George Bush Sr. on Social Security

President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)


Don't mess with Social Security

Q: How do we take on changes in the most popular and the most sacred of the entitlements?

PEROT: All these fellows with $1,000 suits and alligator shoes that make policy now--the lobbyists, the PAC guys--we're going to get rid of them. The Congress will be listening to the people. And the American people are willing to have fair, shared sacrifice.

BUSH: Well, first place I'd like to clear up something, because every 4 years the Democrats go around and say, "Hey, Republicans are going to cut Social Security and Medicare." They've started it again. I am the President that stood up and said, "Don't mess with Social Security." And I'm not going to, and we haven't. We are not going to go after the Social Security recipient. I have one difference with Mr. Perot on that because I don't think we need to touch Social Security. What we do need to do, though, is control the growth of these mandatory programs. Ross properly says, "Okay, there's some pain in that." But Clinton refuses to touch that.

Source: The First Clinton-Bush-Perot Presidential Debate , Oct 11, 1992

Last thing we need to do is mess around with Social Security

There's one thing I hope we will be able to agree on. It's about our commitments. To every American out there on Social Security, to every American supporting that system today, and to everyone counting on it when they retire, we made a promise to you, and we are going to keep it.

We rescued the system in 1983, and it's sound again. Our budget fully funds today's benefits, and it assures that future benefits will be funded as well. The last thing we need to do is mess around with Social Security.

Source: Pres. Bush's 1990 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 31, 1990

We should be unafraid to reduce future benefits

The big question I have is, how does one, short of major revision, cut back on the built-in increases in payments to individuals. Will any congress go back and cut down on future payments of Social Security, Medicare, etc.? In my view programs should be reviewed and we should not be afraid to reduce the benefits in the future.
Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.278 , Oct 3, 1978

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Other past presidents on Social Security: George Bush Sr. on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022