Rob Portman on Social Security
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (OH-2)
Portman: Did as Bush's budget director, now says he doesn't. Supported privatization as Bush budget director, but currently says doesn't support privatization
PORTMAN: We have to educate folks as to what the problem is. For instance, Social Security this year is in trouble. There's about an $80 billion deficit. The payroll taxes don't pay for the benefits going out. And that's not understood right now.
Q: So why did the budget deal fall apart?
PORTMAN: Well, we came very close. And it was a balanced approach, and Republicans supported it. Spending is the problem, there is no question about it. The CBO just told us again that if we don't do something on the spending side, there's no way that taxes at any level can catch it, because spending goes up so rapidly. These important programs--Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid--will double in size in the next 10 years, which is, of course, the main reason, along with interest on the debt, that you add another $10 trillion to the budget deficit. But the problem right now is we don't see from the president any structural changes in this unsustainable course on entitlements.
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
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Scoring system for 2014: Ranges from 0% (supports privatization and other market-based reforms) to 100% (supports keeping federal control over Trust Fund and Social Security system).
About ARA (from their website, www.RetiredAmericans.org):
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a nationwide organization, founded in May 2001, with now over 4.2 million members working together to make their voices heard in the laws, policies, politics, and institutions that shape our lives. 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.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Senior Citizens Fairness Act:
Raise the Social Security earnings limit, which currently forces seniors out of the workforce; repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security; and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.
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Senate Votes (analysis)