"Social Security is flawed. When it was brought into existence the life expectancy was 55. Benefits started at 65. Now, life expectancy is 75, and benefits start at about the same age. It's a Ponzi scheme. A combination of benefit reduction and/or privatization are necessary. At least part of Social Security should include private accounts that are counted in your estate."
Source: Mitchell Langbert, "Interview with Governor Gary Earl Johnson," www.rlc.org, Jan. 19, 2010
"Now, I will also defend Social Security and Medicare from the efforts of the Republicans to privatize both of them. When I was in the Senate, George Bush came up with a privatization plan. Some of you might remember that. It would have been a disaster. And we defeated it. As your president, I will defend it. I will not let anybody think that they can privatize it. But we're going to have to make sure that we shore it up so that it is there not just for those who are currently recipients but for generations to come."
Source: Hillary for America, "Social Security and Medicare: We Must Preserve, Protect, and Strengthen These Lifelines," hillaryclinton.com, Oct. 28, 2015
"This proposal to turn our Social Security system over to private corporations would lead to huge losses for retirees who depend on Social Security. And it would create investment risks that cannot be tolerated in our Social Security program."
"We have to make our country rich again so we do that, so we can save Social Security. Because I'm not a cutter; I'll probably be the only Republican that does not want to cut Social Security. I'm not a cutter of Social Security; I want to make the country rich so that Social Security can be afforded, and Medicare and Medicaid. Get rid of the waste, get rid of the fraud, but you deserve your Social Security; you've been paying your Security. And like, I like Congressman Ryan, I like a lot of the people that are talking about you know cutting Social Security, and by the way the Democrats are eating your lunch on this issue. It's an issue that you're not going to win; you've got to make the country rich again and strong again so that you can afford it, and so you can afford military, and all of the other things."
Source: P2016.org, "Donald Trump, Iowa Freedom Summit, Hoyt-Sherman Place, Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015," p2016.org, Jan. 24, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
“What I would like to see is several things. Number one, for those on Social Security or near retirement, no changes whatsoever. Honor the commitments. But for younger people, people in my generation, we should gradually increase the retirement age. Secondly we need to change the rate of growth of Social Security benefits so they match inflation rather than exceed inflation. Those two reforms on their own take Social Security from bankruptcy into solvency. But the third piece, and it's what Bush fought for, is personal accounts. I think it is transformative to allow younger workers to put a portion of their taxes into a personal account that they own, that they control, and that they can pass onto their heirs.”
Source: John Harwood, "10 Questions for Ted Cruz," cnbc.com, Apr. 9, 2015
"On entitlements, they all need to be, so I will give you my basic feeling about it. If you're on it, we don't want to take it away. The Baby Boomers are going to have to give some on it, not sure what it's going to be yet because I've got to go back and do all of the numbers again. For the younger people, I still like the idea of giving them the opportunity to earn money through the strength of our American economy, with Social Security included."
Source: DNC_Clips, "Kasich's Plan for Social Security: Cut and Privatize," youtube.com, Aug. 12, 2015
[Editor's Note: Prior to his 2015 Pro statement above, Kasich expressed a more specific Pro statement in his July 1, 1999 article in the National Public Accountant, in which he said "Most Americans know that Social Security is headed toward bankruptcy. Nothing makes the point better than the poll taken a couple of years ago in which young people said they had a better chance of spotting a UFO than receiving Social Security benefits.. My proposal allows workers under 55 the option of establishing their own personal savings accounts. Contributions into these accounts would range from 3.5% of wages for low income workers to 1% for those at high income levels. Workers who choose to contribute to these accounts would have a variety of investment options and could withdraw proceeds upon retirement. But as they will be paying less into Social Security, their Social Security benefit will be slightly reduced. The basic Social Security benefit will be reduced by 25 cents on the dollar for each dollar they receive from their personal savings account. Nonetheless, the private investment account option should offer most recipients the opportunity for greater returns than Social Security alone could generate."]
"[Audience question] Why do you support your brother's plan to privatize social security?...
[Jeb Bush] I don't. It would have made sense back then, now we're way beyond that. What we need to do is reform Social Security to preserve it and protect for those that already have it, and to reform it in the logical ways where there is broad bipartisan consensus. Which is, over an extended period of time, to raise the retirement age, and raise the limit, the income cap limit. You can solve social security that way."
Source: C-SPAN, "Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush at the Iowa State Fair," c-span.org, Aug. 14, 2015
"Social Security exists so America's seniors, after a lifetime of hard work, don’t fall into poverty. Governor Christie is proposing that Americans pay into this system throughout the course of their life knowing it will be there if they need it to support them, but if they are fortunate enough not to need it, they will have paid into a system that will continue to help Americans who need it most. This proposal will not impact current retirees, and will be phased-in gradually.
Future retirees with income of $80,000 or more will receive benefits on a sliding scale, and benefits phase out entirely for those that have $200,000 a year of other income…Starting in 2022, the NRA [Normal Retirement Age] will increase 2 months per year until it reaches 69, at which point it will be indexed to gains in longevity… Governor Christie is also proposing to raise the Early Retirement Age at a similar pace -- raising it by 2 months per year until it reaches 64 from the current level of 62… Seniors who keep working past the age 62 have paid their fair share to the government and should no longer be taxed. This will have the effect of expanding the U.S. labor force and growing the U.S. economy… Social Security growth be based on the true growth in the cost of living (a concept economists call Chained-Consumer Price Index). To provide added protection for the elderly who are most impacted by fluctuations in consumer prices, a one-time 5 percent increase in monthly benefits will be provided to all beneficiaries when they reach the age of 85."
Source: Chris Christie for President, "Entitlements," www.chrischristie.com (accessed Jan. 21, 2016)
"HARWOOD: You want to raise the retirement age for Social Security? Do you agree with President [George W.] Bush on private accounts?
RUBIO: No, I think the time has passed for that. The traditional three stools of retirement—the defined benefit plan, Social Security and private savings—are all under stress. And I think that we do need to provide more flexibility on the personal side where people can find more vehicles for their own money. But Social Security itself, no, I don't think privatization is the right approach…
What I tell people my age and younger is, 'Our benefits (are) not going to grow as fast as our parents' grew. Especially if we've been financially successful.' These are not draconian changes for future generations. But here's the truth: Our Social Security and Medicare is going to be different than our parents' one way or the other."
Source: John Harwood, "10 Questions for Marco Rubio," cnbc.com, Aug. 26, 2015
[Editor's Note: In addition to the above CON statement from 2005, Bernie Sanders also made the following statement on his 2016 presidential campaign website page "Strengthen and Expand Social Security," available at berniesanders.com: "Sen. Sanders has introduced legislation to... extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors."]
"When Social Security was first enacted, the average age of death was about 63 years. It is now approaching 80 years and rising. Obviously we have to adjust to a changing situation. The age at which benefits are distributed should be gradually raised. I stress the word gradually because people must be given a chance to adjust their plans and expectations. It must be forbidden by law for government to use any of the money that has been set aside for Social Security."
Source: Mike Patton, "Potential Presidential Candidate, Dr. Ben Carson on Social Security, Glass-Steagall, and Taxes," forbes.com, Jan. 29, 2015
"I think a lot of people don’t know that 60 million Americans are getting social security. If you start telling them, by the way, we lied to you, we took the money all those years that you worked, you didn’t have any say in it, we involuntarily extracted it from your pay and told you it was going to be there, but we didn't do a good job of taking care of it… Here is something I would take, give me this option: At age 65, instead of a long-term social security payout, give me a one-time cash out benefit tax free. I walk away, the government walks away, then that’s my choice, let me have that choice. That might be something a lot of people would say: 'I'll take that and I’ll invest it.'"
Source: FOXBusiness, "Huckabee: Time to Change Social Security," foxbusiness.com, June 2, 2015