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. Shay

    If McCain had anything to do with this, it will be destroyed. McCain don't like SS anyway.

    October 23, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Peachbird

    Steve, give it a break! Are you still doing that little Republican side step... two step... D.C. shuffle...?

    That Socialist story is old news long since reputed. You republicans just keep preaching the same ole same ole lies and fear mongering. Give us some credit. You can't just keep telling us the same old BS and expect us to believe it! Sounds like you and McBush and McBarbie are saying, "Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your crazy old eyes and ears?"

    I know who I am going to believe.... MY crazy old eyes and ears! Thank you very much!

    October 23, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Kris K from CA

    That is not true- mcCain says he will raise the age and reduce benefits for people who are retiring now and in the future. Also Medicare benefits will be reduced for all claimants. That is his plan. THat is not a good idea as far as I am concerned. If he can bail out AIG,the big banks and Wall Street he can print a little money for us retirees. Print enough to keep the benefits where they are and come up with enough high paying jobs to employ enough people to fund future benefits. That sounds like a good idea to me.

    October 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. exrev

    Social Security??? Please... Joe the Plumber told me that this is a waste, and socialsitic. So like all good republicans really believe... it needs to go. Right Mr McCain???? ummmm.. Mr McCain??? What? You don't want to endorse Joe the Plumber? I am disappointed.

    October 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Judy, FL

    If McCain have anything to do with SS then we will have to work until we are 80 years old and by then hope there is some money left.

    October 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Independent White Woman

    Senator McCain ......I am soooo disappointed in you ....What happen to you besides your dirty Advisors Rick Davis, Steve Schmidt , Palin and the 1st DUDE .....Oh well Fruit does not fall far from the TREE

    October 23, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA





    October 23, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  8. john for Obama

    Obama is not ignoring this. He stated his plan back in the primaries and if you want to look it up go to his website. THE PROBLEM IS DUMMIES HATE TO READ THEY SAY IT IS NOT AN ISSUE IF THEY DONT SEE A 30 SECOND COMMERCIAL. ITS SICKENING!
    The younger and the more educated voting block thinks differently

    OBAMA 08/12

    October 23, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. James

    That's because we're wasting time discussing Joe the freakin' Plumber.

    October 23, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    And now GM is laying off an unspecified number of white collar workers and stoping company contributions into 401Ks. You don't have to save Social Security if the frigging government will keep its grubby fingers out of it. One thing they can do is stop making social security a taxable income for seniors and those on disability.

    October 23, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Obama/Biden

    MCCain is busy with Joe the plumber. That is all he talks about lately. The funny part is that Obama is looking to give Joe the plumber, Tito the builder, Dan the repair man etc... a tax break not Mccain, but Mccain as he has done the entire campaign, continues to lie about what Obama's plans are for the people making the income a plumber, or repair man makes. The funniest thing is that Mccian/Palin are starting to believe themselves. They believe that the tax cuts they are extending for CEO's and Hedgefund managers and Huge corporations are for "Joe the Plumber"! They are delusional ! The saddest thing is that people attending their rallies are convinced that's what MCcain will do . The poor idiots!

    October 23, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Those friggin politicians in Washington DC don't have to worry about social security since they will have their Congressional retirement for life once they leave office one way or the other. McCain certainly doesn't have to worry unless Cindy decides to leave him.

    October 23, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Vote Obama,
    One house, one car, one spouse.

    October 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. D.J.

    If Bush and his cronies leave any money in the till after they take their plunder, it should be directed toward strengthening the SS system. So many Americans depend this system to survive while Bush and his accomplices squander the national treasure in order to fill their greedy pockets..... they ought to be investigated, judged and made to return the billions they are bilking from our pockets.

    October 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. The World for Obama

    Which crisis?

    October 23, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA


    I doubt seriously that Sen. Obama and his economic advisors have not discussed this! He has some of the most brilliant minds in America advising him.

    October 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. mary, colorado springs co

    Social Security is not an earth-shattering problem at this time, but can wait until the election is over and the new president, Barack Obama, gets settled into the Oval Office before we take on the secondary priorities. The war and economy are primary problems that need to be addressed first. President Obama will get it taken care of when the other two are settled.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008/2012

    October 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Totally false: McCain has told us his plan, he wants to eliminate it, and give it to his rich friends in the form of a tax cut. Yet another example of how this man plans to continue the failed Bush policies, along with a few other catastrophic policies thrown in for good measure.

    October 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. KS

    Social Security was in good shape before Bush came into office.

    October 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. s mills

    It is the media who won't allow an honest social security debate. And let's start with the facts:
    . Ronald Reagan increased the tax to 12.4% on labor under (today) approx. 100,000. Wealthy money doesn't pay this tax.
    .Ronald Reagan increased it to 12.4% to create a SURPLUS to cover the baby boom retirement
    . Under Clinton, a surplus was being built up to pay back into this fund.
    .Under Bush, the social security surplus peaked (see Newsweek article of 3-4 years ago).
    .The social security surplus will amount to about 3 Trillion over baby boomers' working life times.
    .Bush has made no effort to replenish the fund and the "establishment" media seems intent in pushing for its redistribution from those of us who have paid into it for all our working lives.
    .the disability portion is abused. I have a major disability (SCI) but am working full time at a company that provides health insurance. But health insurance is a big reason many who could work full or part time are stuck on permanent disability.
    .the republicans completely ignore that we under 100,000 incomes pay this tax - until someone suggests raising the cap, then they whine like children.
    Only in America would this incredibly regressive tax be allowed to continue. My answer: pay back the surplus to those it came from NOW and start over with a system that taxes the general fund, not just those making under $100,000.

    October 23, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Water

    Okay, pretend you are the GOP and you've had enough water to drink for 8 long years. You really don't need to drink water, because you've got plenty. So you bathe in it, you wash your hair, you water your plants and you throw the rest away.

    Now what if you are a Dem and you are thirsty. You haven't had water to do anything, since someone stole it in 2000. You are so thirsty you can't wait to drink a cup of cool H-2-0. Well, that's how we feel, we will be drinking water again on November 4th. Our lips are parched and dry now, but on November 4th we're going to take one long sip of the water of freedom.....AHhhhhh. Nothing will stop us.

    So, we're not drinking Koolaid, but water. Nice, wonderful, cool, water.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 23, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Gen xer for a future

    times will be getting tough no matter who is Prez,
    but we are survivors
    we will adapt, transform, and reconnect to the dream
    we will be fueled by the fact that this nation is getting back on track

    America is a Country......, and it is also an idea,.... the most incredible idea of all time

    our civility is our greatest strength.....more persuasive than our bullets or dollars (remember)

    our intolerance is the cancer

    no longer a dream defered.......
    United We Stand

    Divided, we consume those around us, and then each other
    Let no party tell you different

    October 23, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Jeez, CNN.. one crisis at a time

    Financial crisis...housing crisis...Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq crisis...unemployment crisis..energy crisis, on and on..

    None of the candidates can handle every single one of these issues. The point is finding someone who will fix the big ones, financial and Iraq, and lead our country in the right direction to continue working on the rest.

    Sending in Republicans, to fix the mess made by Republicans doesn't make sense!

    October 23, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Cynthia - Arkansas

    McSame weighed in on Social Security. He called it a disgrace! Obama said he would fight for Social Security. We've had 20 months of speeches. I have hear every issue under the sun debated. I can't believe there are still people saying, "I need to hear more on the issue before I decide". If you haven't decided anything as simple as who to vote for in this election, please don't vote. PLEASE JUST STAY HOME! That's how we end up with idiots running this country.

    We need a true leader, we need Obama!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 23, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Mike

    Annie and other far right wing nuts:

    Please listen to someone other than Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Educate yourself from original writings, speeches and books. Then attempt to use an open mind prior to making dumb statements.

    And I say the same to those of the far left also.

    Opinion: The GOP have all favored privatizing SS into the stock market. And they also favored liberal deregulation of the stock market and other markets. And see where we are now.

    October 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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