Mike Huckabee on Social Security
Former Republican AR Governor; possible draft candidate
HUCKABEE: For the government to say, "it is fault of working people that we have a Social Security problem," no. It is the fault of a government that used those people's money for something other than protecting those people's accounts. So let's not blame them and punish them. I sometimes hear Republicans say "well, we're going to have to cut this and extend the age." You know what I think a lot of times when I hear people say, "well, let's make people work to their 70." That sounds great for white-collar people who sat at a desk most of their lives. You ever talk to somebody that stood on concrete floor for the first 40 years of their working life? Do you think they can stand another five years or 10 years, many of them will retired virtually crippled because they worked hard. And we're going to punish them some more? I don't think so.
HUCKABEE: Well, Sandra, first of all, let me mention the fact that I think there's a big difference between welfare programs and what some people call entitlements. Namely, Social Security and Medicare. I just want to remind everybody out there who has ever had a paycheck, the government didn't ask you if you wanted them to take money out of your check for Social Security and Medicare. They did that involuntarily. Those are not entitlements and that's not welfare. That's an earned benefit. And by gosh, you paid for it. And if the government screwed it up, you shouldn't have to pay the penalty because of an incompetent government. That's different than the social programs that we've spent $2 trillion on since the War on Poverty began exactly 50 years ago this year.
HUCKABEE: Yes, we've lied to the American people. But you know what we're not telling them? It's their money. This is not entitlement; it's not welfare. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks. Today Congress decided to take another $150 billion away from Social Security so they can borrow more money. they're always going to say, "well, we're going to fix this one day." No, they're not. This is a matter not of math; this is a matter of morality. If this country does not keep its promise to seniors, then what promise can this country hope to be trusted to keep?
Folks, the government has no business stealing even more from the people who have paid this in. I just want to remind you: People paid their money; they expect to have it. And if this government doesn't pay it, then tell me what's different between the government and Bernie Madoff, who sits in prison today, for doing less than what the government has done to the people on Social Security and Medicare in this country.
CHRISTIE: No, he's not lying, he's just wrong. Yes, we'd raise the retirement age two years, and we would needs-test Social Security.
HUCKABEE: Nobody in this country is on Social Security because they made the decision when they were starting work at 14 that they wanted to trust some of their money with the government. The government took it out of their check whether they wanted them to or not. And, if a person goes to 65, they're going to spend 51 years with the government reaching into their pocket at every paycheck. Now, here's the point, whose fault is it that the system is screwed up? Is it the recipients, or is it the government? I just think it's fundamentally lying to people and stealing from them, and we shouldn't be doing it.
HUCKABEE: The problem with people even 55 and younger, they've been paying in for 40 years. This was not a voluntary extraction from their paycheck. It was involuntarily lifted from them, under the guise that the government would then provide for them their money back in that Social Security or Medicare fund. One of the reasons that I'm for the FairTax is that it means that everybody will help fund Social Security and Medicare. If everybody was under a consumption tax, which is what the FairTax does, all Americans would be contributing.
A: The president had the right idea, but he used the wrong word. When he used the word privatization, it scared the daylights out of a lot of people.
Q: Well, he didn’t. He used the word private accounts.
A: Well, but it scared the daylights out of people because they’re thinking Enron and WorldCom, and that that’s where their money would go. The right word is personalization. Empower individuals to have a greater say over their money. And that’s what it is. Keep the government from robbing the trust funds, which is something that, if it was done in the private sector, would get a guy in jail. One thing, when people reach retirement age, if they really have enough retirement benefits, they don’t need Social Security for the long term, give them the option of one-time buyout, or the opportunity to purchase an annuity, with their funds, tax-free, that frees up the long-term obligation of the government.
We are writing in strong opposition to the cuts to the Title XX/Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program as included in the fiscal 2000 appropriations bill.
Over the past few years, SSBG has taken more than its share of cuts in federal funding. As part of the 1996 welfare reform deal, Congress made a commitment to Governors that SSBG would be level funded at $2.38 billion each year. In fact, Governors reluctantly accepted a 15% cut in SSBG funds at that time in exchange for the commitment for stable funding in the future. However, repeated cuts in SSBG have been enacted regardless of that commitment. For fiscal 2000, SSBG is funded at $1.05 billion, which is over a 50% cut from its mandatory authorized level. Such a drastic reduction in funding for SSBG will result in cuts to vital human services for our most vulnerable citizens.
SSBG provides services to needy populations, including low-income children and families, the elderly, and the disabled. While SSBG does have a strong connection with welfare reform efforts in states by providing valuable resources for child care and transportation, it also provides services to many individuals who are not considered welfare recipients. For example, in many states, SSBG funding is used to provide foster care assistance, meals on wheels for the elderly, and independent living services for the disabled -- programs which are not allowable uses of welfare funds such as TANF.
In addition, as Congress finalizes this bill, we reiterate our adamant opposition to cutting funding for other vital health and human services programs which would adversely affect millions of Americans -- with the greatest impact on children and the elderly in the greatest need. The Governors are not seeking increased federal funding; we are simply requesting that you fulfill your commitments and reject cuts in programs such as SSBG that would jeopardize our strong state-federal partnership.
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