McCain: Social Security Is ‘An Absolute Disgrace’

In a CNN interview yesterday and during a town hall event on Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) expressed outrage with the “present” social security “setup” which requires workers to pay for the benefits of retirees. During his town hall, McCain called the current system “a disgrace”:

Under the present setup, because we’ve mortgaged our children’s futures, you will not have Social Security benefits that present-day retirees have unless we fix it. And Americans have got to understand that. Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s gotta be fixed.

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While McCain’s disgust with the current Social Security system is certain, his rhetoric about reforming the system has “evolved.”


Currently, McCain says he supports “supplementing the current Social Security System with personal accounts,” but in 2006, McCain voted for and strongly backed President Bush’s privatization plan, which would have shifted “Social Security’s annual surpluses into a reserve account that would be converted into risky private accounts.”

Similarly, McCain proposed diverting “a portion of Social Security payroll taxes to fund private accounts” during the 2000 campaign and suggested privatization as late as 2004 and 2008:

I’m totally in favor of personal savings accounts…along the lines that President Bush proposed. [WSJ, 3/3/2008]

Without privatization, I don’t see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits. [CSPAN, 11/18/2004]

McCain’s record of supporting Bush-like privatization schemes belies his current rhetoric. As MoJo Blog points out, “McCain is saying, again, that the problem with Social Security is that Social Security is Social Security, instead of something else.”