August 18th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama: Social Security won't be privatized


 President Obama told some residents of Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday that social security would not be privatized while he is in the White House. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday that the Social Security system won't be privatized while he is in the White House.

In a town-hall style meeting with a few dozen residents of Columbus, Ohio, Obama said "modest" changes can keep the government pension system solvent for decades.

Republicans have called for transforming the government program to a private savings account as a way to help keep it going as America's aging population stresses its financial health.

"It will not be privatized as long as I'm president," Obama said to applause, noting that the economic recession and Wall Street collapse would have devastated the savings of retirees under a privatized Social Security system.

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Filed under: Ohio • President Obama • Social Security
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    This is the first indication that it probably will be privatized while he is president. I'm just going with his track record. You know; close Gitmo...transparency in Health Care negotiations...won't use reconciliation...blah blah blah.

    August 18, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Frank

    Vacations, golfing, campaigning ... no wonder our economy is not getting any better. No wonder unemployment is way too high. No wonder criminals are crossing our boarders. No wonder the national debt is skyrocketing.

    Go back to Washington and get to work!

    August 18, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Orlando Patriot

    Social Security was destined for failure when FDR created it because it was not set up for long-term sustainability. In summary, it is a legal Ponzi Scheme which when evaluated in detail you find that money you have put into the "system" is not there and money from current "workers" are needed to pay the promises for individuals that have paid their entire life. End result: The Biggest Legal Ponzi Scheme in the world!! It is not a question of "should we" but a question of "can we" and the answer is no we cannot sustain Social Security. Partial privatization is a REQUIREMENT for ANY kind of program like this to work. It MUST be taken out of the hand of government and put into the hands of the people who contribute on a daily basis and have some control of their portions. Obama is a fool to think otherwise.

    August 18, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. USA

    Key phrase as long as I am president. That would be approximately 2 more years. November also can't come quick enough!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    But, but, but, it's the only thing left for the top 1% to steal. How do you expect them to create jobs without all of that money? You must be a foreign-born socialist Muslim! Have a nice day!

    August 18, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. ruty

    Thank you Barack. Remember Bush wanted to privatize SS. Where do you think the people on SS would be today if that had happened? BROKE and STARVING. George Bush should have to live on what the average person gets from SS.

    August 18, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. jim

    Obama has declared war on senior citizens since he became president.To state his opposition to privatizing S.S. is a phony issue that he's promoting in order to curry favor with some of those seniors foolish to believe that he's helping them.

    August 18, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Can't We All Just Get Along?


    Social Security should NOT be privatized.

    It should also be protected. It should be a crime if anyone on Washington raids Social Security for other reasons than to pay out Social Security benefits.

    August 18, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Lori in St Pete

    Thank God! Can you imagine what America would be like today if voters didn't put the kibosh on the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's plan to give the money to the banksters to gamble away in the stock market?! Tens of millions of elderly folks would be destitute and on the street.

    August 18, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Eric

    "Obama: Social Security won't be privatized"

    Translation: Social Security won't be around in another 10 years, having collapsed like every other Ponzi scheme.

    I had this debate with my old man this year, who got downright p!ssed when I called the vaunted FDR program a Ponzi Scheme... when I said I'll never see a dime from the program, he shot back with, "You get more out of it than you pay into it!"

    And I replied, "Thank you for proving my point that it's indeed a Ponzi scheme."

    What other "investment," which is not actually invested in any sort of market (translation: it's not actually accruing growth) can EVER pay out more than was initially invested? Give up? A Ponzi Scheme.

    Obama just needs to get more suckers to pay into it so we can support the burned-out bedwetting Baby Boomers.

    August 18, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. New Age Independant

    If there's nothing left of Social Security, then there's nothing to privatize. In other words, he recognizes that Social Security is doomed to fail, and he's not going to do anything to prevent it.

    August 18, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Jack

    After Lehman Bros., Madoff and the ongoing mortgage fiasco you'd think people would be smart enough to not even consider privatizing Social Security. Not so the un-American Republicans.

    August 18, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. David

    "Social Security won't be privatized"...

    That is, unless the republicans have anything to say about it!

    August 18, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Mike

    Social Security should be abolished, not privatized! This country is supposed to cater to the rich, not the poor and downtrodden, so give what's left in the fund to the wealthy and let everyone else pound salt!

    August 18, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Jilli

    I heard some republican pundits claiming that no republicans were suggesting the privitization of social security – they're either ill informed or lying through their teeth. The basis of Paul Ryans roadmap to disaster is privitization – Sharron "Obtuse" Angle is also a proponent, although she tried to walk it back.

    Good for the President – standing for the people.

    August 18, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. gt

    that s a non issue ,, its not going to be privatized... but it will become more and more in trouble because you wont fund it correctley

    August 18, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. sharon

    making S.S. private is what the good ole' boy's (gop) are up to..........

    They want everything private............then bet on them..............take taxes off.......................make more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$......
    then when the whole house of cards fall..........................

    Remember how people felt in the end of 2008????????????????

    Tanking everything...................then blame someone else for their mess in the sand box for 8 long years..........................
    oh................and the gulf.........remember take the controls off and let buisness just do their own thing????????GULF OIL DISASTER !!!
    Is this latest one over??????????NO. Desoto canyon.......oil plumes ..........thanks gop. .........NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    No, no Democrat would ever trust ordinary, half-witted, citizens to make plans for their own futures or save for their own retirements.

    On the other hand, no neo-con would ever trust ordinary, morality-impaired, women to make their own decisions about their own bodies, or trust ordinary, morality-impaired, anyones to make their own decisions about who to love.

    The conclusion is that everyone in government, Republican or Democrat, has little but contempt for us mere taxpayers.

    August 18, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Dano

    Thank you President Obama for resisting those who want to privatize SSI. It was meant to be a safety net for Americans who – for whatever reason – weren't able to amass a fortune to get them through their post employment years. It is one of our most loved and successful programs that has allowed generations of Americans to live with dignity in the final years of their lives. Sure there needs to be some tweaks made to keep it solvent now that the average life span has gone from the mid 60's to well over 80, but to turn it over to the same financial institutions that nearly bankrupted our country would be a crime against humanity.

    August 18, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. JFS

    You tell em' Mr. President. I think that this last Wall Street scare speaks volumes. Can you imagine the mess that there may have been if the GOP had privatized Social Security after they had deregulated Wall Street and the Banking Industry !!! Which moet Republicans wanted to do. Not to mention cancelled most of the private Bankruptcy laws !!! We'd all be speaking Chinese right now. Who in their RIGHT minds would vote GOP in Nov. ????

    August 18, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Scott

    Is this a surprise? Obama has invoked the public option on healthcare, GM, banking, etc. Privatization doesn't exist in his vocabulary.

    August 18, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Naqib

    Of course not... Dems never let money go!
    Shame it wasn't before the Dems opened it up for congress to use...
    It would still be there.

    But leave it to earn less than a 1/4%... as oposed to a 3.5 bond (totally safe investment)... which would mean I'd actually have money I could use, leave to my kids, etc

    If you are expecting SS after 2020 you are living a dream... better start investing/saving on your own... or you will be in the socialist welfare line... which is what they want... once you are fully dependent... they own you... kind of like a dealer

    August 18, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. A True Centrist

    "Obama said "modest" changes can keep the government pension system solvent for decades."

    Interesting, he may be the only person on this earth who thinks that. Let's break down social security...when it was first created, it was intended to supplement income to those who were retired and ensure economic disasters, like the stock market crash, didn't have the same type of impact in the future. Back then, people worked until their late 60's and lived to their early to mid 70's. Today, people are retiring earlier and living longer, putting a huge burden on the system. On top of that, benefits have increased as people are using it to more than just supplement their retirement.

    Another problem, social security has been used as a slush fund for years. Medicare bankrupt...sure, but the government can continue to pay the bills by "borrowing" from social security. If the President thinks a few "moderate" changes will fix the issues, he really is as naive and ill-fitted for his position as most Americans now say he is.

    August 18, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. th

    Everybody would be broke. Repubs are hypocrites.

    August 18, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    That's a GOOD SLAP in the face to the RepubliCAN'Ts!!!

    "Republicans have called for transforming the government program to a private savings account..."

    Yea, right in their BACK POCKETS and when the markets FAIL – they'll be the first to haul ASH selling their stocks!!!

    August 18, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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