October 23rd, 2008
06:10 PM ET
12 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. KJL

    The economic health of this country is in a crisis. Social Security is part of the bigger problem, and there is no band-aid cure. McCain has already said he doesn't understand the economy, and he has a wealthy wife to look after him. I don't think our problems are worrying him. He just wants the status of being president. Obama will continue to work to improve our lives if he is elected. Protecting our seniors is vital.

    October 23, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. George the writer

    Sadly, this does not surprise me. however I predict it will come back to haunt the USA in the not too distant future.
    "Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death." my friends. You shall reap what you sow, and no doubt bring the whole world down with you.

    October 23, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Larry

    Why is it the people for Obama always refer to: FIGHTING for everything

    CHILL OUT-You are so violent

    October 23, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. anita

    OH POO, you think a little thing like SOC. SEC. will impede the progressive structure of an Obama administration? He can request higher SS tax rates; remove all wage ceilings; and that will bring solvency to the fund if Congress doesn't "BORROW" from it.
    Obama's gonna make the rich people pay.

    October 23, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. mary

    I am on social security, I pay for the medicare 80% a month and I pay for my RX of 45.30 a month plus Co-pay and then I pay 20% for my AARP supplement a month with Co-pay should I get sick I have to pay the last 5% and my monthly bills, all out of my social security benefits. My health insurance does not cover my dental or my eye-care, to cover the payments for this I have to make monthly payments, because, I cannot afford to pay on day of appointment. After 21/2 weeks I have to eat beans and potatoes, rice and oatmeal, I buy two loaves of bread and 1 gallon of milk a month. I can no longer afford fruits and vegetables and whatever is plentiful until the next social security check. McCain should live on his social security, but he does not have to because he lives off of Cindy McCain.

    October 23, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. Amy

    McCain said in one of the debates that he didn't think the current benefit levels could continue...so in other words we're working to support those current retirees, but when we're ready to retire we can expect lower benefits. Sorry McCain, I don't like that answer. I'm surprised you haven't suggested another "blue ribbon" commission!

    October 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    The financial obligation to the U.S. for Social Security, along with the other print-more-money give-aways like Medicare, is. 53 trillion dollars. We don't have that kind of money. Social Security is going to collapse–no way around it–but neither Obama nor McCain have the courage to say that.

    But this is what happens when politicians start making promises–they stick the next generation with the bill right up to the point when disaster happens. The current financial collapse is just a taste of what will happen when the bill for Social Security comes due.

    October 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |


    October 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  9. Denise Groves

    Social Security has not been on the radar, but the issue is never far away.

    October 23, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |



    OBAMA 08

    October 23, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. mary

    If anyone complains about the system and they vote republican. They do not have the right to complain, because they supported it.


    October 23, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. DST- Australian observer

    the rest of the western world just does not understand America's fear of social security.

    Every other western nation has comprehensive social security and universal healthcare.

    Every other western nation has a lower disparity between rich and poor and thus has a substantially lower crime rate.

    Just because we have social security and universal healthcare doesnt mean we're communists.

    Leaders of the Western World?

    October 23, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |

    IF You feel as I do, That these canidates are not worth our votes we all should write the simple word ME as our vote. Lets show all the politicans that we will not stand for thier slick words and vote for a write in canidate.
    VOTE FOR ME!!!! VOTE FOR ME!!!!!

    October 23, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. St. Paul Mom

    I don't really expect that Social Security will be around in its present form when I'm ready to retire (25 years from now). Happy, though, that the Republicans didn't manage to privitize it, because now at least the retirees who lost a bundle in the stock market at least have something to fall back on.

    October 23, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Kathy in Minnesota

    Presodent Obama will certainly see that Social Security is an inportant issue and will be addressed.

    October 23, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Will18E

    There is no real problem with SS. The only problem that exists is if the U.S. Government is not going to start paying back the SS surpluses they stared borrowing from for almost 30 years. These "special treasury notes" that Allen Greenspan testified to on Capitol Hill in Jan & Feb 2005, are to be payed back with interest starting in 2017. The balance due is about $4T. The folks calling this a crisis are those who believe the should be left off the hook, and benefits should be cut to fill the gap. Furthermore those call for SS paying out 1 dollar for every 78 cents it takes in in the year 2042, are relying on the premiss that the govmet does not pay back what it has borrowed, and national employment is maintained at a year 2000 level.
    Yet both candidates are not talking about SS for two very different reasons. Obama want SS to survive as is. McCain want to privatize it, but with the Wall Street Socialization program, he cannot run as a maverick on SS.

    October 23, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. cyrusk


    SOCIAL SECURITY is totally a "Socialistic" thing created by FDR>, who himself was a socialist. (lol)

    Republicans should try to dismantle that agency all togother, but Big Brother John Mac says he wants to save it . Save what ? a socialistic agency??
    He should consult his political expert in socialistic affairs; JOE-THE PLUMBER, as what to do with SOCIAL SECURITY.
    The name itself starts with "social..", and it is Un-Republican by itself.
    JOE- THE – PLUMBER say s: get rid of it! It is very much like socialism.

    October 23, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. quinton

    Eliminate the cap. Duh.

    October 24, 2008 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  19. J.P.

    Im thankful I pulled all my retirement accounts out of the stock market in June. The markets are clearly reacting to the impending Obama administration. The next four years will make our current economic troubles pale in comparison.

    October 24, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. Steve K.

    Let's privatize Social Security ... Wall Street desperately needs the money.

    October 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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