Romney draws Social Security battle lines
September 21st, 2011
12:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney draws Social Security battle lines

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney drew clear lines between himself, President Barack Obama and rival candidate Rick Perry over Social Security.

While laying out his plan to reform the entitlement program Wednesday, the former Massachusetts governor criticized what he sees as a nonexistent plan from the president and an unfeasible plan proposed by Texas Gov. Perry.

"So those are the three models, one is the president's, which is to say something needs to happen but I'm not willing to tell you anything about how to do it, number two is that of Gov. Perry that says, look send it back to the states," Romney said at a town hall in Miami. "And number three is the plan I proposed, which is to say look, we're not going to raise taxes, we're going to slow the rate of inflation down and in calculating the benefit of high income Social Security recipients and overtime we'll increase the retirement age by a modest amount."

Romney and Perry have clashed over plans to reform the program, most recently at the CNN/Tea Party Republican debate, when Romney took specific aim at Perry's comments in his book "Fed Up!" In the 2010 book, Perry characterized the plan as "unconstitutional" and a "Ponzi scheme."

Romney also said he disagrees with Perry's suggestion that individual states take control of Social Security.

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate, who is making his second bid for the White House, stepped up his attacks at Wednesday's event explaining what he sees are the failures of removing the federal government from the equation.

"In my opinion this thing does not work in any way, shape or form," Romney said. "I can't see anything which suggests it makes any sense whatsoever to end Social Security as a federal entitlement and send it back to the states."

Romney said Perry's plan raises a series of other questions, which he released in a press statement earlier in the day, including how individuals would move to other areas of the country and if states could forgo a pension program all together.

Perry Campaign Spokesman Ray Sullivan responded to Romney's comments in a press release, saying that while Romney has been running for office, Perry has proposed a plan that will protect the program for future generations.

"Rick Perry and other conservatives are courageous enough to be honest about federal spending and entitlements, whether Mr. Romney and the liberals like it or not," Sullivan said. "Gov. Perry has been clear that he will protect benefits for those at and nearing retirement, and work with citizens, experts and elected leaders to fix Social Security financing for future generations."


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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry • Social Security
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Don't be fooled by Mr. Romney. Don't forget he gave a full throat endorsement to the Ryan Plan, which means Romney shares the long term goal of eliminating SS and privatizing it. Once it is privatized Republicans will play dumb and claim government should be involved in this, and that will be that.

    September 21, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Blah blah blah Ponzi blah yammer yammer raise retirement age grumble grumble tax the poor not the rich!!!!

    September 21, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Name king

    Aahhh another repug promise. I wonder if those people in Wisconsin having buyers remorse, I wonder how much seniors lining up to trust the repugs and tea baggers over their social security. I hope the stock market doesn't let those poor old folks down, who thinks that the repugs are truthful about taking their side over their cohorts corporations and their quest to dominate the global market.

    September 21, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. thomas

    Mitt Romney , five sons , none did any military service !

    Rick Perry , the best face big money can buy. Look up Perry and Enron , jobs,jobs,jobs !

    You think Solyndra started with obama , your wrong !

    September 21, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    GOP loves to say that because social security is solvent through 2025 it’s broken. That’s like saying “ok we’re married now – let’s sit back and enjoy our marriage”.
    That’s not the real world.
    The GOP needs to understand how the real world works – good things take effort.
    You (GOP/tee-baggers) have had three years of doing nothing but throwing tantrums and stomping your feet (and hanging out at Dennys), letting the other guys do all the work – we are tired of it – now get your lazy ass back to work.

    September 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. REG in AZ

    There would seem to be no disagreement that the financial collapse and the resulting faltering economy were caused by the greed, dishonesty, selfishness and exploitation indulged in by the few. One can go further and observe that these cycles have been experienced over many years with reoccurring consistency demonstrated in the savings-and loans, banks, dot.coms, corporate corruption, mortgage, investment and financial industries, always being the same, with run-away and aggressive exploitation by the few resulting in substantial losses accruing to the majority. Much like the illegal “pyramid schemes” but here without government ever seeing and outlawing the abusive behavior. Why?

    It would be naive not to see that government, actually politics, has become literally controlled by its own excessive financial needs and totally dependent on the capital provided by those sources who actually directly benefit from the exploitation mentioned and also from other government favoritism, which again greatly costs the majority. There really are many “strings” that are tied to the substantial support given the politicians and nowhere is there any conscience about it. We hear rationalizations to justify all of it in wanting “open markets”, “deregulation”, lax-enforcement and even the “trickle down” theory, with claims that they stimulate the economy but what we have seen is that what they stimulate, as human nature dictates, is that run-away greed just takes over and super-egos really have no self-imposed limits.

    Solid evidence is seen in Bush-Cheney having totally concentrated on Special Interests and the powerful, influential and extremely wealthy few while giving the majority only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to rationalize, con and manipulate. The Republican Party completely backed all of that and have, along with their protege Tea Party, continued with that same mentality effectively offering nothing constructive and stubbornly faulting and blocking all efforts to address the resulting problems. There have been those organized, financially supported and closely directed third party efforts to control public opinion and manipulate the voters, like the considerable efforts to sway the Christian block, the Swift-boat propaganda and the Tea Party movement, all aimed to excite and move the public in the same direction. There are those greatly financed groups, like Norquist’s “anti-tax” pledge, Cheney’s, Rove’s and others, who use the vast sums provided them to coerce and intimidate strict unity behind the dedicated pursuit of “big money’s” interests, as they even brag they can “make or break” any politician. We see the financially supported, often bazaar, antics of Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and others, and the arrogant, stubborn and even obnoxious presentations of Boehner, McConnell, Bachmann, Perry, Kyl, Ryan and more, always faulting as “liberal” any consideration for the majority and literally pushing everything that benefits the few, being rationalized as “conservative” (with “ultra-conservative” just being a synonym for “big money”). The point being that it should be totally obvious that there is substantial control and pressure being exerted by the money people with the results being complete partiality shown them and with no conscience or honest consideration for the majority.

    Reform is desperately needed, political reform allowing for financial reform and to encourage real bipartisan cooperation, that being what our government was designed for, and to then provide all other needed reform and an honest government. The Democrats are not “pure and holy”, not “all good and clean” by any measure but what they are, because of differences in ideology, is not attractive to “big money” and more oriented toward benefitting the majority, including the total middle-class who constantly loose the most. The Democrats need to be stronger, to be more unified and to be really focused on solving the problems without the results ever being too liberal. Simply, they are closer to accomplishing that then the Republicans are to ever breaking the hold “big money” has on them. It has been said that the Republicans, being owned by and with their concentration totally on benefitting “big money”, are completely incapable of ever honestly and effectively governing for the people. If we really want the Republicans to ever become the Grand Ole Party once again, with an emphasis on the people instead of just on their strong supporters who “pull their strings”, then we need to fully and totally reject what they have become. We need to push towards getting money out of politics and to start by rendering it ineffective, to just reject the manipulation. Good luck!

    September 21, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Huh with a captial H

    What is "near" retirement age? I think that the cutoff is a year more than when I can retire. So what happens to all the money I dumped into SS? Are they going to cut me a check for all I contributed with whatever interest was on that account and adjusted for inflation? Funny, I don't think so.

    September 21, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. vet in texas

    it's a fairly simple way to make SS solvent, make the rate at 4.2% permanent, and raise the limit from $106,800 to $500K, plan is fixed but those that make $500K or over have given hugely to the GOP so they won't propose it (think pledge signers).

    September 21, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    So what Mitt Romney is suggesting is for the Federal Government to actually start managing it's commitments rather than ending them or trying to tax their way out of it? I like it. Certainly I am in the age group where any changes to Social Security will probably happen just as I get in a position to use it. And I like the fact that someone is be courageous enough to talk about managing it.

    September 21, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Woman In California

    Dear Willard,

    Please don't concern yourself over decisions which YOU will NEVER be a part of. YOUR so-called "plan" will be rejected just as YOU will be rejected in 2012 – when we the people will have our say as to whether we view corporations as people. So enjoy your newly renovated mansion while millions of Americans remain unemployed because of YOUR party's lack of compassion or concern for the betterment of their fellow Americans.

    May I suggest you look for a job because you still won't have on in 2013.

    September 21, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. maf

    Man, this line of "raising taxes" by the GOP is really tiresome! It is the expiration of a BUSH tax BREAK. Also it is designed only for those individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 per year!!! When the GOP spout this crap, it is just like throwing fuel on a fire, one that they started and can't bear to extinguish!
    Shows they will continue to play to the lowest common denominator.

    September 21, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. DC

    Perry is a flipflop on this issue and eveyrone should hold him accountable before its too late. Mitt Romney 2012!!

    September 21, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Ray E. Georgia

    Economics 101. Start a savings plan for yourself now and don't depend on the Government to do it for you. Social Security has served it's purpose and need to be phased out, back to the private sector. For those that may need some welfare in the future there should be programs in the states as approved by the people.

    September 21, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Any change in the Cost Of Living adjustment for Social Security should include the stipulation that ALL government pay, including Senators and Representatives, be set to the same standard.

    Currently, Senators and Representatives get a pay hike when Seniors do not.

    September 21, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. bill

    Romney,"Your just as much a Teagger as Perry,joe walsh,Palin Bachman!!!! "Your Teaparty/Gop regime, reminds me of "The starting of "Ethnic Cleansing" in Bosnia,Serbia conflict 12 yrs ago!!! You don,t like non-evangelicals,middleclass,poor,and Black Americans??? Whats the diff??? One thing for sure is, "Not one of you right extremist have said anything,about a Black American the South is going to execute tonight,with out any evidence agaist him???? You remind me of that "Killer White women in S.C. that drove her young boys into the lake,and blamed a Black Man as the killer!!! You Goppers are all the same?? Good luck,losing the election!!!!

    September 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Another Rich Man pushing ideas

    So here is another rich republican who thinks the way to save Social Security is to have less people on it! For people born in 1955 the retirement age is 67. If we increase it to 85 we should be able to solve the problem!!

    September 21, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |

    . . . this guy couldn't even beat McCain. What does THAT tell you?

    September 21, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. anthony78

    RAISE TAXES. How simple is that for you to understand Mitt??? The PEOPLE want it. Your RICH cronies dont. Leave social security of it. You are too rich to understand the middle class. Understand? You have never struggled.

    Clinton Raised taxes and had a surplus.
    Bush lowered taxes and had a deficit.

    Quit protecting your rich peers, quit attacking social security, and start worrying about the working class vote, and the elderly who are going to out vote you and yet another failed run at the Presidency.

    September 21, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. SecedingfromTexas

    Perry will "work with citizens, experts and elected leaders to fix Social Security financing for future generations.
    What does that mean exactly. Kind of reminds me of a Groucho Marx statement: "Those are my principles. If you
    don't like them, I have others".
    So happy to hear the American hikers are free!!!

    September 21, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Making SS a state run program is either assinine, brilliant, or completely ridiculous.
    Assinine. It trades one bureauracry for fifty, assuming that all 50 states participate, which they won't.
    Brilliant. It is a plan designed to destroy SS by breaking it up into too many pieces to manage, much less fix.
    Completely Ridiculous. Because you have to be a complete idiot to believe it would work, and a bigger idiot to think people would actually believe you when you claim it could work.

    September 21, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. don

    Romney and Huntsman are WAY too sane and reasonable for the new GOP. They might actually make a decent 3rd party ticket but neither will win the nomination.

    September 21, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Larry L

    Nobody has the nerve to offer the most obvious solution for Social Security – removing the cap on contributions based on maximum salary. I make considerably more than $106,000 per year but only get Social Security deducted on that amount. If all of us paid in to Social Security based on our total earnings it would be solvent forever. Who wants to be the first honest politician to propose that solution?

    September 21, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |