Topics in the News: Entitlement Reform

Rick Perry on Foreign Policy : Mar 8, 2014
Russia & Syria crises: price we pay for not leading world

America cannot sustain its current fiscal course. We cannot continue to borrow trillions from bankers in Beijing, Brazil and Tokyo. The downgrading of our credit for the first time two years ago should not have surprised anyone. Our debt has soared by trillions in the last 5 years.

How can the greatest nation on earth continue to spend its way to astounding debt without the bill ever coming due? How can we explode federal and state budgets with unreformed entitlement programs without the bill ever coming due?

How can we appease a Syrian tyrant, and embolden his Russian ally, without the bill ever coming due? There is a price to be paid for policies that destroy our economy and embolden our foreign enemies.

And I am here today to say we don't have to accept recent history. We just have to change the presidency. It is not too late for America to lead in the world. But it starts by leading at home. And it starts by returning to the founding principles of our democracy found in the Constitution.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention

Paul Ryan on Health Care : Aug 4, 2013
Strategize to delay ObamaCare; don't try for repeal yet

Q: What about threatening to shut downtown government unless the administration agrees not to fund ObamaCare?

RYAN: All Republicans want to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We're having a debate about the best strategy for achieving that goal. And with the government shutdown, we're talking about discretionary spending, just government agency budgets, but it doesn't affect entitlements. ObamaCare is an entitlement like Medicare and Social Security is, and so the entitlement carries on even under a government shutdown scenario. So it's just not that simple and easy. You know, rather than sort of swinging for the fences and trying to take this entire law out with discretionary spending, I think there are more effective ways of achieving that goal. We think that we can do better by delaying this law. We've already had votes to delay; Democrats have supported us in that. There's going to be a better strategy to actually achieve our goal of ultimately replacing ObamaCare.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on Immigration : Mar 15, 2013
Citizenship for illegal immigrants is a GOP suicide mission

Donald Trump said the Republican party will lose elections if it reforms the nation's entitlement programs and will hand Democrats 11 million votes if Congress grants citizenship to illegal immigrants, likening the reform efforts to a "suicide mission." "The fact is 11 million people will be voting Democratic. You can be out front. You can be the spearhead. You can do whatever you want to do, but every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic," he said. "It is just the way it works."

"You have to be very, very careful, because you could say that to a certain extent the odds aren't looking so great for Republicans, that you are on a suicide mission," he said. "You are just not going to get those votes."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Washington Times

Donald Trump on Social Security : Mar 15, 2013
Cannot change Medicare or Soc.Sec. and still win elections

[At CPAC, Trump said}: "As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen," Mr. Trump said, adding that polls show that tea partyers are among those who don't want their entitlements changed. "What we have to do and the way we solve our problems it to build a great economy."
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Washington Times

Jeb Bush on Tax Reform : Mar 10, 2013
Compromise on taxes ok, as part of a spending cut package

Q: You have taken some heat for your suggestion that you might be willing to accept higher taxes as part of a grand bargain, if you also got serious spending cuts, and you also gotten some entitlement reform. Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist said: "People are looking for someone who's tough and you are saying, 'I'll fold.'"

BUSH: What we ought to be focused on in Washington is to build consensus on the things where there's an agreement. Maybe that would be on creating sustained economic growth which creates more revenue than any tax increase. But I don't think that you should automatically say, "No. Heck, no." We have to find in a divided country ways to forge compromise. [Reagan] did exactly that, he forged consensus, he compromised, he didn't violate his principles. So, the idea that you have to have this doctrinaire view [like Grover Norquist's "No taxes" pledge], but you're not necessarily going to be able to solve these pressing problems that we have.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on Immigration : Mar 5, 2013
Limit family reunification: no siblings nor parents

Our immigration policy is driven by an overriding preference for family reunification. Unlike every other country, in America family members of existing immigrants account for a large majority of new lawful entrants into our country, crowding out most others.

When parents & siblings are given immigration preference, their entry in turn creates an entitlement to other extended family members to gain preference as well--a phenomenon called "chain immigration."

In terms of cost/benefit analysis, extended family members typically do not produce the economic benefits that work-based immigrants do, and they impose far greater costs.

We propose limiting guaranteed admissions to spouses and minor children of US citizens. Reuniting married couples and their children is the essence of family reunification. By contrast, siblings and parents cause substantial chain immigration because their children, siblings, and parents then receive guaranteed admission preference as well.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 18-21

Barack Obama on Budget & Economy : Feb 12, 2013
Uphold full faith & credit of US; keep government open

I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won't be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let's agree, right here, right now, to keep the people's government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2013 State of the Union Address

Joe Biden on Health Care : Oct 11, 2012
Medicare gives seniors choice, even if Rx prices negotiated

BIDEN: If we just did one thing--allow Medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like Medicaid can--that would save $156 billion right off the bat.

RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.

BIDEN: All you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage?

RYAN: Because it's working well right now.

BIDEN: Because we changed the law!

Q: Why not very slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age by two years, as Congressman Ryan suggests?

BIDEN: I was there when we did that with Social Security, in 1983. We made the system solvent to 2033. We will not, though, be part of any voucher [that says] when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get; you're out of Medicare. This voucher will not keep pace with health care costs, because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would be no savings.

RYAN: A voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check and buy something. Nobody's proposing that.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Barack Obama on Social Security : Oct 3, 2012
Tweak Social Security like Reagan did, but keep entitlements

Q: Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?

OBAMA: I suspect that, on Social Security, we've got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It's going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill. But the basic structure is sound. But I want to talk about the values behind Social Security and Medicare--what's called entitlements. You know, the name itself implies some sense of dependency on the part of these folks. These are folks who've worked hard, and there are millions of people out there who are counting on this. So my approach is to say, how do we strengthen the system over the long term? And in Medicare, what we did was we said, we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long-term deficits, but to do that, let's look where some of the money's going.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Rand Paul on Budget & Economy : Aug 29, 2012
Not every military dollar is necessary,nor every entitlement

President Obama's administration will add nearly $6 trillion to our national debt in just one term. This explosion of debt is unconscionable and unsustainable. Mr. President, we will not let you bankrupt this great nation!

Republicans and Democrats alike must slay their sacred cows. Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent, and Democrats must admit that domestic welfare and entitlements must be reformed.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Condoleezza Rice on Welfare & Poverty : Aug 29, 2012
Turn toward entitlement tears apart the fabric of who we

Americans have believed that you might not be able to control your circumstances but you can control your response to your circumstances.

If we do anything less, we can damage generations [with] joblessness and hopelessness and life on the government dole. If we do anything less, we will endanger our global imperatives for competitiveness. And if we do anything less, we will tear apart the fabric of who we are and cement the turn toward entitlement and grievance.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Paul Ryan on Health Care : Aug 11, 2012
Replace ObamaCare with patient-centered reforms

No one should face bankruptcy because of a catastrophic illness; no one should be denied health coverage because they are considered "uninsurable."

Unfortunately, the President's new open ended health care entitlement will exacerbate the current problems in health care. His plan has already forced people to lose their current coverage, increased premiums and will take away Medicare Advantage plans from millions of seniors.

Claims that the new entitlement will lower the federal deficit fly in the face of the facts. Adding tens of millions of new beneficiaries, who will be subsidized by the federal government, will drive up health care costs, and fees will force employers to reduce their workforces. We need to fix what is broken in health care without breaking what is working. That's why I voted to repeal this law. We need to replace it with patient centered reforms. I don't believe a bureaucrat should be in charge of your health care decisions--you should be in charge.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 House campaign website,, "Issues"

Gary Johnson on Budget & Economy : Aug 1, 2012
Lay out a process for state bankruptcies

Here's what the National Review had to say, in a January 2011 interview:

"If Gary Johnson were president, he would immediately cut all federal spending--entitlements, defense, education, everything--by 43% to rectify our fiscal blunders. And he'd just be getting started. What is [Johnson's] philosophy? In 2 words: limited government.

"He suggests that to encourage fiscal discipline, the federal government should pass a law that lays out a process for state bankruptcies--which are impossible under current law and would be hard to square with sovereign immunity--and makes it clear that federal bailouts are off the table. 'Everybody would scream' if a state went into bankruptcy, Johnson admits, but a federal bailout would only encourage profligacy."

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.140-141

Gary Johnson on Homeland Security : Aug 1, 2012
Should we have 100,000 troops on the ground in Europe?

Focus spending cuts on "the Big 4" government programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense.

On Defense: We shouldn't have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan. But should we have 100,000 troops on the ground in Europe? Because America has been willing to be the world's policeman, other nations can afford infrastructure projects that the US cannot. That doesn't make sense. The alternative is for the US economy to slide to 3rd-world status. And the danger of a fundamental collapse is real.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.105-106

Gary Johnson on Social Security : Aug 1, 2012
Raise the retirement age to 70 or 72

One last issue that needs a dose of reality is our country's approach to Social Security and other entitlement programs. I've been on the record about this problem for years. As ABC News noted in 2010:

"Citing a story in USA Today which reported that a rash of retirements in 2009 is pushing Social Security to the brink, Johnson said the retirement age needs to be raised perhaps to 70 or 72. "This is the reality, we're broke," said Johnson. "We're broke."

That's STILL the reality.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 76

Gary Johnson on Social Security : Aug 1, 2012
A portion of Social Security ought to be privatized

Social Security really needs to be reformed. Medicaid probably needs to be capped when it comes to the states. Medicare, there needs to be some sort of means testing.

The [Social Security] retirement age needs to be raised. A portion of Social Security ought to be privatized, if not all. And there probably needs to be some means testing. It's a Ponzi scheme that's not sustainable.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.107

Paul Ryan on Health Care : Apr 24, 2012
Obama: Ryan's budget plan ends Medicare as we know it

A senior White House official would later claim that the president and his speechwriters had been unaware that Ryan had been invited to the event. Obama's speech that afternoon amounted to a stern rebuke of the Path to Prosperity. "It's a vision that says America can't afford to keep the promise we've made to care for our seniors. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it. Many are someone's grandparents who wouldn't be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down's syndrome.These are the Americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves."

Ryan sat and tried not to explode. The attack felt both gratuitous and personal to him. As he would later say, "'Autism,' 'kids with Down's syndrome,' 'maybe your grandparents' -- that's demagoguery. That's rank demagoguery, and it's beneath the office."

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Do Not Ask What Good We Do, by Robert Draper, p.142-143

Marco Rubio on Tax Reform : Apr 17, 2012
We need new taxpayers, not new taxes

Democrats claim their line in the sand is protecting entitlement benefits for the poor and seniors. Republicans, meanwhile, say their line in the sand is "no tax increases." If these same Republicans, who continue to vote for more spending, had been as resolute [in voting against new spending], the problem would be much easier to solve. Every dollar of deficit spending Republicans backed--along with Democrats--was a deferred tax increase. Our present challenges prove that deficits do matter.

Republicans know it is possible to increase revenue without raising tax rates on anyone. In fact, you can cut tax rates, cut spending, and see an increase in tax revenue. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) nailed this point when he said, "We don't need new taxes. We need new taxpayers." Ultimately, smart tax policy stimulates real growth, which, in turn, creates jobs and revenue. If revenue is considered undesirable, then so is job creation and growth, which is ludicrous.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: The Debt Bomb, by Sen. Tom Coburn, p. 56

Donald Trump on Health Care : Dec 5, 2011
Kill ObamaCare before it becomes a trillion-ton weight

Obamacare can't be reformed, salvaged, or fixed. It's that bad. Obamacare has to be killed now before it grows into an even bigger mess, as it inevitably will. Obamacare takes full effect in 2014. If it's not repealed before then, it will be more than just another failed government entitlement program--it will be the trillion-ton weight that finally takes down our economy forever.

Obamacare is a heat-seeking missile that will destroy jobs & small businesses; it will explode health-care costs; and it will lead to health care that is far less innovative than it is today. Every argument that you'd make against socialism you can make against socialized health care, and any candidate who isn't 100% committed to scrapping Obamacare is not someone America should elect president. Repealing Obamacare may be one of the most important and consequential actions our next president takes.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p.121-122

Donald Trump on Social Security : Dec 5, 2011
Social Security isn't an "entitlement"; it's honoring a deal

Social Security faces a problem: 77 million baby boomers set to retire. Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful "entitlement programs." But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It's not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money's worth--that's not an "entitlement," that's honoring a deal. We as a society must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can't make one for themselves.

Social Security is here to stay. To be sure, we must reform it, root out the fraud, make it more efficient, and ensure that the program is solvent.

Same goes for Medicare. Again, people have lived up to their end of the bargain and paid into the program in good faith. Of course they believe they're "entitled" to receive the benefits they paid for--they are!

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 68-69

Mitt Romney on Corporations : Nov 22, 2011
Everything corporations earn also goes to people

At the Iowa State Fair in Aug. 2011, Romney mixed it up with a heckler:

Romney: "We have to make sure that the promises we make--and Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare--are promises we can keep. And there are various ways of doing that. One is, we could raise taxes on people."

Heckler: "Corporations!"

Romney: "Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on -"

Heckler: "No, they're not!"

Romney: "Of course they are. Everything corporations earn also goes to people."

Audience: [LAUGHTER]

Romney: "Where do you think it goes?"

Heckler: "It goes into their pockets!"

Romney: "Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets! Human beings, my friend. So number 1, you can raise taxes. That's not the approach that I would take."

What Romney means is that revenues earned by corporations end up in the pockets of people; corporations provide jobs that pay people money. What Romney doesn't discuss is what kinds of corporate employees benefit most from low taxes.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.210-211

Rick Perry on Budget & Economy : Nov 9, 2011
Entitlement programs are $115 trillion; we must cut them

Q: What programs would you cut for long-term deficit reduction?

PERRY: It's the entitlement programs that are eating up this huge amount of money. When you look at Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and those unfunded liabilities, I think are over $115 trillion just in those three programs. Those are the places where you go where you have to make the really hard decisions in this country.

Q: What order are the cuts? You didn't mention defense spending.

PERRY: Well, obviously, Social Security is one of those where we either can go to a blended type of a program where we blend price and wages, and come up with a program, and can save billions of dollars there.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI

Newt Gingrich on Jobs : Nov 5, 2011
Go to college instead of 99 weeks of unemployment

Q: How to address the 72 entitlement programs?

GINGRICH: You must start with the question on whether or not means-testing requires people to stay below. We have the most effective food stamp president in history right now and that is not a good thing. Do you want to rise above the point where you would be means tested? You create a discouragement--read the book LOSING GROUND--you are teaching people to be dependent and fail. You need to rethink the idea that people are getting something for nothing, because that's not how it works. If someone is an able bodied person who is getting something for nothing than we are stupid for giving it to you. We need to fundamentally change unemployment compensation. We need to require training. 99 weeks of unemployment sitting doing nothing could be turned into an associate's degree. I think that each state needs to have primary responsibility for most of these domestic issues.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Head-to-head debate between Herman Cain & Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich on Budget & Economy : Sep 12, 2011
Modernizing government would save $500B per year in waste

Q: How do you balance the budget, when so much of the budget goes to defense and entitlements?

GINGRICH: That's just a Washington mythology. Anybody who knows anything about the federal government knows that there's such an enormous volume of waste, that if you simply had a serious all-all effort to modernize the federal government, you would have hundreds of billions of dollars of savings falling off. If you modernize the federal government, you save $500 billion a year. One example, the federal government is such a bad manager of money, that somewhere between $70 billion and $120 billion a year in Medicare and Medicaid is paid to crooks. We wrote a book several years ago called "Stop Paying the Crooks." I thought it was pretty obvious even for Washington. So I would start to balance the budget by stop paying the crooks, not by cheating honest Americans.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL

Mitt Romney on Health Care : Sep 12, 2011
Reform Medicare, but don't cancel prescription program

Q: If you were president, would you repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?

PERRY: No. But it's a $17 trillion hole that we have in our budget we've got to deal with.

Q: [to Romney] How about you?

ROMNEY: I wouldn't repeal it. I'd reform Medicare and reform Medicaid and reform Social Security to get them on a sustainable basis, not for current retirees, but for those in their 20s and 30s and early 50s.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL

Gary Johnson on Health Care : Aug 21, 2011
Block grant Medicare; carte blanche to the states

Q: You told the Wall Street Journal last year that you support means testing for Medicare and Social Security, for which you said you would raise the eligibility age. In what specific ways would you cut entitlement programs to balance the budget?

A: Specifically, and this is waving the magic wand, because I recognize that there are three branches of government, I would have the federal government cut Medicare and Medicaid by 43% and block grant the programs [to the states] with no strings. Instead of giving the states one dollar--and it's not really giving because there are strings attached--the federal government needs to give the states 57 cents, take away the strings and give the states carte blanche for how to give health care to the poor. I reformed Medicaid as governor of New Mexico and, in that context, even with strings attached, I believe I could have delivered health care to the poor. I believe I could have done the same thing with Medicare.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on blog

Mitt Romney on Corporations : Aug 11, 2011
Corporations are people

Campaigning in Iowa, Mitt Romney told a heckler, "Corporations are people, my friend"--words immediately seized upon by Democrats in what they termed as a possible defining statement by the presidential candidate.

Romney, speaking to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, was being pressed about raising taxes to help cover entitlement spending. When one mentioned raising corporate tax rates, Romney responded by saying corporations were no different than people. The line earned him a sustained round of applause from the crowd.

But the Democratic National Committee fired off emails almost immediately after the remarks, as part of a continuing effort to frame the GOP frontrunner as an out-of-touch elitist, writing: "This is what Mitt Romney is going to run on?"

A small band of hecklers, positioned near the stage, continually quarreled with Romney about whether wealthy Americans should pay higher taxes. "There was a time in this country when we didn't attack people based on their success," Romney said.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: James Oliphant in the Los Angeles Times

Gary Johnson on Budget & Economy : Jul 21, 2011
Opposed TARP, stimulus & Fannie Mae bailout

On federal issues, Governor Johnson says he would have opposed TARP. "Government should not have been involved in this. Why should Goldman and AIG be saved but not Lehman?" He also wants to eliminate government subsidies for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He says he would have voted against the stimulus.

He has said that he would cut the federal budget by 43%, "Start out with the big four - Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and defense," Johnson said in New Hampshire in early 2011.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson

Newt Gingrich on Health Care : Jul 21, 2011
Rampant Medicaid/Medicare fraud: stop paying the crooks

Q: You all support balancing the budget! But what entitlements would you go after?

Santorum: I am the only candidate that wrote & helped pass a bill (welfare) that actually ended a federal entitlement with Democratic votes. Leadership!

Gingrich: Block grant Medicaid and send it back to the states as Rep. Paul Ryan suggested.

Santorum: I was the first candidate to embrace the Ryan plan without exception. Send Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other means-tested entitlements to the states.

Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.

Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.

Santorum: And of course repeal Obamacare before it does even more damage to our economy and our freedom

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on

Gary Johnson on Health Care : Jul 21, 2011
Salud!: managed care for Medicaid recipients

Governor Johnson has an excellent record of holding down the exploding growth of entitlement programs that now cripple state budgets. As Governor, Johnson presided over the beginning of managed care for Medicaid recipients in New Mexico and pushed for speedy implementation. The managed care program (known as Salud!) replaces fee-for service and covers approximately two-thirds of available services under Medicaid. Salud! has generally been described as operating with "significant savings to both the State and Federal governments," when compared to fee-for-service.

In 2002, Johnson proposed limiting eligibility for Medicaid from 235% of the federal poverty level

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson

Gary Johnson on Social Security : Jul 21, 2011
Reform all entitlements, including Social Security

Q: You all support balancing the budget! But what entitlements would you go after?

Johnson: Medicaid and Medicare and reforming Social Security.

Bachmann: Obamacare, the largest entitlement and spending program in our country's history.

Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.

Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on

Gary Johnson on Social Security : Jul 21, 2011
Open to personal accounts for Social Security

Governor Johnson's website lists some major entitlement reform proposals, including to fix Social Security by changing the escalator from being based on wage growth to inflation.

Governor Johnson has also said that he would be open to personal accounts for Social Security, as well as means testing the program.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson

Gary Johnson on Welfare & Poverty : Jul 21, 2011
Impose gross income cap on welfare recipients

In 2000, Governor Johnson proposed to re-impose a gross income cap on welfare recipients. Governor Johnson's website lists some major entitlement reform proposals, including:
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson

Gary Johnson on Health Care : May 2, 2011
Repeal ObamaCare & failed Medicare prescription drug benefit

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Presidential campaign website,, "Issues"

Paul Ryan on Health Care : May 2, 2011
FactCheck: No, Medicare cost doesn't exceed national defense

Paul Ryan writes, "Medicare & Medicaid together consume 22% of the federal budget--more than national defense, including the costs of the two wars." That statement is only true if one defines "national defense" strictly as the budget for the Department of Defense (totaling $664B, or 20% of the 2010 budget, compared to $793B for Medicare/Medicaid, or 23% of the 2010 budget). Ryan adds the "two wars" clause to imply a more general definition of "defense," but just adding the two wars excludes several very large defense expenditures in departments other than DoD: These are the low-end estimates for the 2010-2012 budget; see our "Background on Homeland Security" page for more details.
Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on Young Guns, p.116

Gary Johnson on Social Security : May 2, 2011
Change escalator from wage-based to inflation-based

    We must act now to:
  1. Balance the Budget. The math is simple: Federal spending must be cut not by millions or billions, but by trillions. And it must be done today. It's time to:
  2. Enact Responsible Entitlement Reform: Most people in Washington seem to think that we can control spending and balance the budget without reforming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This is lunacy.
  3. Audit the Federal Reserve: We have a right to understand the process by which our currency is being created and managed.
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Presidential campaign website,, "Issues"

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : May 2, 2011
Eliminate ineffective interventions in Iraq & Afghanistan

This recession has forced families and businesses across America to make hard choices and limit their expenditures. We must now expect our elected officials to make the tough calls that will keep our government on a sustainable path moving forward. We must restrain spending across the board:
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Presidential campaign website,, "Issues"

Gary Johnson on Budget & Economy : Apr 22, 2011
Balance budget by cutting entitlements AND Defense

Gary Johnson said on ABC's "Top Line" that Republicans should be more aggressive than they've been in cutting federal spending. They should take on entitlement programs, too; Medicare and Medicaid could be slashed by 43% and turned into grant programs for the states to distribute.

"I think we should balance the federal budget tomorrow," Johnson said. "I'm optimistic. I think Americans are optimistic. We went to the moon, we can balance the federal budget. We can fix this. We're not addressing the problems that we face, and that starts with Medicaid, Medicare, reforming Social Security and Defense. And I mean cutting those areas

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Rick Klein, ABC News, "Obscurity to Prominence"

Rand Paul on Social Security : Feb 11, 2011
Raise retirement age gradually; allow opting out

With regard to entitlement reform, it has to happen. There isn't any question that it will happen. It's whether we do it gradually in a rational manner, or whether we wait until there's a collapse of the country and we have to do it dramatically. Everybody knows the answer. I said it in my campaign. The Republicans attacked me for it and so did the Democrats. The age of Social Security will have to gradually rise. I got a note from a young man who worked in the campaign, and he may be here today. He said, thanks for proposing the $500 billion in budget cuts, thanks for tackling the Social Security problem and then, I wouldn't mind opting out of Social Security. Is there anybody here who would like to opt out of Social Security?

We need bold leadership. We can't have this incrementalism. It's not going to be enough. You need bold leaders who will stand up & say, this should be done in Washington, but this should be left to states and localities respectively. One person can make a difference.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference

Barack Obama on Health Care : Jan 26, 2011
Repealing healthcare reform would cost $250B

The bipartisan fiscal commission concluded that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it--in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. The health insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs, which is part of the reason that nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year--medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2011 State of the Union speech

Sarah Palin on Government Reform : Jan 25, 2011
Cut funding for "fluffery" like the NPR and NEA

Palin had some particularly harsh words [for Obama's economic policy]: "The president is so off base in his ideas on how it is that he believes government is going to create jobs. Obviously government growth won't create any jobs, it's the private sector that can create the jobs." [When the interviewer asked] for specifics besides emphasizing the private sector over the public sector, Palin said she would cut funding for "fluffery" like the NPR and NEA, along with "Obamacare" and entitlement programs.
Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: 2011 State of the Union: Republican Response

Paul Ryan on Health Care : Jan 25, 2011
Open-ended healthcare entitlement moves US toward bankruptcy

The President and his party created a new open-ended health care entitlement. What we already know about the President's health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees.

Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winner and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree--and we think his health care law would be a great place to start.

Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage. The President's law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2011 State of the Union: Republican Response

Rick Perry on Social Security : Nov 15, 2010
Trust Fund is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme

By far the most alarming problem is the looming implosion of New Deal and Great Society entitlement programs. The combined liabilities for Social Security and Medicare amount to $106 trillion.

Aren't you wondering about the Social Security Trust Fund you've heard so much about? The term "trust fund" leads one to believe that there is a stockpile of assets that can be drawn on to pay benefits. Not so. This trust fund is an elaborate illusion cooked up by government magicians. While it is true that there is an accumulated ACCOUNTING surplus in this amount, the surplus exists only in a "bookkeeping sense."

Ponzi schemes are illegal in this country for a reason. They are fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end. This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of the New Deal. Deceptive accounting has hoodwinked the American public into thinking that Social Security is a retirement system and financially sound, when clearly it is not.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 58-61

Rob Portman on Social Security : Oct 5, 2010
Bush's proposal was sound, but I'm not for privatization

Fisher and Portman sparred over jobs, Social Security and trade in their first of three Senate debates, drawing a stark contrast for voters as the state struggles to recover from the recession. Fisher sought to tie his opponent to the Bush administration reminding viewers of Portman's service as budget director and US trade representative.

Fisher rejected cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age, although he does want a bipartisan commission to address the entitlement program's long-term fiscal problems.

Although the Bush administration had sought to create private Social Security accounts, Portman said it was "not true" that he supported privatizing the program. Fisher often quotes from a 2007 interview in which Portman called the Bush proposal "very sound."

Portman admonished Fisher to "stop scaring seniors" about Social Security. But he added, "We do need to look at reforming the system" to ensure that the entitlement program survives for future generations

Click for Rob Portman on other issues.   Source: Washington Post coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate

Rand Paul on Principles & Values : Oct 3, 2010
This election really is about the president's agenda

I think this election really is about the president's agenda. Do you support the president's agenda or do you not support it? I think his agenda's wrong for America. I will stand up against Pres. Obama's agenda. And I think that's what people in Kentucky want.

Q: You say very little about Attorney General Conway on the campaign trail. Now's your chance.

PAUL: He needs to either defend his president or run away. So far he's running away from Pres. Obama and the agenda. He supports Obamacare. He supported repealing the tax cuts before he was against it. Cap and trade, he's been on both sides of the issue.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate

Rand Paul on Social Security : Oct 3, 2010
Raise the retirement age for people under age 55

Q: If you want to get serious about the national debt, you have to do something about entitlements. Tell me of a single benefit you would reduce?

PAUL: Well, you don't do anything to people who are currently receiving Medicare or Social Security. But we do have to admit that we have the baby boom generation getting ready to retire. There will have to be changes for the younger generation.

Q: So you would raise the retirement age?

PAUL: For younger people, yes.

Q: So higher deductibles or higher premiums, for people 55 or younger?

PAUL: Yes. You're going to have to have eligibility changes for the younger people. And I think all younger people, if they're honest and will admit to it and have an adult discussion and not demagogue the issue, will admit that younger people will have to have different rules.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate

Paul Ryan on Social Security : Sep 14, 2010
Invest 1/3 of payroll tax in personal savings account

I have put forward my specific solution, called "A Roadmap for America's Future," to meet this challenge [of the economic crisis and the future of entitlements].

The problem, in a nutshell is this: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, three giant entitlements, are out of control. Expanding costs will drive our federal government and national economy to collapse.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Young Guns, by Reps. Ryan, Cantor & McCarthy, p.136

Newt Gingrich on Health Care : May 17, 2010
$600B to $850B in healthcare waste every year

Every year we taxpayers pay $70-120 billion to crooks through Medicare and Medicaid alone. Fraud, waste, and abuse in our healthcare sector are more pervasive than people think--they constituted a third or more of the $2.5 trillion spent on healthcare services in 2009. The overall American health care system wastes $600-850 billion every year. Here's the breakdown:Consider this: the federal department that oversees Medicaid cannot even accurately measure the extent of the problem. As the old saying goes, "You can't manage what you can't measure."
Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p.217-220

Newt Gingrich on Social Security : May 17, 2010
Capital markets return more that Social Security promises

A key concept for positive, structural entitlement replacement is personal accounts for Social Security, which would let workers substitute savings & investment accounts for at least part of the current system.

Beginning at any size, accounts could be expanded over time until workers can choose to substitute them for all their Social Security retirement benefits. This could be accomplished using just the 6.2% employee share of the Social Security payroll tax, still leaving workers with close to twice the benefits Social Security promises under current law (but which in the future it will not be able to pay).

A bill introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan maintains the current social safety net in full by including a federal guarantee that if any retiree's account cannot pay at least what Social Security would under current law, the federal government would pay the difference. Because capital market returns are so much higher, however, it's unlikely the government would ever have to pay off this guarantee.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p.192-195

Marco Rubio on Social Security : Apr 7, 2010
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.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: St. Petersburg Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate

Marco Rubio on Social Security : Mar 28, 2010
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.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate

Mitt Romney on Social Security : Mar 2, 2010
So-called "Trust Fund" has defrauded American people

A fiction that's often used to obscure the extent of the crisis is the so-called Social Security Trust Fund, which the American public is assured has a large positive balance. Yet it is not a fund in the conventional sense of the world. From the fund's inception, money collected from payroll taxes hasn't been "locked away," but rather has been used to pay benefits of current beneficiaries. There simply is no "fund" safely invested somewhere, and therefore entitlement programs will consume an ever larger share of our economic output. There is no fund, and there is no silver bullet.

To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security. In 1982, the government raised Social Security taxes with the intention of creating a surplus that could be set aside in some fashion for the baby boomers when they retired. But for the last thirty years, the surplus has been spent, not on retirement security, but on regular budget items.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.157

Mitt Romney on Welfare & Poverty : Mar 2, 2010
Entitlements: focus on future beyond next election

The entitlement liability can be rectified, and the first step is to create public awareness that pushes the issue to the front burner. That will require political leaders who believe that their next election is less important than their children's future to speak out. It will also require able and relentless investigative voices in the media to refuse to let candidates off the hook who do not confront this issue. Prior to the 2008 economic collapse, there was reason to be hopeful that these voices would emerge. But the turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the financial crisis may keep the entitlement emergency in the shadows, allowing politicians to continue to ignore it for a while longer. Unfortunately, President Obama has done nothing in his first year in office to call attention to this looming crisis or to advance any solutions.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.156

Mitt Romney on Homeland Security : Feb 20, 2010
No Miranda rights for suicide bombers

Before we move away from this "No" epithet that the Democrats are fond of trying to apply to us, let's ask the Obama folks why they say no: no to a balanced budget, no to reforming entitlements, no to malpractice reform, no to missile defense in eastern Europe, no to prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military tribunal.

Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. That agenda should have, mind you, three pillars: strength in the economy, strength in our security and strength in our families.

We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might and standing by and strengthening our intelligence officers. Conservatives believe in providing constitutional rights to our citizens, not to enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Not on our watch. A conversation with a would-be suicide bomber will not begin with the words, "You have the right to remain silent."

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Speech to 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference

Paul Ryan on Health Care : Jan 29, 2010
Medicare is a $38 trillion unfunded liability--add vouchers

Pres. OBAMA: The major driver of our long-term liabilities, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. That's going to be what our children have to worry about. Now, [Rep. Paul Ryan's] approach--if I understand it correctly, would say we're going to provide vouchers of some sort for current Medicare recipients at the current level.

Rep. RYAN: No.

Pres. OBAMA: No?

Rep. RYAN: People 55 and above are grandfathered in.

Pres. OBAMA: But just for future beneficiaries, the basic idea would be that at some point we hold Medicare cost per recipient constant as a way of making sure that that doesn't go way out of whack, right?

Rep. RYAN: We drew it as a blend of inflation and health inflation. Medicare is a $38 trillion unfunded liability-- it has to be reformed for younger generations because it's going bankrupt. And the premise of our idea is, why not give people the same kind of health care plan we here have in Congress?

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Obama Q&A at 2010 House Republican retreat in Baltimore

Barack Obama on Health Care : Jan 29, 2010
Medicare is major driver of our long-term liabilities

Pres. OBAMA: The major driver of our long-term liabilities, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. That's going to be what our children have to worry about. Now, [Rep. Paul Ryan's] approach--if I understand it correctly, would say we're going to provide vouchers of some sort for current Medicare recipients at the current level.

Rep. RYAN: No.

Pres. OBAMA: No?

Rep. RYAN: People 55 and above are grandfathered in.

Pres. OBAMA: But just for future beneficiaries, the basic idea would be that at some point we hold Medicare cost per recipient constant as a way of making sure that that doesn't go way out of whack, right?

Rep. RYAN: We drew it as a blend of inflation and health inflation. Medicare is a $38 trillion unfunded liability-- it has to be reformed for younger generations because it's going bankrupt. And the premise of our idea is, why not give people the same kind of health care plan we here have in Congress?

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama Q&A at 2010 House Republican retreat in Baltimore

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jan 27, 2010
Freeze discretionary government spending for 3 years

Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2010 State of the Union Address

Jeb Bush on Health Care : Aug 1, 2009
ObamaCare is focused on access; should be focused on quality

Q: What do you think of ObamaCare?

A: Have you ever gone to HHS? Have you gone to CMS, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid? It's scary. That's going to be the marketplace for health care if Democrats have their way. McCain had a fantastic health-care proposal that he had a hard time explaining, that said that basically you should empower people, individuals, to make choices, & they should be rewarded when they make choices that improve health-care outcomes. Under Obama, we're going to create a system that's not focused on quality; it's focused on access to care. You end up insuring fewer people the more government expands its insurance. People drop out of the private market. For every person the government takes on the rolls, there's an equal number of people leaving the private sector. We're like gerbils running in place. We're not expanding health-care access per se. There are all sorts of technologies that exist that allow us to improve health-care outcomes if we organize our system differently.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Tucker Carlson interview of Jeb Bush in Esquire

Paul Ryan on Budget & Economy : Jul 4, 2009
Road Map for America's Future: cut entitlement spending

Rep. Ryan has been working on major reforms of our tax code and entitlement programs for more than ten years. Realizing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance are all entwined with our tax code, Ryan spent two years working with dozens of staff and experts to develop a comprehensive reform proposal that encompasses all of these important domestic issues. His plan is called A Road Map for America's Future. In his introduction to the plan, Ryan writes:

"Currently, we are on a path of unsustainable Federal Government spending. The main problem, and greatest threat to our nation's economic future, is the looming crisis of entitlement spending. The well-intentioned social insurance strategies of the past century--particularly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid--are headed toward financial collapse...compounding this problem is a tax code that discourages work, saving, and investment--and puts American companies at a significant disadvantage with business overseas."

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Saving Freedom, by Jim DeMint, p.242-243

Barack Obama on Social Security : Oct 7, 2008
Good health care and tax reform will save entitlements

Q: How should we fix Social Security and other entitlement programs?

OBAMA: If we get our tax policies right so that they’re good for the middle class, if we reverse the policies of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place and that Sen. McCain supported, then we are going to be in a position to deal with Social Security and deal with Medicare, because we will have a health care plan that actually works for you, reduces spending and costs over the long term, and Social Security that is stable and solvent for all Americans and not just some.

McCAIN: What we have to do with Medicare is have the smartest people in America come together, come up with recommendations, and then, like the base-closing commission idea we had, then we should have Congress vote up or down.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 second presidential debate against John McCain

Barack Obama on Budget & Economy : Sep 26, 2008
Spending freeze is like a hatchet where you need a scalpel

Q: In the middle of a huge financial crisis that is yet to be resolved, how this is going to affect you not in small ways, but in major ways, and the approach you would take to the presidency.

McCAIN: How about a spending freeze on everything but Defense, Veterans Affairs and entitlement programs? We ought to seriously consider, with the exceptions of caring for our veterans, national defense and several other vital issues.

OBAMA: The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel. There are some programs that are very important that are currently underfunded. I want to increase early childhood education. We’re currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we’re going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we’ve got to look at bringing that war to a close.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain

Sarah Palin on Budget & Economy : Sep 21, 2008
Program of $1,200 to every Alaskan: spent on consumer goods

Q: Is Sarah Palin a fiscal conservative?

A: She is not for smaller government. Aside from putting the city of Wasilla in debt for the ice rink/sports complex, as governor, she created a new entitlement program that promised $1,200 to EVERY Alaskan to help with the high cost of heating bills. The checks just arrived a few days ago, and I went to WalMart and the store is empty: there are no flat screens, no IPods, no electronics, etc. A better investment would have been in alternative energy projects.

Q: Do you think Sarah Palin is equipped to contribute to the handling of our economic crisis?

A: Sarah has zero clue about the economy and the bank crisis and the mortgage crisis.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Phone interview with Anne Kilkenny, resident of Wasilla AK

Jesse Ventura on Government Reform : Apr 1, 2008
1996: Dole & Clinton conspired to limit presidential debates

In 1992, when Ross Perot scared the pants off the two parties by getting almost 20% of the vote, that entitled him to nearly $30 million of our tax dollars if he chose to run again in '96. Shouldn't that entitlement--and the fact that he received one out of every 5 votes--also have automatically qualified Perot to take part in any '96 debates?

Well, that wasn't allowed. That year, it was Bill Clinton running for reelection against Bob Dole. Dole did not want Perot in the debates, because he felt it would erode his conservative base. Clinton did not want debates at all because he was so far ahead. So, the two of them made a backroom deal. They would eliminate Perot if Clinton was allowed to say how many debates there would be, and when. They took this to the Federal Debate Commission and, of course, it was rubber-stamped. That's how we were denied seeing Perot take part in a spirited 3-person debate. That year, the only two debates were held--by design--at the same time as the World Series.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.285-286

Jesse Ventura on War & Peace : Apr 1, 2008
Iraq war drains resources from social programs

Prior to invading, Donald Rumsfeld said that Iraq's oil would pay for everything. So much for that big idea.

The fact is, this war is not only draining America's resources, it's likely to eventually bankrupt us. And who is paying the biggest price? When you realize that the new Bush budget also cuts $66 billion out of Medicare payments to the elderly over the next 5 years, and another $12 billion out of Medicaid for the poor, it's kind of a no-brainer. The NY Times recently noted that, for what the war is costing, we could've instituted universal health care, provided nursery school education for every 3- and 4-year-old, and immunized kids around the world against numerous diseases--and still had half the money left over.

At the same time, shortly before we turned over supposed control to the Iraqis, the US Federal Reserve sent over, on military aircraft, the biggest cash shipment it's ever made--more than $4 billion, amounting to 363 tons of dollars on these huge pallets.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.263

Mitt Romney on Social Security : Jan 30, 2008
Rein in the excessive growth in entitlement programs

The Bush revolution and the downturn that we faced when he came in office suggested that we needed a tax cut. There’s no question in my mind that Reagan would have said sign it and vote for it. McCain was one of two that did not. The justification at the time was because it represents a tax cut for the rich. I believe in getting rates down. That builds our economy. Right now, federal spending is about 60% for entitlements: Social security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s growing like crazy. It will be 70% entitlements, plus interest, by the time of the next president’s second term. Then the military is about 20% today. No one is talking about cutting the military, we ought to grow it. There’s not enough in the 20% to go after if we don’t go after the entitlement problem. We’re going to rein in the excessive growth in those areas. We’re not going to change the deal on seniors, but we’re going to have to change the deal for 20 and 30 and 40-year-olds, or we’re going to bankrupt our country.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley

Mitt Romney on Budget & Economy : Jan 24, 2008
Make sure that we rein in spending

We’re going to have to make sure that we rein in spending. It’s not just we all agree on the earmarks & the pork barrel spending & the “Bridge to Nowhere.” But the big one is entitlements & reining in entitlement costs, and that’s where the big dollars are. What you’re seeing in a weakening dollar, in a declining stock market, in foreign countries coming here to buy into our banks, you’re seeing the foundation of our economy being shaken by that we haven’t been doing the job that needs to be done.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida

Mitt Romney on Government Reform : Dec 12, 2007
Focus on global Jihad, immigration, tax cut, and healthcare

I want to establish a strategy to help us overwhelm global Jihad and keep the world safe. I want to end illegal immigration. I want to end the expansion of entitlements, rein them in. I want to end the extraordinary growth in federal spending and keep our tax burden down and reduce our tax burden on middle-income families. I want to get us on a track to become energy-independent. I want to get our schools on a track so they can become competitive globally, and get health insurance for every citizen.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate

Barack Obama on Health Care : Oct 30, 2007
Tackle insurance companies on reimbursement system

We need to deal with the insurance companies. On Medicare and Medicaid, the reimbursement system is not working the way it should. Instituting a universal health-care system that emphasizes prevention will free up dollars that potentially then can go to reimbursing doctors a little bit more.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University

Hillary Clinton on Health Care : Oct 30, 2007
Insurance companies cannot deny people coverage

My proposal gives the insurance companies an ultimatum. They have to get into the business of actually providing insurance, instead of trying to avoid covering people. They cannot deny people coverage. They cannot have a pre-existing condition which is not covered. That is one of the biggest problems that doctors face. They face this constant barrage of harassment and bureaucratization from the private insurance world. We need to clean up Medicare & Medicaid. They’re not as friendly as they need to be.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University

Mitt Romney on Social Security : Oct 21, 2007
Favors private accounts; prepared to be entirely bold

Romney said he “was prepared to be entirely bold,” in taking on the politically perilous issue of entitlement spending, “but I’m not prepared to cut benefits for low-income Americans.” He said he favored private accounts and would consider tying Social Security benefits to prices rather than wages for higher income Americans. Romney said “effective leadership that brings people from both sides of the aisle together” could solve the problem of escalating costs for Medicare and Medicaid.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: report on 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando

Hillary Clinton on Health Care : Mar 24, 2007
Require electronic medical record for all federal healthcare

I want to start requiring that people who do business with the government, namely Medicare, Medicaid, VA, you name it, they’re going to have to move toward electronic medical records. And I’m willing to put some up front money into that to create a system where all these different health care IT systems can talk to each other, [so no matter where you are], you start with a history.

After Hurricane Katrina I went down to Houston to see the people who had been evacuated, most in them from the convention center. The elderly, the frail. People who were very dependent upon health care, their records were gone. Those 15 pieces of paper were destroyed. And a lot of doctors told me their biggest problem was trying to figure out what prescriptions to give to people. The only people they could help were the people who had shopped at chain drug stores because they had electronic medical records. If we had that for all of our health records, we’d get costs down & we’d have higher quality health care.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: SEIU Democratic Health Care Forum in Las Vegas

Marco Rubio on Welfare & Poverty : Nov 1, 2006
Institute tax-free zones in downtrodden inner-city areas

During the 1990s, Republicans in the US House of Representatives, seeking an alternative to the failed 1960s-era anti-poverty orthodoxy, approved welfare reform measures that overhauled thirty years of government entitlement programs. Today, notwithstanding these anti-poverty measures, Miami is one of America's poorest cities--an unacceptable designation.

Fostering growth in downtrodden regions requires a bold, dramatic, and innovative approach to economic development and urban revitalization. The Legislature should institute a pilot program that creates a tax-free zone in the most economically depressed areas of our state. Florida must resolve to break down the economic obstacles that exist in many urban centers today with the same vigilance and zeal used to assail racial and gender barriers over the past forty years.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p.165-166

Hillary Clinton on Health Care : Oct 11, 2006
FDA should compare drug effectiveness--not just safety

In 2003, President Bush and Congress upset their conservative base by creating the largest new entitlement program since the Johnson presidency.

Hillary opposed the bill, on the grounds it was not comprehensive enough. She supported numerous amendments that would have enlarged the program and further increased government involvement in the dispensation of prescription drugs.

One of her amendments sought to order the National Institutes of Health to conduct and compile more drug studies, as well as to advise and inform patients and doctors about which drugs work best. The amendment was specifically aimed at increasing the government’s role in medicine. Clinton defended it by noting, “While the FDA is responsible for determining safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs compared to a placebo, there is no government entity responsible for examining whether drug A is more effective at treating a particular condition than drug B.”

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p. 75-76

Barack Obama on Health Care : Oct 1, 2006
The market alone can’t solve our health-care woes

President Clinton took a stab at creating a system of universal coverage, but was stymied. Since then, public debate has been deadlocked.

Given the money we spend on health care, we should be able to provide basic coverage to everyone. But we have to contain costs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The market alone cannot solve the problem--in part because the market has proven incapable of creating large enough insurance pools to keep costs to individuals affordable. Overall, 20% of all patients account for 80% of the care, and if we can prevent disease or manage their effects, we can dramatically improve outcomes and save money.

With the money saved through increased preventive care and lower administrative and malpractice costs, we would provide a subsidy to low-income families and immediately mandate coverage for all uninsured children.

There is no easy fix, but the point is that if we commit to making sure everyone has decent care, there are ways to do it.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.183-185

Mitt Romney on Social Security : Aug 25, 2006
Reform entitlements by negotiating behind closed doors

Romney says it’s time to reform the two major entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare. “It’s really not possible for us to remain a superpower without restructuring our entitlements programs,” Romney says. Romney says leaders from both political parties will have to come up with a solution in private. “Sitting down, quietly, behind closed doors and having a full and complete discussion of various ways to bring the costs down and to keep it from getting out of control,” Romney says.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Radio Iowa, “Romney: reform”, by O.Kay Henderson

Deval Patrick on Health Care : Sep 15, 2005
Finance catastrophic health coverage

No one should have to choose between health care and bankruptcy. To relieve the anxiety for individuals and the burden on small businesses, the State will guarantee catastrophic coverage for everyone who is not already covered by Medicare or Medicaid. By spreading these typically high costs over the largest possible pool of participants, and consolidating the many separate reserves now maintained for this care, per-person premiums will be reduced significantly for both employers and employees.
Click for Deval Patrick on other issues.   Source: Moving Massachusetts Forward, Patrick’s policy booklet, p.11

Newt Gingrich on Health Care : Nov 1, 2003
1994: Declined gov't insurance but gov't paid 75% anyway

Health care reform represented a steep learning curve for more than a few members of Congress. Given the volume of bills they are expected to vote on, most members focus on legislation related to their committee assignments and don't have time to learn the intricacies of every issue before the House or Senate. But I was surprised to encounter more than one Congressman who didn't know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, both federally funded health insurance programs. Others had no idea what kind of health insurance coverage they received from the government. Newt Gingrich contended during an appearance on Meet the Press in 1994 that he didn't have a government health insurance but bought it from Blue Cross-Blue Shield. In fact, his policy was one of many offered to federal employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. And the government covered 75% of the $400 monthly bill for Gingrich and other members of Congress.
Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.232

Jeb Bush on Civil Rights : Nov 1, 1995
Gay rights & feminism are "modern victim movements"

Since the 1960s, the politics of victimization has steadily intensified. Being a victim gives rise to certain entitlements, benefits, and preferences in society. The surest way to get something in today’s society is to elevate one’s status to that of the oppressed. Many of the modern victim movements-the gay rights movement, the feminist movement, the black empowerment movement-have attempted to get people to view themselves as part of a smaller group deserving of something from society.

It is a major deviation from the society envisioned by Martin Luther King, who would have had people judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin-or sexual preference or gender or ethnicity. Eventually there will come a time when everybody will be able to claim some status as a victim of society, leaving few in society who will actually be considered the victimizers. Who, then, will be left to blame in a world in which it is victim against victim?

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Profiles in Character, by Jeb Bush & B.Yablonski, p. 59-60

Newt Gingrich on Welfare & Poverty : Dec 26, 1994
End entitlements; require work

The Personal Responsibility Act caps the spending growth of AFDC, SSI, and numerous public housing programs, and the mandatory work program established under the bill. The cap equals the amount spent the preceding year for these programs with an adjustment for inflation plus growth in poverty population. The entitlement status of these programs is ended.

The bill also consolidates a number of nutrition programs into a block grant to states, funded in the first year at 95% of the total amount of the individual programs. Programs consolidated into the block grant include food stamps, the supplemental feeding program for women, infants, and children (WIC), and the school lunch and breakfast programs, among others. Under the block grant, states will distribute food assistance to economically disadvantaged individuals more freely.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Contract With America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 72-73

  • Additional quotations related to Entitlement Reform issues can be found under Health Care.
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Candidates on Health Care:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
Secy.John Kerry
Secy.Chuck Hagel

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Gov.Jeb Bush(R-FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(T-MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(R-NJ)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(D-NY)
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Sen.Rand Paul(R-KY)
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Rep.Newt Gingrich(R-GA)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(R-AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(R-UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
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Donald Trump(I-NY)
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Page last updated: Oct 02, 2014