Kaine holds forum on future of Social Security

Tim Kaine held a forum this morning with Virginia seniors at Imperial Plaza of Richmond to discuss his continued commitment to protecting Social Security. During the discussion he explained the structure and purpose of Social Security, his position on the future of the program, and explained why Republican criticisms and proposed changes would be bad for beneficiaries and the economy. Below are key quotes from this morning’s discussion:

On the impact of Social Security benefits on the economy and employment:

“(Social security benefits are) absolutely critical to the economy because Social Security payments don’t just go into seniors’ bank accounts. Seniors spend them on groceries, seniors spend them on clothing, seniors spend them on other goods and services that help the economy do well. If you start to make big cuts in Social Security, then money isn’t spent in the economy, then you’re not only going to hurt seniors but you’re hurting the economy. So there are a whole lot of cuts that, if you need to make cuts, you should make first before you even think about touching anything in Social Security.”

On efforts to demonize and privatize the program:

“There are certainly a number of candidates right now who support, in some way, significant revision of the program. And Governor Perry of Texas is the most notable. He’s the one who has used the “Ponzi scheme” phrase over and over again but there are others as well.  In my Senate race, when Senator Allen was Senator from 2000-2006, he voted to privatize Social Security. There is a will to do the same thing right now among Republicans. It’s a pretty good bet that once somebody has shown how they will vote on an issue, they’ll vote that same way when it comes up again.”

On the history and importance of the program:

“There are two great things about Social Security. First, it lifted seniors out of poverty, and that was its goal. But the second thing I think is great about Social Security is that it established this principle of ‘the compact.’ I like that notion of ‘we have an obligation to each other.’ And so the privatization proposals, I don’t like those because first, the stock market is too crazy and people’s money would be wiped out. But also, I don’t like them because that is a different philosophy. It’s not ‘we have an obligation to take care of one another,’ it’s ‘everybody for themselves.’ Shared obligations, shared commitment, a sense of responsibility for the seniors who raised us, that’s a good thing in America.”


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