Social Security: Where the Candidates Stand

The recent Presidential debates between the candidates have been pretty heated at times. With accusations made and insults being tossed about, it sometimes can be hard to tell where the candidates real stand on the issue.


One thing is crystal clear, though: the candidates don't seem to be addressing Social Security often enough or articulating plans on how to preserve it. That needs to change.

We do know that the next President of the United States will have major decisions to make when it comes to Social Security.  According to data from Pew Research, there are over 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day until 2030. With that in mind, it might be time for us to look and see what our Presidential candidates are going to do to improve social security for our most cherished population, our senior citizens.

Since we haven't heard much talk from candidates about their positions on Social Security, we decided to share information from Dan Caplinger on those Presidential candidates who plan to help our seniors by boosting Social Security benefits. If you’d like to read Caplinger’s piece, you can find it here.

The candidates in the article are listed alphabetically below.

Jeb Bush offered two proposals, one of which is a bipartisan proposal from the Simpson-Bowles Commission that would provide a minimum benefit of 125% of the federal poverty level for those who worked more than 30 years. Also, Bush would like to eliminate the earnings test that could take away benefits for those who haven't reached retirement age and continue working.
Hillary Clinton said she plans to support expanding social security by boosting survivor benefits claimed on a deceased spouse's work history indicating the poverty rate for widows over 65 is 90% higher than for other senior citizens due to benefit cuts resulting from a spouses' death. Additionally, Clinton favors expanding benefits for widows and women who took the time away from work to care for children or a sick family member.
Marco Rubio plans to keep Social Security unchanged for those who are in or are nearing retirement, but advocates strengthening the program especially for low-income seniors. Also, Rubio would eliminate provisions forcing seniors to forfeit benefits if they earn more than a threshold amount from working before reaching full retirement age and continue working. Rubio, like Bush would support Americans deferring retirement by removing the payroll tax on seniors which would not affect Social Security benefits, but increase take home pay for those choosing to work in their golden years.
Bernie Sanders plans include a more broader-based expansion of Social Security benefits for seniors. Sanders would like to increase benefits by an average of $65 per month overall. Also, Sanders supports increasing the cost-of-living adjustments that Social Security recipients make, as well as, introducing a new calculation raising the minimum benefits that low-income seniors receive under the program.

As for Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Donald Trump, we had to turn to an article written by Steve Vernon to find out where those candidates stood.

According to Vernon, these candidates didn't post their Social Security positions on their websites, so the information was gathered from media quotes and interviews.

Ben Carson has not been quoted much regarding Social Security, but appears to be in favor or raising the retirement age.
Ted Cruz plans to raise the age requirements and cap increases in the cost of living adjustment. Cruz would like to see workers save up to $25,000 per year in a Universal Savings Account.
Carly Fiorina plans to keep her views secret until she is elected President, but doesn't think the Federal government should get involved in helping workers set up retirement plans.
John Kasich doesn't have much in writing regarding social security, but his book written in 2006, “Stand for Something: The Battle of America's Soul” he wrote 18 year old's believe they have a better chance of seeing a UFO than receiving Social Security.
Rand Paul is on record as referencing Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, but would like to see the age requirement gradually increased for younger workers
Donald Trump opposes cuts to social security and opposes raising the retirement age.

No matter who becomes our next President, it will take enormous effort by our Commander-in-Chief and a united effort by the Republicans and Democrats in Congress to pass Social Security reform measures.

The President will have an uphill battle and must reach out to both parties, but with great leadership, Social Security reform can be accomplished. Our seniors deserve it!


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