Social Security savings account that would be held by a fiduciary like the local bank.

The individual could not get their hands on the money until they turn 65, but they would get a monthly statement and for the first time, because of the private property rights that come with an account like that, for the first time have a firewall created between political forces in D.C. and their Social Security surplus.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means; never called for a House vote.

Source: Personal Lockbox Act (H.R.4839) 00-HR4839 on Jul 12, 2000

Sponsored bill to put Trust Fund into market certificates.

Paul sponsored investing surplus Trust Fund in market certificates

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To ensure the integrity of the Social Security trust funds by requiring the Managing Trustee to invest the annual surplus of such trust funds in marketable interest-bearing U.S. obligations, and certificates of deposit in institutions insured by the FDIC, and to protect such trust funds from the public debt limit.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: The Social Security Preservation Act is a rather simple bill which states that all monies raised by the Social Security trust fund will be spent in payments to beneficiaries, with excess receipts invested in interest-bearing certificates of deposit. This will help keep Social Security trust fund monies from being diverted to other programs, as well as allow the fund to grow by providing for investment in interest-bearing instruments.

The Social Security Preservation Act ensures that the government will keep its promises to America's seniors that taxes collected for Social Security will be used for Social Security. When the government taxes Americans to fund Social Security, it promises the American people that the money will be there for them when they retire. Congress has a moral obligation to keep that promise.

The return of massive federal deficits, and the accompanying pressure for massive new raids on the trust fund, make it more important than ever that Congress protect the trust fund from big spending, pork-barrel politics. I call upon all my colleagues, regardless of which proposal for long-term Social Security reform they support, to stand up for America's seniors by cosponsoring the Social Security Preservation Act.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on Social Security; never came to a vote.

Source: Social Security Preservation Act (H.R.219) 03-HR0219 on Jan 7, 2003

Rated 30% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record.

Paul scores 30% 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

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Social Security: Ron Paul on other issues:
TX Gubernatorial:
Annise Parker
Julian Castro
Mike Rawlings
Rick Perry
TX Senatorial:
David Dewhurst
John Cornyn
Jon Roland
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Paul Sadler
Ted Cruz

Retiring to run for other office:

Running for President:
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

Running for Mayor:
CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

Running for Senate:
AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
Lost Primary 2012:
IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

Retiring 2012:
AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
CA-26:David Dreier(R)
CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
MA-1:John Olver(D)
MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
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Page last updated: Jun 12, 2012