October 30, 2007


Obama Hangs Hat On Social Security (John P. Gregg, 10/30/07, Valley News)

As part of his ramped-up effort to highlight his differences with Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama yesterday faulted the Democratic front-runner for dodging specifics about how she would address the long-term solvency of the Social Security system.

“It's important that we have a serious conversation and people put their ideas on the table so that voters know how we're going to move forward,” Obama said in a phone interview with the Valley News. “In the last debate, she specifically avoided providing any suggestions in terms of how she would approach the problem. I think that is what we have seen out of Washington for a lot of years now, a refusal to have a serious conversation about what is needed.

“We're not going to solve the big problems that we face in this country, whether it's Social Security or global warming or how we're approaching energy policy, unless we have a frank conversation with the American people,” he added.

At a Dartmouth College debate last month, several Democrats, including Obama, voiced support for raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes beyond the current $97,500 to bring more revenue into the Social Security trust fund. [...]

Obama yesterday expanded on his answer at Dartmouth, saying he might exempt some income over $97,500 from the Social Security payroll tax so as not to harm middle-class households, a plan similar to one voiced by Democratic rival John Edwards.

Asked by how much he would raise the cap, Obama said, “I think a lot of that depends on what the actuaries for the Social Security Trust Fund indicate is necessary. One of the things I think is worth exploring is having a gap in the cap, so that it may be you don't raise the cap for those dollars immediately after $97,500, but you start applying the payroll tax after, say, $250,000.”

While Obama was pressing Clinton to be more specific, he also sidestepped one key issue -- whether he believes upper-income workers who might see more of their income subject to Social Security taxes should, in turn, get that money back in increased benefits once they retire.

No wonder Hillary is manhandling these featherweights.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 30, 2007 12:08 PM
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