John Kerry on Social Security
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
FactCheck: Kerry did tax some benefits, to fund Medicare
BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: “Kerry voted to increase taxes on Social Security benefits. ”
CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry voted for Clinton’s 1993 deficit reduction package, which included a tax increase on benefits. The revenue from this tax hike went exclusively
to the Medicare trust fund. Bush has not proposed in any of his tax cut packages a repeal of the tax increase that Kerry supported in 1993. The increase targeted higher-income households; the vast majority of Social Security recipients were not affected.
Source: CNN FactCheck on statements by Bush and Kerry:
Oct 29, 2004
Personal retirement accounts are an invitation to disaster
Q: Where do you get the $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits?
BUSH: There is a problem for our youngsters. We’ll honor our commitment to our seniors. But for our children, we need to have a different strategy. I believe that
younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it in a personal savings account, because I understand that they need to get better rates of return than the rates of return being given in the current Social Security trust.
KERRY: You just heard the president say that young people ought to be able to take money out of Social Security and put it in their own accounts. Now, my fellow Americans, that’s an invitation to disaster. The CBO said very clearly that if you were to
adopt the president’s plan, there would be a $2 trillion hole in Social Security, because today’s workers pay in to the system for today’s retirees. We’re going to protect Social Security. I will not privatize it. I will not cut the benefits.
Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona
Oct 13, 2004
Social Security privatization will cost $2 trillion more
Bush said young people ought to be able to take money out of Social Security and put it in their own accounts. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office said very clearly if you were to adopt Bush’s plan, there would be a $2 trillion hole in Social
Security, because today’s workers pay in to the system for today’s retirees. They said that there would have to be a cut in benefits of 25% to 40%. Bush has never explained to America, ever, where does the transitional money, that $2 trillion, come from?
He’s already got $3 trillion, according to The Washington Post, of expenses that he’s put on the line from his convention and the promises of this campaign, none of which are paid for. Not one of them is paid for. Bush is driving the largest deficits
in American history. He’s broken the pay-as-you-go rules. I have a record of fighting for fiscal responsibility. I will not privatize it. I will not cut the benefits. We’re going to be fiscally responsible. We will take care of Social Security.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
Oct 13, 2004
Will not privatize Social Security nor cut benefits
You don’t value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall. We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can’t afford life-saving medicine.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention
Jul 29, 2004
I will never privatize, extend retirement age, nor cut SS
Q: What have you done to protect and improve Social Security, and what more should be done?
KERRY: Well, we did protect Social Security in the US Senate, and Social Security is safe and sound well into the next two decades or more.
With very minor changes, with a strong economy, the next generation will have Social Security. I will never privatize Social Security. I will never try to extend the retirement age for Social Security. And I will not cut any benefits for Social Security.
Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa
Jan 4, 2004
Guarantee Social Security soundness, even if unpopular
Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?
KERRY: Young people don’t believe that Social Security will be there for them. I intend to take the politics out of how we are going to guarantee that Social Security is sound into the future. And that requires leadership.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan
Sep 25, 2003
Don’t threaten Social Security on Wall Street trading block
We must uphold the promise of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton and never allow the President and his Republican friends to threaten Social Security by putting it on the Wall Street trading block.
Source: Speech at Massachusetts Democratic Convention
May 31, 2002
Never thought about pulling money out of Social Security
Everyone who is honest about this knows that Social Security in the year 2015 or 2020 won’t work.
Source: Kerry/Weld debate, SouthCoastToday.com
Jun 4, 1996
Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.
Voting YES would:
- require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
- ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
- provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
- ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt.
This Amendment would change that.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."
This body has already closed the door on the President's ill-conceived plan for private Social Security accounts. The opposition to privatization is well-known:Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-089
on Mar 22, 2007
- Privatizing Social Security does nothing to extend the solvency of the program.
- Transition costs would put our Nation in greater debt by as much as $4.9 trillion.
- Creating private accounts would mean benefit cuts for retirees, by as much as 40%.
- Half of all American workers today have no pension plan from their employers. It is critical that we protect this safety net.
Voted NO on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt.
This vote limited debate on the amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt. [A YES vote was for a lockbox]. This vote failed because 3/5 of the Senate did not vote.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)54; N)45; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on Amdt #254 to S. 557;
Bill S. 557
; vote number 1999-90
on Apr 22, 1999
Voted NO on allowing Roth IRAs for retirees.
Senator Roth (R-DE) offered this amendment to the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act to allow people older than 70.5 with incomes over $100,000 to move funds from an Individual Retirement Account into a Roth IRA.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)56; N)42; NV)2
Reference: Roth Amdt #2339;
Bill H.R. 2676
; vote number 1998-120
on May 6, 1998
Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts.
Vote on an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Finance Committee should consider legislation to use the federal budget surplus to establish personal retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.
; vote number 1998-56
on Apr 1, 1998
Voted NO on deducting Social Security payments on income taxes.
Vote on an amendment to establish an income tax deduction for Social Security taxes paid by employees and the self-employed.
Bill S Con Res 57
; vote number 1996-140
on May 22, 1996
Create Retirement Savings Accounts.
Kerry signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Balance America’s Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security,
for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000
- Honor our commitment to seniors by ensuring the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare.
- Make structural reforms in Social Security and Medicare that slow their future cost growth, modernize benefits (including a prescription drug benefit for Medicare), and give beneficiaries more choice and control over their retirement and health security.
- Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
Kerry scores 100% by the ARA on senior issues
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003
Require small businesses to allow automatic IRA deposits.
Kerry co-sponsored requiring small businesses to allow automatic IRA deposits
Women's Retirement Security Act of 2008: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to increase the retirement security of women and small business owners. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to:
Source: Women's Retirement Security Act (HR5543/S1288) 08-S1288 on Mar 6, 2008
- require certain small employers who do not provide retirement plans for their employees to allow eligible employees to participate in a payroll deposit individual retirement account arrangement (automatic
- expand eligibility for the tax credit for retirement savings contributions (saver's credit) and make such credit refundable;
- allow part-time employees to participate in qualified cash or deferred arrangements;
- allow the transfer of up to $500 of unused health plan benefits to qualified retirement plans;
- treat wage replacement income (e.g., disability pay or unemployment compensation) as earned income for purposes of IRA contribution limits; and
- allow self-employed individuals to deduct pension plan contributions from their self-employment income.
Page last updated: Feb 25, 2011