State of California Archives: on Social Security

James Bradley: Increase funding for programs and care for the elderly

Source: 2021 California Senate campaign website Jun 29, 2021

Darrel Issa: Rated 10% by ARA [Pro-privatization]

Rated 10% by Alliance for Retired Americans. ARA self-description: "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."
Source: 2020 California PVS Political Courage Test Nov 3, 2020

Kevin de Leon: Secure Choice: first automatic IRA program

Senator de León overcame powerful opposition from Wall Street to pass SB 1234, which created Secure Choice retirement-savings program for California's private-sector low-income workers. Secure Choice was the first automatic IRA program of its kind in the nation and will help millions of Californians achieve retirement security when fully implemented.

Senator de León was a lead negotiator with Governor Jerry Brown and the state's unions to secure a $15 minimum wage in California, and then shepherded the legislation through both houses to the Governor's desk.

Senator de León has also authored workers' compensation reform that lowered insurance costs for businesses, while increasing workers' benefits. He also authored legislation that strengthens the Labor Commissioner's authority in tackling the scourge of wage theft in cities across California--especially Los Angeles which has been dubbed the "Wage Theft Capital of the U.S."

Source: 2018 California Senatorial campaign website Feb 22, 2018

Antonio Villaraigosa: Safeguard the hard-earned pensions of employees

Villaraigosa touched on the need to safeguard the rights and hard-earned pensions of employees. He also spoke about the importance of protecting the next generation of the workers who will be saddled with the obligations. He said the state could defend the rights of teachers while also promoting better, more efficient schools.
Source: Sacramento Bee on 2018 California gubernatorial race Feb 1, 2017

Ro Khanna: Protect the retirement age; apply COLA increases

Ro knows we need to strengthen and defend Social Security and Medicare. As a member of Congress, he will fight to: Protecting Social Security and Medicare is more than just "politics" to me. Like millions of Americans who worked hard and paid into those programs, my parents are retired and rely on Social Security and Medicare today. I believe strongly that they and all of our senior citizens deserve the dignity of a secure retirement in their golden years. It's critical that benefits keep up with the rising cost of living--especially in expensive areas like the Bay Area.
Source: 2016 California House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Ro Khanna: Scrap the cap: same rate for earnings over $250K

When I am in Congress, I will work to support increasing Social Security benefits. We can pay for this by scrapping the cap. I support Senator Sanders plan to scrap the cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 pays the same percentage of their income as middle class families.

While I commend President Obama's courage in addressing the need to ensure Social Security's solvency in the long-term, I respectfully disagree with his proposal to move the system toward the so-called "chained CPI." That change would reduce benefits for current recipients, which I strongly oppose.

I propose eliminating the current payroll tax cap for incomes above $250,000 a year, asking the wealthiest among us to pay a bit more to ensure the long-term solvency of the program. Those earning between $117,000 and $250,000 would be exempt from any payroll tax increase, so that middle class families in the Bay Area are not subject to a harmful tax increase.

Source: 2016 California House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Salud Carbajal: Strongly oppose privatizing Social Security or Medicare

Seniors have earned Social Security and Medicare. They have paid into the system throughout their working lives and deserve those benefits in retirement. Retirees are finding it harder to make ends meet. We should not be forcing our seniors to choose between their next meal and a lifesaving prescription. We need to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, not put these programs in the hands of the private market. I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security and oppose turning Medicare into a voucher system. Instead, we should find ways to increase Social Security benefits so that we provide additional retirement security to elderly Americans who are living longer than ever, and have found it difficult to save for 30 or more years [of retirement].
Source: 2016 California House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Kamala Harris: Oppose entitlement cuts; strengthen these safety nets

Strengthening Social Security & Medicare: Social Security and Medicare are the bedrock of our social contract. Together, these safety net programs keep millions of seniors and people living with disabilities out of poverty. While some in Washington have voted to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, Kamala would oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and believes we need to strengthen these safety nets.
Source: 2016 California Senate campaign website, Aug 31, 2016

Jerry Brown: Moral obligation to fund pension obligations

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

Tom Del Beccaro: Eliminate cap on the payroll tax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Chiang: Require disclosure from CalPERS & state pension systems

To ensure the fiscal solvency of the State's pensions: Chiang has been a leader in pension and corporate governance reform. He successfully sponsored legislation requiring all state pension systems to adopt disclosure policies regarding the interaction between board members and placement agents (middlemen hired by large Wall Street firms to solicit public pension dollars). He has also sponsored bills to curb pension-spiking, require placement agents to register as lobbyists, and require CalPERS and CalSTRS board members to file more campaign contribution disclosure reports. He has led efforts to address the state's looming crisis associated with unfunded medical expenses for state retirees.
Source: 2014 Treasurer of California campaign website Nov 1, 2014

Mimi Walters: Keep our promise to America's seniors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jerry Brown: Cap benefits & increase retirement age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The above quotations are from State of California Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Social Security.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Social Security:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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Page last updated: Oct 12, 2021