State of California Archives: on Social Security

Jerry Brown: Moral obligation to fund pension obligations

Our retirement liabilities--for pensions and lifelong health benefits for state and university workers--total $220 billion. These liabilities are so massive that it is tempting to ignore them. We can't possibly pay them off in a year or two or even 10. And there is little satisfaction in the notion of chipping away at an obligation for three decades to pay for something that has already been promised. Yet, it is our moral obligation to do so--particularly before we make new commitments.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to California legislature Jan 21, 2016

Tom Del Beccaro: Eliminate cap on the payroll tax

Tom Del Beccaro, the only candidate in the race to have taken the No New Tax Pledge, and the only Senate candidate in America to offer a flat tax plan, has proposed the following [as part of his] flat tax system: The payroll tax should be retained but its cap eliminated.
Source: press release on 2016 California Senate race Oct 6, 2015

Pete Aguilar: Fight tooth and nail to protect instead of privatize

Medicare and Social Security are vital to the health and welfare of older Americans in San Bernardino County and throughout our nation. I will fight tooth and nail to protect and strengthen these programs in Congress.

Unfortunately, the budget passed by Republicans in Congress would take us in the opposite direction, breaking the promise made to our seniors. It starts us down a dangerous road to privatizing Medicare into a voucher program, forcing seniors to shop for health insurance on the private market and paying thousands more in out-of-pocket expenses for the same level of coverage.

Let's be clear--we cannot allow Congress to cut vital programs for seniors, students and the middle class to give additional tax breaks to big corporations and wealthy individuals.

In Redlands, I've protected important city programs for seniors. We have maintained critical services, even in tough economic times, helping seniors stay active and engaged in their community.

Source: 2014 California House campaign website, Nov 7, 2014

Mimi Walters: Keep our promise to America's seniors

Social Security is more than a government program; it is a bond between the government and its citizens. We must keep our promise to America's seniors. I will work to preserve the benefits that those at or near retirement have planned their lives around, while also guaranteeing that future generations have the ability to control and plan for their eventual retirements.
Source: 2014 California House campaign website, Oct 10, 2014

Ted Lieu: No privatization; no chained CPI; raise payroll cap

Ted is opposed to any attempt to privatize Social Security or reduce benefits; he supports expanding those benefits instead. In 2009 Ted introduced AJR 18, a resolution to support federal efforts to end discrimination against same-sex couples in Social Security and ensure they received the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
Source: 2014 California House campaign website, Oct 10, 2014

Antonio Villaraigosa: Entitlement reform must be part of reining in debt

Villaraigosa commented on the federal budget: "We can strengthen the economy and lay the foundation for long-term middle-class job growth by reining in budget-busting programs like Social Security and Medicare now." Villaraigosa was reacting to Pres. Obama's proposed budget, which would trim entitlement spending over the next 10 years. The proposal is controversial within the Democratic Party, with some accusing the president of "dismantling" Social Security. Last year, Villaraigosa went so far as to join Fix the Debt, a committee largely made up of Fortune 500 CEOs who are pushing for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

"We have an obligation to rein in our national debt," Villaraigosa said yesterday. "Entitlement reform must be at the forefront of the solution. The cost of entitlements will only drive the national debt upward if we do not stop spending from spinning out of control."

Source: L.A. Weekly on 2014 California governor's race Apr 11, 2013

Jerry Brown: Cap benefits & increase retirement age

Governor Brown today signed sweeping bipartisan pension reform legislation that saves billions of taxpayer dollars by capping benefits, increasing the retirement age, stopping abusive practices and requiring state employees to pay at least half of their pension costs. "This is the biggest rollback to public pension benefits in the history of California pensions," said Governor Brown. "We're lowering benefits to what they were before I was Governor the first time and reducing costs by up to $55 billion in PERS and billions more in other local pension systems. Under the new rules, employers and employees alike are going to contribute their fair share of the costs, resulting in a more sustainable system."

The pension reform law, AB 340, requires current state employees and all new public employees to pay for at least 50% of their pensions and establishes this as the norm for all public workers in California.

Source: California governor's website press release Sep 12, 2012

Neel Kashkari: Index for inflation; increase retirement age; means-testing

Social Security is considered the easier of the entitlement problems to address, especially if it is done early enough. According to the 2012 Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees reports, Social Security is on significantly more sound fiscal footing than Medicare is, and addressing the Social Security shortfall is arguably more straightforward than tackling the rise in health-care costs, a significant driver of Medicare's growth. Shoring up Social Security requires some combination of modifying how benefits are indexed for inflation, increasing the retirement age, means-testing benefits and raising taxes--all without having to affect those close to or in retirement. If lawmakers were to address Social Security shortfalls now, they would be able to do so in a measured, balanced way that would not undermine its function as an essential retirement savings vehicle for millions of Americans.
Source: Kashkari Washington Post OpEd: 2014 California governor race Jun 1, 2012

Neel Kashkari: We must cut entitlements, to avoid national insolvency

The fiscal crisis in Europe has awoken Americans to the enormous challenge we face from entitlements. The promises our country has made over the past few decades, combined with changing demographics and rising costs, have put us on a path to national insolvency. Most economists agree that raising taxes cannot pay for these commitments; entitlements must be cut.
    I believe three steps are necessary for our country to embrace any meaningful proposal to cut entitlements:
  1. Our economy needs to experience sustained growth, creating good jobs, so Americans feel economically secure. It is hard for anyone to think about long-term sacrifice when they are worried about how to pay their bills today.
  2. The emotional bruising inflicted by the financial crisis needs to heal.
  3. Our leaders need to make the case for cutting entitlement spending by tapping into our shared beliefs of sacrifice and self-reliance.
Source: Kashkari in Washington Post : 2014 California Governor race Jul 26, 2010

  • The above quotations are from State of California Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Social Security.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Social Security:
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)
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 07, 2016