State of New Jersey Archives: on Social Security


Jeff Bell: No means testing or other confiscatory schemes

Q: Would you privatize Social Security?

A: Compared to such out-of-control Federal entitlement programs as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps, Social Security is in reasonably good shape. The bipartisan rescue plan of 1983 built up the trust fund in anticipation of the retirement of the baby boomers. I disagree with those who say the trust fund should be regarded as mythical because there is not some vault in Washington with government bonds sitting in it. This money from worker and employer payroll taxes was committed to future retirees. It is not the fault of those retirees or of the Social Security Administration that Washington spent the payroll-tax surpluses of three decades on other government programs to make the annual Federal deficits look smaller. Millions of Americans paid into the system, roughly proportional to their lifetime income, in anticipation of future retirement, and there is no way their benefits should be cut back by way of "means testing" or other confiscatory schemes.

Source: Email interview for 2014 N.J. Senate race with OnTheIssues Jul 1, 2014

Jeff Bell: Cut payroll tax rate to reduce baby boom deficit

Q: Since you oppose means testing or cutting back benefits, how would you cover the future deficit of Social Security?

A: The future deficit in the system is due to the reduced birth rate since the 1960s, and to return to balance the Social Security system should be modestly downsized without changing its contributory and pro-family structure. The best way to do this, in my view, is by a payroll tax cut of about 20%--from the current 6.25% Social Security portion of the tax for both employer and employee to 5% for each. This would trigger a corresponding decline in the growth rate of future benefits, but only to the extent a worker benefited from the tax cut. Under this plan, everyone's projected benefits would continue to rise--they would still increase with both wage growth and price inflation--but for beneficiaries of the tax cut they would grow less than under current law. This would be enough to rebalance and fully fund Social Security for decades to come.

Source: Email interview for 2014 N.J. Senate race with OnTheIssues Jul 1, 2014

Chris Christie: Pension reform: raise retirement age, suspend COLAs

Our pension system, which was on a path to insolvency, is now on much more sound footing. We tackled the problem head on--modestly raising the retirement age, reducing incentives for early retirement, suspending COLAs until the plan is 80% funded, and yes, asking for something slightly closer to market in terms of employee contributions.

In total, the pension and health benefits reform package that you passed will save taxpayers over $120 billion over the next 30 years. Just as importantly, it will help make sure the pension is actually there when our public employees and school teachers retire. Other states have noticed: this reform is becoming a model for America.

When we combine this needed discipline on spending and taxes, with responsibility in addressing our long-term liabilities, with pro-growth actions on the regulatory side, we have made New Jersey a better place to do business.

Source: N.J. 2013 State of the State Address Jan 8, 2013

Chris Christie: Raise the retirement age, and limit COLA, for state workers

We must modestly raise the retirement age in an era of longer life expectancy. We must curb the effect of COLAs in a time of low or no inflation. And we must ensure a modest but acceptable contribution from employees toward their own retirement system. Without reform, the problem we face is simple: Benefits are too rich, and contributions are too small, and the system is on a path to bankruptcy.
Source: 2011 N.J. State of the State Address Jan 11, 2011

Robert Menendez: Opposes privatization and fought Bush’s privatization scheme

Q: Do you favor privatization of Social Security?

KEAN: I oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike my opponent, I also oppose raising Social Security taxes on seniors and giving Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.

MENENDEZ: No, I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike Tom Kean Jr., I’ve consistently fought President Bush’s privatization scheme. We must protect benefits, not cut them.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate (X-ref Kean) Sep 24, 2006

Thomas Kean Jr.: Opposes both privatization and raising seniors’ taxes

Q: Do you favor privatization of Social Security?

KEAN: I oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike my opponent, I also oppose raising Social Security taxes on seniors and giving Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.

MENENDEZ: No, I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike Tom Kean Jr., I’ve consistently fought President Bush’s privatization scheme. We must protect benefits, not cut them.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate Sep 24, 2006

Robert Menendez: Against privatization; but says Kean has voted for it

KEAN: Unlike Bob Menendez, I will oppose raiding the Social Security Trust Fund for other government programs. I oppose privatizing Social Security.

MENENDEZ: Tom Kean Jr. cannot erase his record when it comes to privatizing Social Security. On three separate instances he took the Bush position in favor of privatization. In 2000, my opponent said that he backed Bush’s scheme to privatize social security. In the state legislature, Tom Kean Jr. voted to support Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Twice. Pres. Bush is again rallying his troops--including Tom Kean Jr.--to create private accounts & dip into the Social Security Trust Fund.

KEAN: In 1999, when Bill Clinton proposed investing Social Security in risky privatization scheme, Bob Menendez said, “by investing today, we can be sure Social Security... will be there tomorrow.” Now he says he’s against it. Make no mistake, Bob Menendez is ready to privatize Social Security if it is what the political party bosses tell him to do.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate [X-ref Kean] Sep 2, 2006

Thomas Kean Jr.: Against privatization; but says Menendez has supported it

KEAN: Unlike Bob Menendez, I will oppose raiding the Social Security Trust Fund for other government programs. I oppose privatizing Social Security.

MENENDEZ: Tom Kean Jr. cannot erase his record when it comes to privatizing Social Security. On three separate instances he took the Bush position in favor of privatization. In 2000, my opponent said that he backed Bush’s scheme to privatize social security. In the state legislature, Tom Kean Jr. voted to support Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Twice. Pres. Bush is again rallying his troops--including Tom Kean Jr.--to create private accounts & dip into the Social Security Trust Fund.

KEAN: In 1999, when Bill Clinton proposed investing Social Security in risky privatization scheme, Bob Menendez said, “by investing today, we can be sure Social Security... will be there tomorrow.” Now he says he’s against it. Make no mistake, Bob Menendez is ready to privatize Social Security if it is what the political party bosses tell him to do.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate Sep 2, 2006

  • The above quotations are from State of New Jersey Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Social Security:
  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)
Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Gov.Brian Schweitzer(MT)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

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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Page last updated: Jul 08, 2014