CNBC 2015 GOP primary debate: on Social Security


Carly Fiorina: No Constitutional role for federally set up retirement plans

Fiorina revealed her unusual understanding of the nation's founding text during Wednesday night's Republican presidential candidates' debate. In response to a question on whether the federal government should help workers set up retirement plans, Fiorina offered a sweeping declarations about what the nation's leaders can and cannot do. "There is no Constitutional role for the federal government in setting up retirement plans."

Few candidates are willing to admit to similar views about the Constitution. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a libertarian, has called for the Supreme Court to repeal much of the modern regulatory state, but even he said during the debate that programs like Medicare and Social Security are legitimate tasks for the federal government to undertake. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has claimed that the federal Department of Education is unconstitutional, but he's also likened lawmakers who want to cut Social Security benefits to robbers and muggers.

Source: ThinkProgress fact-checking on GOP 2015 debate on CNBC Oct 29, 2015

Carly Fiorina: Companies should provide benefits, but don't require any

Q: Should the Federal Government play a larger role in helping to set up retirement plans for these workers?

A: No, the Federal Government should not play a larger role. Every time the Federal Government gets engaged in something it gets worse. And then the Government steps in to try and solve the problem and we get a little further down to that progressive vision that Hillary Clinton is talking about.

Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Chris Christie: Cut benefits for people earning over $80,000

Q: You said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security; you think that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000; and eliminate them entirely for seniors who are making over $200,000. Gov. Huckabee said that your policies would rob seniors of the benefits that they've earned.

CHRISTIE: Let me be honest with the people who are watching at home. The government has lied to you, and they have stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that's in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs from money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they stole it from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits, and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years

HUCKABEE: Yes, we've stolen. Yes, we've lied to the American people. But you know what we're not telling them? It's their money. This is money that people have confiscated out of their paychecks.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Chris Christie: Increase the retirement age because people living longer

What we know is we're living longer. That's a blessing. It's a blessing that we're living longer, so we have to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing. We need to make sure that people understand, as Jeb said before, that if you've done extraordinarily well in this country, do you want them to take more out of your taxes now? Or would you rather take less later on?
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Jeb Bush: Means-testing: wealthiest shouldn't receive same benefits

BUSH: You have to reform Social Security, and the simple way to do it is to make sure that the wealthiest don't receive the same benefits as people that are lower-income. And make sure you enhance savings in the private market: the idea of 401(k)'s. I have a small business that I set up. It took an arm and a leg to be able to set up a 401(k). Because of all the federal mandates and federal laws, it was too expensive. We need to incent private savings and make sure that Social Security is protected for those that have it.

HUCKABEE: When I hear people talking about means testing, let's just remember it means that the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven-room house, does the government get to say you don't need seven rooms, we're going to take two of them away? 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.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Lindsey Graham: 50% of seniors would be in poverty without Social Security

Social Security is not a concept to me. I know why it exists; 50% of today's seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. If it wasn't for a Social Security survivor benefit check coming into my family, we wouldn't' have made it because my dad died 15 months later. I have a military retirement. I'm in good shape. I would give up some of my benefits to help those who need it more than I do. To young people here, I will ask you to work a little bit longer because we have to.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 2nd-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Marco Rubio: No benefits changes for my mom and others of her generation

Q: How to reform Social Security and Medicare?

PAUL: The [eligibility] age will have to gradually rise. It's the only way you fix Medicare, the only way you fix Social Security. You will also have to means-test the benefits.

CHRISTIE: We're living longer. We have to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing.

CARSON: The plan gives people the option of opting out of Medicare.

RUBIO: We are talking about reforms for future generations. Q Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries. My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I'm against anything that's bad for my mother. We're talking about reform for people like me who are years away from retirement and have a way to plan for these changes. It's not too much to ask of our generation after everything our parents and our grandparents did for us.

Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Don't use Social Security Trust Fund to borrow more money

Q [to Gov. Christie]: You said that we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security; and that we need to cut benefits for people who make over $80,000. Gov. Huckabee said that your policies would rob seniors of the benefits that they've earned.

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?

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Means-testing lets government decide what you deserve

Let's keep in mind that for one-third of the 60 million Americans on Social Security represents 90% of their income. When I hear people talking about means testing, let's just remember what that means. If we means-test Social Security, it means that the government decides whether or not I deserve it. If a person lives in a seven-room house, does the government get to say you don't need seven rooms, we're going to take two of them away?

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.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Rand Paul: Shifting payroll tax to business helps middle class the most

RUBIO: [In my tax plan], the greatest gains, percentage-wise, for people, are gonna be at the lower end of our plan, and here's why: because in addition to a general personal exemption, we are increasing the per-child tax credit for working families.

PAUL: Much of the discussion is centered over whether or not the different tax plans help the middle class. In fact, it's the chief argument by Democrats against many of the different flat tax proposals. Mine is unique in the sense that my tax plan actually gets rid of the payroll tax as well. It shifts it to the business, and it would allow middle class people to get a tax cut. If you just cut their income tax, there isn't much income tax to cut. Mine actually cuts the payroll tax, and I think it would spread the tax cut across all socioeconomic levels, and would allow then it to be something that would be broadly supported by the public in an election.

CRUZ: Rand's plan is a good plan. My 10% plan also eliminates the payroll tax.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 2nd-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Rand Paul: Gradually raise the age, if we're serious about fixing it

The question always is, what works better, the private marketplace or government? It always seems to be the private marketplace does a better job. Can you have Medicare or Social Security? Yes. But you ought to acknowledge the government doesn't do a very good job at it. I have a bill to fix Medicare. I've a bill to fix Social Security. For both of them you have to gradually raise the age. If you're not willing to gradually raise the age, you're not serious about fixing either one of them.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Rand Paul: Raise eligibility age; and means-test benefits

The [eligibility] age will have to gradually rise. It's the only way you fix Medicare, the only way you fix Social Security. You will also have to means-test the benefits and declare there's not enough money. It isn't "I put money in, I'm getting it back." There is no money, it's a stack of paper. There is no money in the Social Security account. There is no money in the Medicare account. There's only a promise to pay by the next generation, and the next generation's not big enough to pay it.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

Ted Cruz: No changes for seniors; personal accounts for young

HUCKABEE [to Cruz]: 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?

CRUZ: Governor Huckabee is exactly right, we need to honor the promises made to our seniors. But for younger workers--look, I'm 44 years old--it is hard to find someone in my generation that thinks Social Security will be there for us. We can save and preserve and strengthen Social Security by making no changes for seniors; but for younger workers, gradually increasing the retirement age, changing the rate of growth so that it matches inflation and critically allowing younger workers to keep a portion of our tax payments in a personal account that we own, we control, and we can pass on to our kids. We can do both.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate Oct 28, 2015

  • The above quotations are from CNBC Two-Tier 2015 GOP primary debate
    Your Money/Your Vote
    First Tier: Ten candidates by polls
    Second Tier: Four other Republicans
    .
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Social Security.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Carly Fiorina on Social Security.
  • Click here for more quotes by Ben Carson on Social Security.
2016 Presidential contenders on Social Security:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Sep 05, 2016