Jimmy Carter on Social Security

President of the U.S., 1977-1981


Voluntarily name beneficiaries, but no other voluntary part

Q: How much longer can the young expect to bear the ever-increasing burden of social security?

REAGAN: The social security system was based on a false premise. It is trillions of dollars out of balance.

CARTER: As long as there's a Democratic President, we will have a strong and viable social security system. Although Gov. Reagan has changed his position lately, on four different occasions he has advocated making social security a voluntary system, which would very quickly bankrupt it.

REAGAN: This statement that somehow I wanted to destroy it, that I am for voluntary social security, which would mean the ruin of it. The voluntary thing that I suggested many years ago was that if this is an insurance program, the person who's paying in should be able to name his own beneficiaries. That's the closest I've ever come to anything voluntary with social security. I, too, am pledged to a social security program that will reassure senior citizens that they're going to get their money.

Source: The Reagan-Carter Presidential Debate , Oct 28, 1980

Levy Social Security tax on wider range of incomes

Carter feels this system will be sound in the years to come. However, to assure that more money flows in than out, he advocates keeping inflation and unemployment down, as well as levying taxes on incomes ranging from $3,600 to $20-22,000 rather than $2,760 to $15,300. He feels this salary range is more equitable, for it taxes those better able to afford it. Interested in keeping Social Security purely a retirement system, he advocates its separation from other federal systems.
Source: Jimmy Who?, by Leslie Wheeler, p.192 , Jan 1, 1976

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Other past presidents on Social Security: Jimmy Carter on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
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)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022