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. Jeff

    McCain only recently in one of his rallys said 'we cannot keep paying the same benefits we always have..."

    So which is it?


    October 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Tradesmart

    Obama has mentioned social security in several stumps.

    October 23, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. sabuc for Obama

    Wasn't McCain who said during one of the debates that SS is an easy fix?

    October 23, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Kate Fergus

    Social Security will be something that has to be reviewed in the first term of the presidency. However, given the state of the economy, why make the public even more depressed about the economy.

    I suspect that Bush, just like his father, has not been totally candid with the public about the fiscal state of the country. The next president will be saddled with the biggest debt and the worst mess since 1933. The country will need someone intelligent and thoughtful the sort this mess out. That leaves out McCain and Palin.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 23, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Mothernature Houston,Tx

    John McCain dont' care about social security when he receives a social security check every month.

    October 23, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. andrea

    McCain and the republican party would seek to simply privatize social security and let each person fend for him/herself. This is in essence the philosophy of the party that wishes to become government but hates to govern – I call them le regime du laissez faire. The democrats, obviously, would never privatize social security for that is the symbol of the New Deal. That leaves the option of balancing revenue and outlays. That is a mathematical issue: either more money is levied or benefits have to be reduced. I am inclined to believe that more money will be levied and that the great challenge will be to explain the need to the American people in an open and coherent way. Perhaps a reform of social security is combined with the reform of our health care system thus creating a comprehensive safety net for all Americans.

    October 23, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Sanjeev

    Sanjeev, I hope you read this.
    I hope you parents know that you convert to Islam from Hinduism..
    I know you want people to vote for McCain only because you want jobs to remain in India.
    No MCCain, bring our jobs back to U.S.A

    October 23, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. No Hillary = No Obama

    Now watch, now that Social Security has been framed as being ignorned by Obama and McCain – in a day or two we will have Obama coming up with his full-proof plan – watch. Mr. Know-It-All will solve this too.

    October 23, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Listen Up...

    I'm sure that Prez Obama will deal with this during his administration. Republicans are hilarious predicting great economic tragedy if he wins. AHEM, we are already in the midst of a republican engineered economic tragedy, I mean, "financial tsunami". Except of course for those at the top who've been receiving all those great tax cuts, that they neglected to use to create jobs and stimulate the economy. There is nothing to fear but another republican (especially Palin) getting into the white house.

    October 23, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Credit Card Republicans

    Rush Limbaugh can pay for it with his cigar money.

    October 23, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. Susan

    Although I'm a 100% Obama supporter, and happily so, I have to agree to a point with this. NO politician is willing to risk their political tush to make some hard decisions on SS. It's got to be done, period, if there's ever going to be anything available to help those who will need it in the coming years (and that's what it's going to be – people earning over a certain income just flat out aren't going to be eligible.) It's sad, if the pols had only resisted raiding it in the 80's...

    October 23, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Hugh Carpenter from California

    Obama has stated on several occasion, that McCain's plan to privatize
    social security would have been a disaster, as your SS benefits would be put on the stockmarket and people would have lost everything if John McCain's plan had been a reality.

    October 23, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. LeatherNeck

    All I know is that McLame is more of the same last 8 years. Even if the candidates haven't fully explained their plan to fix the SS system, McLames answer to invest it into stock is a very bad idea. Especially seeing how the market has reacted recently! Obama has a much more calmer approach and takes time to think the problems through. Just look at what happened when the market crashed, McLame was all over the place and did more harm than good. Obama stood back and studied the situation before acting. That is the kin of leadership we need!!!

    Obama/Biden 08!!!!!!!!!

    October 23, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. susie

    Farranhkan thinks Obama is the Messiah! Not good.

    October 23, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  15. FreeNLovIt

    Yes, we went from dumb and dumber in 8 years. If McCain wins, we will all be LOST IN TRANSLATION. The world will think of us as the 'LOST CIVILIZATION'.

    Obama and a DONKEY congress must be in session in Jan to turn the tide.


    October 23, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. George

    I sense a lot of animosity on both sides of the fence here. The problems with social security are very complex. In short the numbers just don't add up, and at this point I don't see either candidate with a viable solution. Since its creation in the 1935 it was never intended to completely support some one through retirement, and it surely didn't take in account the baby boom generation and the smaller generations that came afterward that just do not have the work force to sustain a program that spends over 30% of the US's yearly budget. It was meant to limit the burden of issues that may arise with old age, or an inability to work. I think that it is a problem that must be attacked from all sides where concessions, and compromises are going to have to be made. With the rise in the cost of living, healthcare, bailout plans and inflation the money is just not there. There has to be fiscal responsibility on the governments end, if we all have to live with in a budget, shouldn't our government? And there has to be personal responsibility. Responsible saving and investment practices on our parts. Preparing for the future is a big deal and we need to be teaching that responsibility to our children. We need to be living with in our means or we all will be working until the day we die. Good luck to our next president its going to be a bumpy ride.

    October 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    Yes, yes, our way of life or civilization was hit by a TIDAL WAVE of GREED.

    October 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Alouisis

    If you believe this, you haven't been listening.

    Obama has said – we need to collect social security tax on all wages – eliminate the cap. This will provide amply revenues to cover SS through the baby boom and the echo. We can also help Social security by having the government pay a fair return for the money we borrow from the Social Security trust fund.

    That is not ignoring the problem, that is making a plan to solve the problem.

    October 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. HouseDiva

    Doesnt "joe the plumber" say that social security is socialist?

    Well.. we know how John McCain and No Brains Palin feel about "Joe"

    Maybe McPalin should continue to parade that fake plumber around and let him tell their fellow mentally ill klansmen to throw any chance of collecting their SSI checks out the window....

    We'll see how they'll like that...

    October 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Republican for a better Country

    If Obama becomes the next person in the White House I will pull all of my money out of Finacial Institutions, stocks, IRA, etc. and keep it in a secret place. Plus I will put away everything I can.

    October 23, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Misleading headline . Sen. Obama has been addressing the issue of Social Security, and is fighting to keep it solvent. Sen. McCains idea for the Social Security problem is throw it into the FREE MARKET that the goverment now owns part of since the Bailout

    October 23, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. California Voter

    Yes; and the media and some talking heads are focusing on Palin's clothes at this time. How many white shirts does Obama own, how much did they cost, how often does he change them in a day? Sound like silly questions, they are. Just as what Palin wears is silly . . . do voters really think she should wear a parka and a blue jeans to prove she supports the "working families" of America? Really didn't you ever hear of dressing for the job you want to get?

    October 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. Debby

    They just gave SS a raise so do people have their head in the ground.

    October 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. Wendy in NC

    I don't know where they got that info, but I have heard Sen. Obama several times state that the FICA cap should be lifted on the over $250K income bracket – which would secure SS. As someone who once reached the current cap, I was shocked when told that I would no longer have FICA taken from my check for 2 months (I didn't know a cap existed at that time) and would gladly have continued to pay my fair share. I think this is the number one solution to the SS problem. Warren Buffet also expressed his willingness to pay more into the system.

    October 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. Country first

    When you go out there to vote you better pay good attention and double check your vote before you summit it. In some ste if not all the republicans fix the machine up. If you vote straight democratic they fix the machine so your presidential vote go for McCain intead of Barack. So you might think you vote for Barack and the machine was fix and it goes the other way. So pay good attention to make sure your presidential vote goes to your choosing candidate. These are disgusting tactics that the republicans are using right now in some part of Texas and may be nationwide. We need fair and free election so rigging these machines is nothing but disgusting tactics. Also when you go to the polling place no political T-shirt because they will turn you away.

    October 23, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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