Ron Paul on Social Security
Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President
PAUL: Well, I agree that Social Security is broke. We spent all the money and it's on its last legs unless we do something. One bill that I had in Congress --never got passed--was to prevent the Congress from spending any of that money on the wars and all the nonsense that we do around the world. Now the other thing that I would like to see done is a transition. I think it's terrible that the Social Security system has the problems it has, but if people wouldn't have spent the money we would be OK. Now, what I would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of Social Security and go on their own. Now, the big question is, is how would the funding occur?
A: Yes, but not overnight. As a matter of fact, my program’s the only one that is going to be able to take care of the elderly. I’d like to get the young people out of it, just the younger generation, because there’s no money there, and they’re going to have to pay 50 years and they’re not going to get anything. I’d take care of all the elderly, all those who are dependent, but I would save the money from this wild spending overseas.
A: I think we need to offer the kids the chance to get out. But right now, if we don’t save the money, we can’t take care of the other. I never voted to spend one penny of Social Security money. So I’m the one that has saved it. I say take that money--and I say this constantly--don’t turn anybody out on the streets--people we have conditioned--but I would say take care of the people that are dependent on us. The only way you can do that is cut spending. If we don’t, they’re all going to be out in the street. Because right now Social Security beneficiaries are getting 2% raises, but their cost of living is going up 10%. A dollar crisis is going to wipe them all out.
A: It’s a mess. And it proves that the government is not very good at central economic planning, even for retirement. The money was taken from the people with good intention. We should do our best to return it to those that have taken it. But we need to allow the young people to just flat out get out of the system. Because, if you have the government managing these accounts, it’s not going to work.
Don’t believe for a second that we can grow our way out of the problem through a prosperous economy that yields higher future tax revenues. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the US economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.
The answer to these critical financial realities is simple, but not easy: We must rethink the very role of government in our society. Anything less, any tinkering or “reform,” won’t cut it.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: One of the things I have consistently heard from folks back home is the very simple idea that the first part of saving Social Security is making sure that Social Security taxes stay with Social Security. That is what this bill does because it takes the Social Security surplus, whatever that happens to be, and simply rebates it back to the people paying Social Security taxes, not to go out and fix up the car or buy a refrigerator with it, but instead to go into their own personal Social Security savings account that would be held by a fiduciary like the local bank.
The individual could not get their hands on the money until they turn 65, but they would get a monthly statement and for the first time, because of the private property rights that come with an account like that, for the first time have a firewall created between political forces in D.C. and their Social Security surplus.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means; never called for a House vote.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To ensure the integrity of the Social Security trust funds by requiring the Managing Trustee to invest the annual surplus of such trust funds in marketable interest-bearing U.S. obligations, and certificates of deposit in institutions insured by the FDIC, and to protect such trust funds from the public debt limit.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: The Social Security Preservation Act is a rather simple bill which states that all monies raised by the Social Security trust fund will be spent in payments to beneficiaries, with excess receipts invested in interest-bearing certificates of deposit. This will help keep Social Security trust fund monies from being diverted to other programs, as well as allow the fund to grow by providing for investment in interest-bearing instruments.
The Social Security Preservation Act ensures that the government will keep its promises to America's seniors that taxes collected for Social Security will be used for Social Security. When the government taxes Americans to fund Social Security, it promises the American people that the money will be there for them when they retire. Congress has a moral obligation to keep that promise.
The return of massive federal deficits, and the accompanying pressure for massive new raids on the trust fund, make it more important than ever that Congress protect the trust fund from big spending, pork-barrel politics. I call upon all my colleagues, regardless of which proposal for long-term Social Security reform they support, to stand up for America's seniors by cosponsoring the Social Security Preservation Act.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on Social Security; never came to a vote.
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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