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Thursday, December 6, 2007

RNC Response To Hillary Clinton On Social Security

“Hillary Clinton’s argument that Social Security is not in crisis directly contradicts comments made by her husband and clearly demonstrates that the issue is not a priority for her. Apparently, Clinton is not concerned that her poll numbers in New Hampshire are sliding and has decided to continue her campaign of deception.”

-Danny Diaz, RNC Spokesperson

For Clinton, no Social Security plan is the best plan

Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence Blog
By Marcella Bombardieri, political reporter December 6, 07 05:46 PM

GILFORD, N.H. – Visiting the lakes region today, Hillary Clinton not only defended her lack of a specific plan to reform Social Security but called her rivals irresponsible for offering more detailed proposals.

Clinton wants to focus on fiscal responsibility throughout government, and appoint a bipartisan commission to examine the entitlement program’s funding shortfall. But she has been criticized by rivals for not actually saying how she thinks Social Security would best be fixed.

She has previously taken Barack Obama to task for talking about a Social Security “crisis.” Clinton argues that there is no crisis and that such talk comes straight out of “Republican talking points.”

But today, speaking at the Gunstock ski lodge at the bottom of the slopes, as snow machines blew furiously outside, she went so far as to proclaim, essentially, that right now no plan is the best plan of all.

“I think it is a mistake for Democrats to be throwing these ideas out when we know that we can’t do anything unless Democrats and Republicans hold hands and jump together,” she said.

“Most of my opponents are more than happy to throw out all their ideas, and I just know, maybe it’s because I’m a student of history and I’ve been studying this, I know that eventually you’ve got to have a bipartisan commission,” she said, referring to such a commission created by Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s. “That’s the only way we’re going to resolve that.”


FLASHBACK: Then-President Clinton: "This fiscal crisis in Social Security affects every generation." (President Bill Clinton, Remarks At Georgetown University On Social Security, Washington, DC, 2/9/98)


But Social Security Hasn’t Been A Priority For Hillary, And Her Plan To Preserve It Is Unclear At Best:

Hillary: “Social Security is a problem, but it’s not in my top five …” (Thomas M. DeFrank, “Party Gotta Fight Back, Sez Hillary,” [New York] Daily News, 4/12/05)

Hillary: “The so-called ‘crisis’ in Social Security does not exist.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Brandeis University’s Rabb Seminar, 1/23/05)

The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore: “Hillary Clinton's Plan To Rescue Social Security From Financial Disaster Is As Clear As Mud.” (Stephen Moore, Op-Ed, “Hillary's Entitlement Bailout Tax?” Opinion Journal’s “Political Diary,” 9/7/07)

The Washington Post: “The Candidate Has No Plan To Fix Social Security.” (Editorial, “Sen. Clinton's Empty Table,” The Washington Post, 10/1/07)

Hillary Makes It Sound As If “Nothing Ails Social Security That A Little Bit of Fiscal Responsibility Wouldn’t Cure.” “But listening to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), you'd think nothing ails Social Security that a little bit of fiscal responsibility wouldn't cure. If something more is needed, Ms. Clinton isn't saying what. Private accounts are off the table and, Ms. Clinton adds, cutting benefits or raising the retirement age is ‘not an answer.’” (Editorial, “Sen. Clinton's Empty Table,” The Washington Post, 10/1/07)

The Washington Post: “Fiscal Responsibility First Is Fine; Fiscal Responsibility Only Is An Irresponsible Dodge, As Ms. Clinton Well Knows.” (Editorial, “Sen. Clinton's Empty Table,” The Washington Post, 10/1/07)

Hillary Has Dodged Questions On How She’d Ensure Social Security’s Solvency:

“Clinton Dodged The Question When Asked Publicly, As She Has On Several Other Topics In Debates And During Campaign Stops.” (Nedra Pickler, “Clinton Weighs Social Security Tax ‘Gap,’” The Associated Press, 10/12/07)

When Asked At The Last Debate About Her Plan For Fixing Social Security, Hillary Repeatedly Avoided The Question And Refused To Offer Any Specifics. Tim Russert: “But you would not take lifting the cap at $97,500 off the table?” Hillary: “Well, I’d take everything off the table until we move toward fiscal responsibility and before we have a bipartisan process. I don’t think I should be negotiating about what I would do as president. You know, I want to see what other people come to the table with.” ... Russert: “So, Senator, a simple question, a simple question: What do you put on the table [for solving Social Security]?” ... Hillary: “I’m not putting anything on the proverbial table until we move toward fiscal responsibility.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, MSNBC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Hanover, NH, 9/26/07)

RELIVING HISTORY: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “Bill Clinton never took a position on reform of any entitlement program. … [I]t’s a very cynical move because you’re saying to the public I am not telling you anything I intend to do.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 9/26/07)

But She Has Privately Hinted She’d Raise Taxes To Fund Social Security Solvency:

Hillary Privately Told An Iowa Voter She’s Considering Lifting The Income Cap For Social Security Taxes. “Hillary Rodham Clinton has given a private clue on an issue she has refused to discuss publicly how to preserve Social Security in the long term. The Democratic presidential contender told an Iowa voter she would be willing to consider an idea that her Democratic rival John Edwards has been promoting raising Social Security taxes on high-income earners. … She told him she didn't want to put an additional tax burden on the middle class but would consider a ‘gap,’ with no Social Security taxes on income from $97,500 to around $200,000. Anything above that could be taxed.” (Nedra Pickler, “Clinton Weighs Social Security Tax ‘Gap,’” The Associated Press, 10/12/07)

When The Campaign Was Asked About Clinton’s Private Suggestion Of Lifting The Cap, Spokesman Howard Wolfson Dodged The Question. “Asked for an explanation of Clinton's thinking, spokesman Howard Wolfson said in an e-mail Thursday, ‘There are many ideas that are worthy of discussion, but Senator Clinton believes that we need to first focus on fiscal responsibility.’ Neither Wolfson nor Clinton explained what that would entail.” (Nedra Pickler, “Clinton Weighs Social Security Tax ‘Gap,’” The Associated Press, 10/12/07)

President Clinton Hit Seniors By Increasing Taxes On Social Security Benefits – And Hillary Has Voted To Uphold The Higher Taxes:

In 1993, President Clinton Increased The Portion Of Taxable Social Security Benefits To A Staggering 85%; Raising Taxes On Seniors Earning Barely More Than $34,000 Per Year. “[P]resident Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase … hiked taxes on Social Security benefits for seniors. … Prior to 1993, seniors paid taxes on half their Social Security benefits if their combined income exceeded $25,000 for individuals or $32,000 for couples. But in 1993, the portion of taxable Social Security benefits increased to 85%, as individuals with incomes above $34,000 and couples with incomes above $44,000 became subject to the higher rate of taxation.” (Americans For Tax Reform Website, , Accessed 9/19/07)

NOTE: Sen. Clinton Has Voted At Least Twice Against Repealing Her Husband’s 1993 Tax Increase On Social Security Benefits. (S. Con. Res. 18, CQ Vote #74: Adopted 55-45: R 50-5; D 5-39; I 0-1, 3/17/05, Clinton Voted Nay; S. Con. Res. 23, CQ Vote #94: Rejected 48-51: R 48-3; D 0-47; I 0-1, 3/25/03, Clinton Voted Nay)

Other Democrat Presidential Candidates Have Criticized Hillary’s Unwillingness To Provide Specifics:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) “Accused Clinton Of Dodging A Public Answer About Her Social Security Views.” “[O]bama accused Clinton of dodging a public answer about her Social Security views and an interview Obama booked with the New York Times that ran Sunday where he said ‘now is the time’ for him to demonstrate that Clinton is obscuring her positions on important issues.” (Lynn Sweet, “Obama Hits Clinton In Iowa,” Chicago Sun-Times, 10/28/07)

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) Attacked Hillary’s Social Security Plan, Calling It “Politician Double-Talk.” Edwards: “[T]he American people deserve to hear the truth. They have heard so much politician double-talk on this issue.” (Former Sen. John Edwards, MSNBC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Hanover, NH, 9/26/07)

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) Was “Stunned” At Hillary’s Unwillingness To Tackle The Social Security Issue. Sen. Dodd: “So, I’m rather stunned that we had, sort of, this vague, unwillingness to be clear about what you would specifically do on a major fiscal issue in the country.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 9/26/07)

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