October 23rd, 2008
06:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Candidates ignoring coming Social Security crisis, critics say

Analysts say Sens. McCain and Obama have not spent enough time talking about Social Security.

Analysts say Sens. McCain and Obama have not spent enough time talking about Social Security.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Experts call it the "forgotten issue," or even the "ignored issue" - Social Security.

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have spent ample time addressing the budget crisis, but haven't zeroed in on the growing concerns over Social Security.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, says it's not an accident that McCain and Obama have skirted the issue.

Watch: Candidates talk Social Security

"I think both Obama and McCain ended up thinking talking about fixing [Social Security] was a political loser," MacGuineas said. "So they were just happy letting the issue disappear."

The Obama campaign disagrees with that assertion.

"We have talked about it quite extensively both at our events and in our paid media, as well as in terms of policy," Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan said.

"There is a real difference in the approach that Sen. Obama would take in ensuring the long-term health of Social Security. The primary difference being that Sen. Obama wouldn't risk Social Security savings to the whims of the stock market like John McCain would," said Sevugan.

The McCain campaign's Web site says the Arizona senator is committed to revamping the system:

"John McCain will fight to save the future of Social Security and believes that we may meet our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes. John McCain will reach across the aisle, but if the Democrats do not act, he will. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming financial challenges of entitlement programs."

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Obama-Nation!

    Thunder, thunder
    We're the OBAMA
    When we fight
    With determination
    We create a
    Great sensation
    Thunder, thunder

    October 23, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Thelma, FL

    Social Security is such an important subject that you're going to have to take your time to solve it. I can see why both candidates are not working on it now

    October 23, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Thomas from Missouri

    I'm socking money away as hard as I can. I think Obama is going to win and times are going to be really tough. So my advice to anyone who will listen... sock away some cash.

    October 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Concerned American

    she's lying! she just wants attention!! 15 minutes of somewhat, not giveing-away fame!

    October 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. corey gabriel

    Because McCain is ranting and raving that Obama is a socialist, and that he, McCain, is not and that he will never "spread the wealth," McCain should come clean to the American public and be intellectually honest and admit that he, McCain, will therefore eliminate Social Security, Medicare, aid to education and all other social programs because they all essentially "spread the wealth" and are therefore socialist. McCAIN WANTS TO ELIMINATE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. BEWARE AMERICA!!!

    October 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |

    As usual, Barney Frank and the Democrats think it's a great time to tax more to "recover" the money used for the bailout. This points out a very clear difference between liberals (socialists) and conservatives, the liberals believe they are entitled to the money of the taxpayers. Conservatives believe that the people allow the government to take some of their money for a limited number of programs and policies.
    So when to the investigations of Frank, Dodd, Kerry, Pelosi begin for the financial crisis? Hmm, probably never considering the RePO (Reid, Pelosi, Obama) combo.

    These are OBAMA's people. Be Afraid.. Very Afraid...

    October 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |

    CMON CNN with the misleading title because I have Obama several times address that Social Security will suffer if the current economic policies are kept in place.

    October 23, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Bs

    Stop Rove and Palin from destroying social security.

    Hopefully, McCain,72, will retire now.

    October 23, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |

    Obama is going to do something about it, and John Mccain has already given us the final verdict about it.
    John maccain said he wants to privatized social security, and put the social secuity funds into stocks and bonds.
    We are going to be doomed if he gets eleceted.


    October 23, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    If he wants to help (McCain), he can donate his SS back to the system. He gets a salary and all the plush benefits a Naval Disability, and SS. Is he broke like most of the others that get SS?

    October 23, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. annie - never again a dem.

    No need to worry about social security if obama elected – it will be the first thing he does away with. Then he will do away with people on social security lest they complain!!!

    October 23, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. Steve

    I appreciate all of Bush's shortcomings, and I appreciate all the reasons that people want "change", but American's are foolish if they look the other way and don't realize that we are about to elect a socialist. If we do that, our country will be on a dangerous path and the US we all love for all the reasons we should, we be changed forever. McCain is not the best choice, but he is the better choice! Please use common sense and judgement on election day. Obama has been trained, influenced, and educated by radical after radical. If you elect him, then you deserve him!

    October 23, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. Steve

    The people worried about candidates' attention to social security or any other issue should give McCain and Obama a break. The winner isn't even in office yet. The financial institutions of this country are in full hurricane force chaos right now. The best of the best are having difficulty figuring things out. There is nothing either candidate can do until he is in office. Let the best man win, and then go after him to get him to pay attention.

    October 23, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Peachbird

    Don't forget that McCain wants to privatize social security. Now he is probably saying something else. But I won't forget! Thank goodness he didn't have his way before the bailout!

    I trust Obama to fix Social Security. I don't trust McCain to do

    October 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. John in VA

    I can see the McCain ads now: Obama ignoring Social Security. All the while McLame won't once mention how he will address the situation.

    October 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No way do I want John McCain to have any input on Social Security or anything else. McCain's only concern is just to be president and that's his end game.

    October 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Mike Dallas

    Mr. "I have a plan to fix SS and winning all those wars" would not answer the question from Williams other than I have a plan to fix.

    Just more "I will make it happen crap" but no specifics from a doddering of hothead


    We put up with that for 8 years but no more and to do my part, I voted straight Democratic ticket in Dallas county on Monday!

    October 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Neither candidate has adequately addressed this issue. Failing to deal with this in the next administration is no longer an option. Elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about ...

    October 23, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Peachbird

    sorry... moderators.... fumble fingers. I don't trust McCain to do anything that does not help the Wealthiest 5% of this country... which means himself and his cronies!

    October 23, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. Charlie Bradley

    Johnny Boy hasnt ignored Social Security....he talked in his usual clueless demeanor about INVESTING some of the SS fund in the VOLATILE stock market

    (Sung to the tune of Waylon Jennings' "The Wurlitzer Prize)

    I Can't wait for November
    The Evening of Four
    Election Year Will be through
    The votes will be counted
    The votes will be cast
    The McCain Party Will Be through

    They oughtta give me the blue ribbon prize
    Seeing those states turn blue

    October 23, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. Lynn, Sioux Falls, SD

    The cure for Social Security is so simple it's amazing:


    Everyone....EVERY legal US Citizen who earns a salary in the USA should be responsible for paying into the system! Every legal US citizen is eligible for SS benefits, and as such, everyone should pay into the fund.

    As it stands now...if one earns over a certain amount annually (for example $90,000) once that amount is reached, that individual no longer has to pay into the SS fund.

    This means that all the major earners in this country...all the Wall Street FAT CATS who took all our money have only had to contribute to the SS fund based on a FRACTION of the dollars they earned!! Of course, they are all eligible and will most definitely collect when they are old enough!

    Imagine if all the rest of us did not have to contribute 7.56% of our income???

    That's the key: ELIMINATE THE SALARY CAP!!!!

    October 23, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. supporter

    Obama has a better ploan thaqn Mc
    Cain and he knows it needs to be worked on. But then everything gets changed in Congress before it is law

    October 23, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Tired of Barbara

    Barbara – 65 yr old white female in NC- You voted as you said. Go crochet something. Leave your hateful rhetoric somewhere else. We are tired of your inane comments!

    October 23, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. vic

    I'm just glad that social security was not privitized like Bush and McCain wanted it to be.... just think of the huge losses that would have created in this economy mess.
    I think JOhn McCain has too many bad ideas and has no leadership abilities.

    October 23, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Connor

    John McCain won't talk about, but he does collect it. That is the really obscene part. He and Mrs. Bud are worth millions, and he is cashing those checks. Pitiful.

    October 23, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
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