Mitt Romney on Social Security
In 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by the Des Moines Register ahead of the Iowa Caucus. He was upset that Democrats blocked social security reform under President Bush, and stated that he opposed raising taxes as a mechanism to make the system solvent. He noted three options that were available to address the system. These options included: having the rate of inflation for the initial social security benefit being the CPI index rather than the wage index for people of higher incomes, extending the retirement age, and putting in place individual accounts. In early 2008, he appeared on the Glenn Beck program and offered the same three options to address social security.
In August of 2011, Governor Romney stated at a campaign event that if benefits remained as they are today, taxes would have to go from 15.3% to 44%. That same month, he was asked at a campaign event if he would raise the salary cap to help make the program solvency. While he did not address the salary cap, he did state that he supported keeping the benefits for current beneficiaries, increasing the retirement age, and means testing benefits. This means testing could come as either using the consumer price index for inflation instead of the wage index to calculate the inflation rate for some people or by progressive indexing where wealthier people receive less benefits.
In debates during the 2012 election, Governor Romney countered assertions by other candidates that social security could not be saved or that it was unconstitutional. He stated that he would act to save social security. He also wrote an op-ed that was critical of Governor Perry's plan to move social security to the states. In the end, he stated that it would be a moral wrong to renege on the “iron-clad commitment” we have made as a society to our nation’s elderly and vulnerable.
While his plan for social security is not elaborate, Governor Romney's campaign website states that he would keep benefits the same for those already on the program, slowly raise the retirement age for future generations, and means testing future benefits. No specifics are provided as to what those ages would be raised to and to whom they would apply. It is also not stated whose benefits would be reduced or what mechanism would be used.
Des Moines Register Interview
In December of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by the Des Moines Register and spoke about social security. He states his dismay that Democrats opposed any reform when President Bush proposed reform, and stated that the issue needed to be addressed in the next one or two administrations. He offers an inflated rate for higher income earners, extension of retirement ages, and possibly allowing people to place a portion of their retirement in their own accounts.
Glenn Beck Appearance
In January of 2008, Governor Romney appeared on the Glenn Beck show and stated that social security could be fixed through the use of private accounts, extending the social security retirement age, and calculating the initiql benefit based on inflation for higher income people rather than the wage index.
Des Moines Campaign Stop
In August of 2011, Governor Romney held a campaign stop in Des Moines and was heckled by left wing political activists. Those activists questioned Governor Romney's position on social security. Governor Romney stated that he would not raise taxes to cover promises made to the social security system.
Governor Romney: Do you know what the tax rate would have to be to honor the promises of social security and Medicaid, if we just raise taxes and leave the programs as they are? Right now, those programs combined take a payroll tax out of your earnings of 15.3%. That would have to rise to 44% We're not gonna do that.
New Hampshire Campaign Rally
In August of 2011, Governor Romney held a campaign rally in New Hampshire. He was asked if he would support removing the income cap to assist bringing social security into solvency.
Believe in America Plan
As part of his 2012 Presidential campain, Governor Romney proposed a plan called the "Believe in America Plan." In this plan he cites the need for entitlement reform to reign in government spending. He cites that with respect to social security, there are a number of options, but he does not commit to any specific one.
In September of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican debate at the Reagan debate. He states that social security is not a failure and that he will strengthen social security if elected.
Fox News - Op Ed
On September 22, 2011 Governor Romney wrote an op-ed for the AP that was published on Fox News and dealt with social security. The article was critical of Governor Perry's plan for social security and discusses the complexities of leaving social security to the states.
TEA Party Debate
In September of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican TEA party debate. He stated that he supported social security and challenged Governor Perry's statements that social security was not constitutional.
2012 Campaign Website Statements