For Immediate Release


Don Owens, (202) 302-5928,
Josh Rosenblum, (202) 587-1635,

The Race to the Bottom for Worst Social Security Proposals of GOP Presidential Candidates

WASHINGTON - Social Security Works recently unveiled a new guide which reveals that the top six Republican Presidential candidates agree: If they had their way, they would cut or do away with Social Security, America’s most successful insurance program. The guide shows that when these Republican Presidential candidates say we need to “save” Social Security, what they really mean is we need to end Social Security.

Social Security provides benefits to nearly 600,000 Iowans, 121,800 New Hampshire residents, 440,400 South Carolina residents and millions of Americans.  Social Security has a lot at stake on the early caucus and primary outcome.  The brief guide below includes such horrible gems as “fraud” and “privatization” language from Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Santorum.

Below are some of the things Presidential candidates have said in their race to the bottom for worst Social Security proposals:



Called Social Security A Fraud, Ponzi Scheme, or Unconstitutional

Wants to Raise the Social Security Retirement Age

Supports Some Form of Privatization


[Social Security] “is a tremendous fraud. no company could get away with this, they’d be thrown in jail if they ever tried to do what the federal government did with people’s Social Security money.”

Fox News, February 17, 2010

Voted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, which would cut benefits by up to 20 percent for new beneficiaries when fully phased in.

–Voted Yes on Republican Study Committee Budget, Roll call Vote 275, April 15, 2011

“But people that are younger than [10 years away from retirement], they need to have some options in their lives, so that going forward they can have an ownership of their own Social Security, their own retirement.”

Fox News, February 17, 2010


“it is a fraud and a lie the way that congress deals with Social Security.”

Cain-Gingrich Debate, november 5, 2011

No position stated.

“any candidate who is not prepared to give younger americans the right to choose [a private account] has no serious plan for Social Security.”

–Cain-Gingrich Debate, November 5, 2011


“Technically, [Social Security is unconstitutional]. …there’s no authority [in the constitution for it].”

–(Fox News Sunday, May 15, 2011)

No direct position, but Paul sees it as irrelevant since he would dismantle the entire program and allow people to opt-out of Social Security.

–(MSNBC interview, April 27, 2011)

“But I want to privatize the retirement funds and put the responsibility on the individual.”

–(CNN Situation Room interview, September 8, 2010)


Social Security “is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. …the idea that [young people] are working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them… is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”

–Iowa Caucus event at the Vine Coffeehouse,


“if you’re a forty-five year-old or less, we’re going to move that retirement age up to sixty-nine or seventy.”

Town Hall, 9/5/11

“if only the new Dealers had been kind enough to allow workers to make their own choice about whether to participate [in Social Security]. as we know from experience, individuals would have done better on their own [with private accounts].”

–Fed Up, 2010, page 61


“There simply is no [trust] ‘fund’ safely invested somewhere… to put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security. … let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing… They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to congress every two years.”

–No Apology, 2010, pp. 172-3

“Alternatively, we could gradually raise the retirement age. this does have a certain logic to it…”

–No Apology, 2010, p. 173

“One thing that [President Bush] proposed, and it’s a good idea, is to take some of that money, or all of that surplus [Social Security] money and allow people to have a personal account.”

town hall, 6/5/2007


No position stated.

“I proposed [raising the retirement age] back in 1994, and I think that’s an option that has to be on the table.”

–(Meet the Press, June 12, 2011)

“We’re in the middle of a phase-up [in the retirement age] to age 67…We need to continue to do that.”

–(Remarks at Lancaster, SC, September 13, 2011)

“Personal retirement accounts provide individuals—not the government—with control and ownership. and they hold the promise of a greater return for future generations than what they are promised by today’s Social Security system.”

–(the Hill, March 1, 2005)



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