Obama Targets McCain’s Social Security Flip-Flop

Jun 13 2008 Published by under Featured News

Today in Columbus, OH Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will talk about protecting Social Security, and John McCain’s flip-flop on the issue.

“Now, John McCain’s ideas on Social Security amount to four more years of what was attempted and failed under George Bush. He said he supports private accounts for Social Security – in his words, “along the lines that President Bush proposed.” Yesterday he tried to deny that he ever took that position, leaving us wondering if he had a change of heart or a change of politics,” Obama will say.

He will propose raising the cap on the on the payroll tax, “Here’s where I would start. Right now, the Social Security payroll tax is capped. That means most middle-class families pay this tax on every dime they make, while millionaires and billionaires are only paying it on a very small percentage of their income. That’s why I think the best way forward is to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like me pay a little bit more and people in need are protected.” He has often said that the increase will not apply to those making under $250,000, and that 97% of Americans will see no change in their taxes.

Then he will go after McCain for what is an endless series of flip-flops, “Now, there was a time when John McCain thought this wasn’t such a bad idea. When he was asked a few years ago whether he could see himself lifting the cap on the payroll tax, he said, “I could.” But today, he’s attacking me for holding the very same position.”

Raising the cap is not a permanent solution, but it is better than the stock answer of Republicans, which is to privatize the program. Social Security has become a beloved political institution. The American people will never go for a privatization plan that is being promoted for solely ideological reasons. The answer to this crisis, which depending on how the numbers are calculated, will hit home somewhere in the next 20-50 years involve benefit cuts and tax increases.

Republicans like McCain advocate privatization, whether they believe in it or not, strictly for political purposes. This is red meat for the GOP base, but it is a given that privatization will never really happen. The Democrats use the threat of Republicans taking away Social Security to scare seniors, and Republicans hate the program for the big government intervention that they view it as representing. Social Security is a program that must stay. The disagreement revolves around how to keep it alive and healthy.

Obama quotes came from here.

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