Maria Cantwell on Social Security

Democratic Jr Senator (WA)


Tax cut on $1.2M earners would keep system solvent 75 years

I want to make sure that Social Security is solvent for future generations. We had an opportunity in 2001, when we had a budget surplus, to make a down payment on Social Security. Instead, we gave a tax cut. The tax cut to the highest income earners, that make over $1.2 million, would have provided enough money for Social Security solvency for the next 75 years.
Source: Washington Senate Debate hosted by KING-5 & Seattle Times , Oct 17, 2006

Keep progressivity and guaranteed benefit

First, we must keep our promises to our senior citizens Q: Whatís your plan to save Social Security?

CANTWELL: I want to protect Social Security. What I like about Social Security is that itís a guaranteed benefit. It has progressivity, like for women who make less or live longer. To change that, by making proposal. We must guarantee benefits to those who are nearing retirement, while for younger workers, there should be personal accounts. But, I oppose them being privatized.

GUTHRIE: First, we must keep our promises to our senior citizens. But young people 25 and undershould have personal savings accounts. For the gap between 25 and 50, they can either opt-out and accept a lump-sum payment, or they can continue with the current system.

Source: Washington Senate Debate hosted by KING-5 & Seattle Times , Oct 17, 2006

Absolutely oppose payroll taxes to create private accounts

Using Social Security taxes for private accounts
Mike McGavickNo response
Maria Cantwell Opposes
Q: Will you support or oppose using Social Security taxes to fund private accounts?

A: I strongly support a continued program of guaranteed benefits for future generations, and absolutely oppose the idea of privatizing Social Security by using payroll taxes to create private, individual accounts. I do not believe that we can risk the guarantee of Social Security benefits by creating individually invested accounts. I do support finding ways to get a better return for the trust fund.

Source: 2006 AARP Senate candidate questionnaire , Sep 29, 2006

Donít privatize; stock market is too risky

Q: What steps will you take to ensure the survival of the Social Security system?

A: Because of the generational question people say, well the young people want to privatize social security. I donít. I donít think that you take 2 percent of social security and put it into the stock market, and thatís how weíre going to take care of social security. I think we take two thirds of our budget surplus and lock it up for social security.

Source: Spokane Rotary Debate , Oct 26, 2000

Opposes privatizing Social Security

I support prudent use of the budget surplus to ensure the long-term sustainability of Social Security. I support initiatives to encourage private savings, and I oppose privatization.
Source: The Seattle Times, September 5, 2000 , Sep 21, 2000

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."

Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

Create Retirement Savings Accounts.

Cantwell adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Balance Americaís Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We canít just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to todayís workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000

Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Cantwell scores 90% by the ARA on senior issues

The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003

Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".

Cantwell co-sponsored Resolution on CPI

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.