Monday, July 7, 2008

NCPA compares candidates on Social Security reform

Sadly, there's not a ton of source material to work with, but the National Center for Policy Analysis puts together a side-by-side on McCain vs. Obama on Social Security reform:


John McCain

Barack Obama

Social Security Reform

Partial Privatization - Provide younger workers the option of putting a portion of their earnings into personal savings accounts in return for reduced future benefits from the Social Security system

Keep current system but with changes to funding and taxes as stated below

Opposes privatization

Raising Retirement Age





For younger workers, use of personal savings accounts to accrue retirement income in addition to Social Security (see Social Security Reform above)

Expand the Saver's Credit to households earning up to $75,000

Automatically enroll workers in a workplace retirement plan (Employers will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account if no retirement plan currently exists)

Payroll Taxes

Rules out higher payroll taxes to pay for Social Security

Raise payroll taxes on incomes over $250,000

Those making $102,000 - $250,000 would not see any changes


Require the government to keep its full entitlement obligation to seniors

Require the government to keep its full entitlement obligation to seniors

Benefits Taxes

Eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits

Eliminate income taxes on senior citizens making under $50,000

(This applies to general income; not Social Security benefits)


Lower Medicare premiums for seniors while also reducing the growth of Medicare

Reduce waste in the Medicare system


2 comments: said...

This does not seem correct if the Washington Post story this morning is correct. It reported that McCain was willing to consider future benefit cuts along with raising the retirement age.

Andrew G. Biggs said...

It's certainly artfully put. The McCain folks have said they won't touch benefits for current seniors, or those nearing retirement, but would consider changes for younger people yet to retire.

That said, while Obama has said his tax plan is designed so he won't have to cut benefits or raise the retirement age, as his campaign has backed off the plan it's clear that they would have to consider those steps just to make the numbers add up.