Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t quite lay out a detailed proposal for Social Security, but in remarks at a roundtable event in New Hampshire on Monday, she did suggest that Republican proposals to “privatize” or “undermine” the program are “just wrong.”
Clinton’s comments come as a number of Republican candidates have suggested or unveiled proposals to cut Social Security spending. The most detailed proposal was by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) who laid out a set of cuts to Social Security as well as raising the national retirement age in New Hampshire last week. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, both Republicans, have also suggested openness to changes like the ones Christie proposed.
In response to a question by someone at the roundtable said she expected there to be “big political arguments about Social Security” going forward.
“My only question to everybody who thinks we can privatize Social Security or undermine it in some way is, so then what’s going to happen to all these people like you who worked 27 years at this other company? What’s going to happen? It’s just wrong,” Clinton said.
TPM had previously asked the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign about her position on Social Security —whether she supported expanding it as liberal Democrats have been arguing recently or what she thought of proposals like some of the likely Republican 2016 field.
Spokesman Jesse Ferguson responded, “Hillary has a record of fighting against privatizing Social Security and opposing cuts to seniors benefits and, as she said yesterday, dealing with challenges facing older Americans is a top priority for her.”
Clinton’s comments on Monday, at the very least, suggest she’s wary of GOP plans to cut the program in some way.
“So part of what we have to do is say ‘look, let’s everybody take a deep breath. Let’s figure out what works and how we build on what works and let’s not get into arguments about ideology and rhetorical attacks and claims,” Clinton said. “Let’s just take a deep breath here as a country and say ‘okay, we’re going to have a retirement issue and people who’ve worked hard deserve to have enough security when they retire so they can have a good quality of life so I’m a hundred percent committed to that.”
Clinton, of course, is unlikely to jump in with the GOP and push for calling for cuts to Social Security. The big question, again though, is whether she will embrace expanding the program, as liberal Democrats, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), near the vanguard, have called for.
If she did embrace expansion it would be a shift from 2008, as National Journal noted, when Clinton backed a commission looking at the solvency of the program and also opposed a proposal by then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) that raised the payroll tax cap that funds the program.