State of Florida Archives: on Social Security


Ted Yoho: Option of 100% privatization

Q: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?

A: Yes. I believe that people should have the option of 100% privatization when it comes to social security.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2012

Jeff Greene: Maintain current retirement age

The candidates generally restrained from attacking each other when questioned on specific issues. Asked about health-care, the candidates praised new federal laws backed by President Barack Obama, but sparred over Medicaid. Replying to a question on Social Security reform, Greene and Meek attacked Crist and Rubio for backing raising the age of eligibility for receiving Social Security benefits.
Source: 2010 Florida Dem. Primary Debate, in Sunshine State News Aug 11, 2010

Charlie Crist: Reducing COLA is unfair to seniors living on fixed income

Rubio said that he favored raising the retirement age only for people younger than 55, meaning current beneficiaries would not be affected. Rubio also said he's open to rejiggering the cost of living adjustment.

Asked what he would do, Crist said that raising the age "really flies in the face of an awful lot of my fellow Floridians" and said he would root out waste and fraud instead. The Crist campaign issued a post-debate statement: "Governor Crist believes that Speaker Rubio's support of raising the retirement age and reducing Social Security cost of living adjustments is cruel, unusual and unfair to seniors living on a fixed income," it read. "While entitlement reform needs to be addressed, the speaker's position on this issue demonstrates, yet again, that he does not have Floridians' best interests in mind. This issue will surely be one of many Florida voters will hear more about throughout the rest of this campaign."

Source: St. Petersburg Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate Apr 7, 2010

Marco Rubio: Raise retirement age for those now under 55

On Social Security reform, Rubio said that he favored raising the age only for people younger than 55, meaning current beneficiaries would not be affected. He agrees with a sweeping entitlement reform plan advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that would raise the age for full benefits to 70 by 2098, with the gradual climb beginning in 2018. The plan, which has gained notice beyond Washington, also includes changing an indexing formula under which benefits are adjusted. In the debate, Rubio said he's open to rejiggering the cost of living adjustment. Like Ryan, Rubio does not go as far as some policymakers would, including increasing payroll taxes or lifting the income ceiling for taxable income, now $106,800.

Asked what he would do, Crist said that raising the age "really flies in the face of an awful lot of my fellow Floridians" and said he would root out waste and fraud instead.

Source: St. Petersburg Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate Apr 7, 2010

Charlie Crist: Focus on waste & fraud, not retirement age & COLA

Rubio pointed out the problems facing the Social Security program and stated that we're going to have to look at the tough choices, which include raising the retirement age for younger Americans, possibly reducing Cost of Living Adjustments, and other changes to benefits. If you don't want to raise taxes--which both Crist and Rubio say they oppose--then these are pretty much your only options.

Crist replied that he opposes either a retirement age increase or changes to annual COLAs. Instead, he would focus on attacking "waste and fraud" in the system. As a general rule, when a politician mentions "waste, fraud, and abuse" it should be interpreted the same as if the candidate wore a sign saying "I'm not serious." That's not to say that we don't have problems with fraud, but that the real problem is simply that the government spends too much. This is particularly so in the case of Social Security, which is one of the most efficient federal government programs.

Source: Andrew Biggs in The American, on 2010 Florida Senate debate Mar 29, 2010

Marco Rubio: Tough choices include raising retirement age & reducing COLA

Crist's and Rubio's answers regarding how to fix Social Security said a lot to me about the relative virtues of the candidates.

Rubio pointed out the problems facing the Social Security program and stated that we're going to have to look at the tough choices, which include raising the retirement age for younger Americans, possibly reducing Cost of Living Adjustments, and other changes to benefits. If you don't want to raise taxes--which both Crist and Rubio say they oppose--then these are pretty much your only options.

Crist replied that he opposes either a retirement age increase or changes to annual COLAs. Instead, he would focus on attacking "waste and fraud" in the system.

Rubio was willing to be upfront about the hard choices awaiting us on Social Security. This may be due to the dawning on Americans that the clock is truly ticking in terms of getting our fiscal house in order. Rubio brought up the problem of Greece's debt crisis & related it to what America may be looking at in the future.

Source: Andrew Biggs in The American, on 2010 Florida Senate debate Mar 29, 2010

Charlie Crist: Don't raise retirement age; don't adjust COLA

Q: [to Rubio]: Would you change cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security?

RUBIO: I think all of that has to be on the table, including the way we index increases in cost of living. All of these issues have to be on the table [including raising the retirement age]. They are options that I would be open to.

Q: Gov. Crist, we looked all over your campaign Web site. Frankly, we couldn't find a word about Social Security reform.

CRIST: Well, I think it's important that we understand Social Security must be saved. It must be protected. The idea of having a higher age for people to be able to be eligible for Social Security really flies in the face of an awful lot of my fellow Floridians and it's something that I would not advocate. I think we need t take the fraud out of Social Security, the waste, in Medicare as well.

Q: You're saying that even for people under the age of 55 you would not raise the retirement age or you wouldn't change the cost-of-living adjustment?

CRIST: No, I would not.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Marco Rubio: Hard choices for people under 40, to avoid runaway growth

Q: You say you would freeze federal discretionary spending except for security spending, on homeland security and the Pentagon. But that's the same spending freeze that Pres. Obama supports, which covers 13% of the federal budget.

RUBIO: The freeze is not enough. We can freeze the non-military discretionary spending and it's a good step forward. But ultimately, tackling the issue of the federal debt is going to require significant entitlement reforms. That means programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid have to be reformed if we hope to save them so that they exist for my generation. That means we are going to call upon people my age--I turn 39 in May--and people that are far from retirement to make difficult but important and necessary choices to ensure that the runaway growth in entitlement programs and federal spending does not diminish our future or bankrupt America.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Marco Rubio: Keep raising the retirement age on the table

Q: In the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago, you wrote: "Privatization of the accounts has come and gone. There are other alternatives such as raising the retirement age, etc." Are you saying that you will consider such benefit cuts as raising the retirement age?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think a great starting point for this conversation is the Ryan roadmap.

Q: This is Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

RUBIO: Correct. I think it's a great starting point. He does include individual accounts as part of his plan.

Q: I'm asking you about your plan.

RUBIO: On the individual accounts come and gone, that debate happened a few years ago and every year that goes by, it becomes more difficult to accomplish that. But certainly, I think if you're 55 years of age or older, this is off the table.

Q: So, would you raise the retirement age?

RUBIO: I think that has to be on the table. That's got to be part of the solution, the retirement age gradually increases for people of my generation.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Marco Rubio: Keep cost-of-living adjustment on the table

Q: [to Rubio]: Would you change cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security?

RUBIO: I think all of that has to be on the table, including the way we index increases in cost of living. All of these issues have to be on the table [including raising the retirement age]. They are options that I would be open to.

Q: Gov. Crist, we looked all over your campaign Web site. Frankly, we couldn't find a word about Social Security reform.

CRIST: Well, I think it's important that we understand Social Security must be saved. It must be protected. The idea of having a higher age for people to be able to be eligible for Social Security really flies in the face of an awful lot of my fellow Floridians and it's something that I would not advocate. I think we need t take the fraud out of Social Security, the waste, in Medicare as well.

Q: You're saying that even for people under the age of 55 you would not raise the retirement age or you wouldn't change the cost-of-living adjustment?

CRIST: No, I would not.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Jeb Bush: Privatization became administration's fundamental philosophy

The governor sought to extend the use of privatization, and adopted the theory as the fundamental philosophical principle of his administration. He declared, "I would look at any outsource opportunity."

The governor was extraordinarily successful in achieving his legislative goals regarding privatization: Florida hired private sector companies to administer programs that other states had also privatized: managing state prisons, collecting fees on the state's tollways, and cleaning state buildings. But Bush expanded privatization into uncharted territory and contracted out state personnel services (payroll, benefits, training, recruitment, etc.), the management of Medicaid billing.

Like other officials throughout the nation, Bush argued that he was privatizing Florida state government in order to bring about cost savings and efficiency. However, the speed and manner in which he initiated and carried out his plans led some to suggest that political philosophy was the driving force.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.116-7 Dec 11, 2009

Jeb Bush: Social service benefits via private & faith-based companies

The Bush social services reform program [was] designed, in large part, to enable private companies, nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations to provide services that had traditionally been provided by the state: economic benefits to low-income citizens, protective services to children at risk of harm, community services to people who suffered from developmental disabilities, and medical services to poor citizens.

The larger issue regarding the faith-based initiative was that virtually no effort was made to evaluate the activities of the organizations that received public money or to compare their costs and quality of service with those of other service providers. Analysis was impossible and as a consequence the state knows very little about the relative advantages and disadvantages of using faith-based organizations to deliver public services.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.144-6 Dec 11, 2009

Mike Huckabee: Will try to fix Social Security with FairTax

Weíre in trouble is because we have a smaller group of people paying into the Social Security system, fewer wage earners, more Americans getting their wealth from dividends and from investments. Iím a strong supporter of the Fair Tax is that you suddenly have a different funding stream for Social Security. It comes out of the general fund. So you now have a more reliable, a more stable and a much broader funding system that will supply Social Security.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Mitt Romney: Will try to fix Social Security without raising taxes

Q: Will you do for Social Security what Reagan did in 1983?

A: Iím not going to raise taxes. Not only are you taking money away from their pocketbooks, youíre also slowing down the economy. You slow down the economy, more people lose work. More people lose work, of course, youíre having a lot of folks that really have their lives turned upside down. So, raising taxes is just something you donít want to do. Weíre going to have to sit down with the Democrats and say, letís have a compromise on these three elements that could get us to bring Social Security into economic balance. You can have personal accounts where people can invest in something that does better than government bonds--with some portion of their Social Security. Weíre going to have the initial benefit calculations for wealthier Americans calculated based on the Consumer Price Index rather than the wage index. That saves almost two-thirds of the shortfall. You can change the retirement age. You can push it out a little bit.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Ron Paul: Abolish Social Security, but not overnight

Q: Are you still in favor of abolishing Social Security?

A: Yes, but not overnight. As a matter of fact, my programís the only one that is going to be able to take care of the elderly. Iíd like to get the young people out of it, just the younger generation, because thereís no money there, and theyíre going to have to pay 50 years and theyíre not going to get anything. Iíd take care of all the elderly, all those who are dependent, but I would save the money from this wild spending overseas.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Ron Paul: Let people get out of Social Security; itís a failure

Right now theyíre getting behind because theyíre having a 10% to 12% inflation rate and we give them a 2% increase, and theyíre really hurting. I donít want taxes on the Social Security benefits that they receive. I have a bill in that would secure the trust fund, where none of that money could be spent in the general revenues. So in many ways, the goal would be to get us out of this program that is a failure. It doesnít work, and is going to bankrupt this country. The only way you can do that is save enough money, tide the people over, let the young people get out, because theyíre going to be paying all these years and theyíre not going to get anything. I probably have the only program that would really help the elderly because the moneyís not going to be there. Thereís no way these cost-of-living increases are ever going to keep up with their benefits are never going to keep up with their cost of living. Theyíre decreasing. My program has a better chance of helping them than any other one.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Duncan Hunter: Address entitlement programs with trade policy

Q: What about Medicare and Social Security?

A: One thing we need with this smaller generation thatís coming up, thatís going to have to carry these massive loads, is bigger paychecks. You take a $75,000-a-year job, and you move it to China, and that guy gets a $20,000-a-year job, the amount of money that he or she contributes to Medicare and Social Security falls off the cliff. Now, weíve lost over 3 million high-paying manufacturing jobs in the last 5 years because we havenít insisted on a level playing field with out competitors.

Q: Congressman, do you really think we can solve the Social Security and Medicare entitlement programs with trade policy?

A: Let me give you one statistic. We have a $161 billion deficit this year. We have an $800 billion trade deficit. And that is closely linked with the ability to take care of our seniors, to take care of Medicare, and to pay Social Security, absolutely.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Fred Thompson: Present mandatory spending cycle is unsustainable

Q: You suggested that we could change the indexing method for the growth of benefits in Social Security.

A: Thereís no reason to run for the presidency if you canít tell the truth. The fact of the matter is weíre bankrupting the next generation. Weíre spending the money of our grandkids & those yet to be born. They donít have a seat at the table. Our present mandatory spending cycle leaves us in an unsustainable position. Can you imagine something thatís unsustainable and threatens our economy for our grandchildren & those yet to be born not being discussed more on the campaign trail? [We can] avoid future generational warfare, where we have to fight over a lot higher taxes or big benefit cuts, if we do some responsible things now. And the indexing of benefits in the future, from wages to prices, is one way to do that. Current retirees or for those near retirement wouldnít be affected. Those retiring in the future would get the same benefits in real dollars as those retiring now, but not more.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

John McCain: We need personal savings accounts

Q: What about Social Security?

A: Look, what Americans need is some straight talk. Every man, woman and child in America needs to know itís going broke, and weíve got to do the hard things. Weíve got to fix it for the future generations of Americans. Donít we owe that to young Americans today? I say we do. Itís got to be bipartisan. And you have to go to the American people and say we wonít raise your taxes. We need personal savings accounts, but we got to fix this system.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Personalization of retirement funds, not privatization

Q: Whatís your Social Security plan?

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 didnít. He used the word private accounts.

A: Well, but it scared the daylights out of people because theyíre thinking Enron and WorldCom, and that thatís where their money would go. The right word is personalization. Empower individuals to have a greater say over their money. And thatís 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 donít 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.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Mitt Romney: Private accounts work better than extending retirement age

Iím not prepared to cut benefits for low-income Americans. Weíre going to make sure that we protect these programs for our seniors. Currently, weíre taking more money into Social Security that we actually send out. So our current seniors, their benefits are not going to change. For people 20 and 30 and 40 years old, we have four major options for Social Security.
  1. The one Democrats want: raise taxes. Itís the wrong way to go.
  2. The president said letís have private accounts and take that surplus money thatís being gathered now in Social Security and put that into private accounts. That works.
  3. Other people said, well, extend the retirement age. That mathematically works. Itís not as attractive.
  4. And the last is to index the Social Security benefits, the first benefit, to something other than wages, which is what it has always been. But, in my view, thatís the wrong way to go, other than for higher-income Americans. Letís consider indexing based on prices rather than wages.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Ron Paul: Allow young people to get out of the system

Q: What do you think of Social Security?

A: Itís 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, itís not going to work.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: Get a consensus behind private accounts

I think the reality is that we have to deal with Social Security. The first thing we have to do is get a consensus behind private accounts if weíre going to change it. And the fact is, Medicare and Medicaid and presently more expensive than Social Security. So I think in both cases, if you start to establish a private market, youíre going to be able to figure out how to solve these things within costs that are sustainable.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Tom Tancredo: Give people the ability to control their own money

Q: What about Medicare and Social Security?

A: We have to structurally change both Social Security and Medicare. All the stuff that we talk about in terms of discretionary spending that we can cut, ridiculous. It wonít matter in the total scheme of things. Youíve got to go after those and structurally change them. I agree entirely with the idea of doing it by giving people the ability to control their own money, moving it from--just exactly like they would in their 401(k).

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Tim Mahoney: Preserve Social Security

Source: 2006 House campaign website, timmahoneyforflorida.com Nov 7, 2006

Betty Castor: Oppose privatizing Social Security and retirement age change

Q: Do you favor the privatization of Social Security?

CASTOR: Iím all for people investing for their retirement, but the proposal to take money out of the Social Security system and put it into the stock market would endanger Social Security because investment choices would be severely limited by the federal government. Switching to a privatized system would cost money we simply do not have, given the deficit run up over the past four years. I am adamantly against spending Social Security money on other items. I oppose privatizing Social Security, raising the retirement age or cutting benefits.

MARTINEZ: Social Security is a solemn promise that must be kept and I urge Congress to preserve that sacred trust. We must not change the rules for middl -aged workers and seniors. Social Security must improve service with new business processes and use technology to become more efficient. We must work together to develop a system that will be solvent in the future. Finally, I do not support raising taxe

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Mel Martinez: Social Security is a sacred promise but plan future solvency

Q: Do you favor the privatization of Social Security?

CASTOR: Iím all for people investing for their retirement, but the proposal to take money out of the Social Security system and put it into the stock market would endanger Social Security because investment choices would be severely limited by the federal government. Switching to a privatized system would cost money we simply do not have, given the deficit run up over the past four years. I am adamantly against spending Social Security money on other items. I oppose privatizing Social Security, raising the retirement age or cutting benefits.

MARTINEZ: Social Security is a solemn promise that must be kept and I urge Congress to preserve that sacred trust. We must not change the rules for middl -aged workers and seniors. Social Security must improve service with new business processes and use technology to become more efficient. We must work together to develop a system that will be solvent in the future. Finally, I do not support raising taxe

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Betty Castor: Privatizing Social Security will reduce benefits

If we privatize, the only thing that will happen is that the benefits for those already on the system will have to be reduced.
Source: Florida Senate Debate, in St. Petersburg Times Oct 19, 2004

Betty Castor: Oppose investing Social Security in the stock market

There is no imminent danger. There is no immediate problem to Social Security. We have time to address it. The thing we cannot afford to do is create any risk at this time.
Source: Florida Senate Debate, on News4Jax.com Oct 19, 2004

Mel Martinez: Allow people to invest in a private account

I have a young son-in-law and daughter, theyíre just starting their working lives, theyíre in their late 20s. Why would they not have an opportunity to invest in a private account that would permit them an opportunity to also receive a larger return than the 2 percent Social Security provides?
Source: Florida Senate Debate, on News4Jax.com Oct 19, 2004

Al Gore: Wonít break Social Security promises to seniors

Join with me, and we wonít make promises just to break them. Weíll keep our promises go the seniors who gave us everything that we have today. Instead of a system where everyone is in it together, the Bush plan would turn Social Security into a grab bag where everyone is out for himself. You might call it social insecurity. And thatís wrong for our values. Itís also wrong for our economy. Under our plan, Social Security will remain financially sound for more than 50 years.
Source: Speech in Kissimmee, Florida Nov 1, 2000

Andy Martin: Allow individual investment of payroll tax

Source: 2000 Florida Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2000

George W. Bush: Set aside $2.4T for seniors as well as younger workers

Iím going to set aside $2.4 trillion of Social Security surplus. Thatís $2.4 trillion more in payroll taxes than we owe the seniors, which means there is a really interesting opportunity to make sure we not only fulfill the promises to the seniors but we have a social security system that is hopeful for younger workers. We must let younger workers take a portion of their payroll taxes and put it in the marketplace. The agents of the status quo have misread the people.
Source: Speech in Florida Oct 26, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida 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:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
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