ABC's George Stephanopoulous sits down with Senator Obama and interviews him on which policy reforms are included on the table when discussing Social Security reform options:
George Stephanopoulos: You've also said that with Social Security, everything should be on the table.
Stephanopoulos: Raising the retirement age?
Obama: Yes. Everything should be on the table.
Stephanopoulos: Raising payroll taxes?
Obama: Everything should be on the table. I think we should approach it the same way Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan did back in 1983 - they came together. I don't want to lay out my preferences beforehand, but what I know is that Social Security is solvable. It is not as difficult a problem as we're going to have with Medicaid and Medicare.
Stephanopoulos: Partial privatization?
Obama: Privatization is not something that I would consider. And the reason is this: Social Security is the floor. That's the baseline. Social Security is that safety net that can't be frayed and that we shouldn't put at risk.
During the Youtube/CNN Debates on July 23, 2007, Nancy from Delaware asked a question regarding the Social Security cap. Below Senator Dood answers first, then Senator Obama:
Question: This is Nancy McDonald from Wilmington, Delaware.We all know that Social Security is running out of money, but people who earn over $97,500 stop paying into Social Security. What is up with that?
Cooper: Senator Obama?
Senator Obama: I think that it is an important option on the table, but the key, in addition to making sure that we don't privatize, because Social Security is that floor beneath none of us can sink.
And we've got to make sure that we preserve Social Security- do the same thing that Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil were able to do back in 1983, which is come up with a bipartisan solution that puts Social Security on firm footing for a long time.
Statements on Reform
"I think the best way to approach this is to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like myself are paying a little bit more and people who are in need are protected ... That is the option that I will be pushing forward."
- CNN Political Ticker, November 11, 2007
"I believe we need to preserve Social Security by stopping any efforts to privatize it. I will work in a bipartisan way to maintain Social Security's solvency for future generations. Social Security is not going bankrupt."
- New York Daily News, July 2, 2007
"If we kept the payroll tax rate exactly the same but applied it to all earnings and not just the first $97,000, ... we could eliminate the entire Social Security shortfall.""
- ABC News, Sept 24, 2007