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Home > Secure Our Future 2008 > John McCain
John McCain
Senator from Arizona

"I favor strongly retirement savings accounts, personal savings accounts, whatever you want to call them. And I think every young taxpayer should have the ability to make an investment in their own retirement."

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While at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire in June 2007, Jo Jensen of S4 was able to ask Senator McCain a question about Social Security:

S4: As our next president, how would you reform our current Security System, specifically, would you raise taxes, or would you allow future generations to have more ownership and control over their retirement by implementing programs like the Thrift Savings Plan which you and current members of Congress currently have access to?

McCain: We need to fix Social Security. My friends, as president I'm going to eliminate wasteful spending, then we're going to fix Social Security, then we're going to fix Medicare.

I want to do the hard things. I know how Washington works. I know how to reach across the aisle to the Democrats. I have reached across the aisle and worked with Democrats.

I'm going to do the hard things. The only way you're going to fix Social Security is Republicans and Democrats sitting down together, sitting down together the way Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did back in 1983 and said, "Everything's on the table."

I am against tax increases. I am against increases in taxes. I think there are ways to fix Social Security without that, but for us not to sit down together, Republican and Democrat - what's partisan about the fact that these young people are not going to receive the same benefits that present-day retirees have? What's partisan about that?

The American people deserve better than what they're getting in Washington today, and my friends, I want to commit to you that after I'm president, you will have a Social Security system that works and you will be able to look forward to a retirement that gives you the kind of income that you deserve as American citizens.

Statements on Reform

  • "I believe that we may meet our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes, and I have long supported supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts - but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept. People of good faith in both parties agree that we must make the hard decisions to restore solvency to these programs. As President, I will work on a bi-partisan basis to make the hard choices to save Social Security and Medicare, protect the retirement security of our workers, and protect the American economy. I will listen to any serious reform proposal people have but believe we can achieve reform and modernization without higher taxes.

    "I won't leave office without doing everything I can to fix these programs that threaten our future prosperity. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming insolvency of our entitlement programs. No government program is the object of more political posturing and spin than Social Security and Medicare. Americans have the right to know the truth, no matter how bad it is. Here's some straight talk: the current Social Security system is unsustainable. A half century ago, sixteen American workers supported every retiree. Today, it's just three. Soon, it will be only two. If we don't make some tough choices, Social Security and Medicare either won't be there for our children and grandchildren or we will have had to raise taxes so dramatically to support them that we will have crushed the prosperity of average Americans.

    "As President, I'll submit a plan to save Social Security and Medicare, and I'll ask Congress to do the same. I'll work on a bipartisan basis to make the hard choices; to protect the retirement security of the American worker, and the growth of the American economy. And if Congress is afraid to make those choices, then they can just let me do it. I'll take the heat. I'll ask Congress to let me submit a comprehensive proposal. I'll prepare it carefully, fairly and honestly. And they can vote yes or no: no amendments; no filibuster; no tricks: no band-aid solutions; no more kicking the can down the road as the problem becomes harder and more expensive to solve; no more hoping that a future generation of leaders will have the courage we lack. If some of their constituents complain, and they will, they can put the blame on me."
    - New York Daily News, July 2, 2007
  • "I favor strongly retirement savings accounts, personal savings accounts, whatever you want to call them. And I think every young taxpayer should have the ability to make an investment in their own retirement."
    - National Review, March 5, 2007
  • "McCain will present today his first comprehensive plan...calling for a program to shore up Social Security through the establishment of individual retirement accounts...He calls for workers to have the option of investing at least 20% of their Social Security payroll taxes in private accounts."
    - New York Times, January 11, 2000

  • Credit: On the Issues
  • McCain called for "bold, genuine reform that allows workers to invest some of their Social Security savings, privately, in higher yielding accounts."
    - Campaign press release, June 2, 1999

  • Credit: Club for Growth
  • Flip Flop Alert
    Tim Russert: Senator McCain, there's a big debate in your Republican Party about whether or not, as part of the solution to Social Security's solvency problem, that you lift the cap so that you would pay payroll tax, Social Security tax, not just on the first $90,000 of your income, but perhaps even higher. Could you support that as part of a compromise?
    McCain: As part of a compromise I could, and other sacrifices, because we all know that it doesn't add up until we make some very serious and fundamental changes. I'm proud of the job that Senator Lindsey Graham has been doing in his leadership position on this issue and showing some courage.
    - Meet the Press, February 20, 2005

  • Credit: Club for Growth


Senator McCain with S4's Jo after a New Hampshire town hall

S4's Jo asks Senator McCain a question at a New Hampshire town hall

Fox News Debate

Senator McCain with S4 students in Derry, New Hampshire

S4's Evan with Cindy McCain

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