Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript: Social Security


Location: Unknown


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

This is a story for folks who take a shower after work.

President Obama is trying to energize the base on economic issues like Social Security. This is not just an old person problem. Protecting Social Security has been a key part of the Democratic policy for decades.

Two Democrats are working on legislation to protect Social Security. And here`s the key: extend benefits for Americans who are living longer. I sat down with Senators Tom Harkin and Mark Begich and asked why they think young voters weren`t invested as their parents.


SEN TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: You know what I say to them, Ed? I say, ok, now you`re going to school now. And you`re going to want to get married, and you`re going to want to raise your kids. Guess what? Your parents are going to move in with you.


HARKIN: That`s an awakening real quick. And then you just say, what can I do?


SCHULTZ: Republicans like Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell want to brainwash voters that Social Security is broken and contributes to the deficit. It doesn`t.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Don`t tell me Democrats represent the interest of young people. Washington Democrats stand around like a lookout guy at a bank robbery, pretending nothing`s wrong. Even as the Medicare and Social Security you`re all paying for goes broke.


SCHULTZ: What a jaded opinion. Social Security has never contributed one penny to the deficit. But, of course, Republicans like McConnell want to cut Social Security. That`s their mission. Luckily, the voters in McConnell`s home state of Kentucky are not buying it, 51 percent support the Harken-Begich plan to increase Social Security. That`s increased Social Security benefits to adjust for inflation.


SEN. MARK BEGICH (D), ALASKA: That`s a retirement. People paid into it. And they deserve to be paid back the money they put into it that ensures they have some security and long-term longevity in the Social Security program.

HARKIN: Every since we passed Social Security, Wall Street has been trying to get its hands on this money. Make no mistake about it.


SCHULTZ: Republicans want us to sacrifice our future for a grand bargain to fix the budget, but Social Security is not for sale. When President Obama suggested chained CPI, Democrats said it was unacceptable. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are off limits. That`s if you`re a Democrat and you believe in families.

Senator Harkin and Begich told me about their solution.


BEGICH: This is an unfair system right now. The way it works now, and you remember if you were a senior or disabled and didn`t get your COLA in `09 and `10, it`s because the COLA, the cost of living adjustment, is based on what we buy. What seniors buy is much different. So we modify that in our bill to make sure elder seniors are taken care of in the way that if there is an adjustment on their cost of living for prescription drugs, other things that they buy, their Social Security check goes up.

But ours adds up to 75 years in total length. That`s a pretty hefty change from let`s just dismantle it and hope and pray it works.


SCHULTZ: Republicans want to raise the retirement age as well.


HARKIN: I always get a kick out of people who wear shirts and ties and sit behind desk all their lives telling hardworking Americans, "Yes, you don`t have to retire at 65. You can go to 70."

How about the woman who stands on her feet behind a counter for 40 years?

Try that sometime. How about the guy stringing lines out there in the wintertime and stuff like that? And how about the construction person that`s out there on the job?

There`s a lot -- people that work in packing houses all day long. Think about doing that for 40 years, Ed. Now they want them to work even longer.

You know, look, not everyone has cushy jobs. Not everyone sits behind a desk with air conditioning and stuff.


SCHULTZ: Here`s the bottom line. Democrats are not going to budge on Social Security. It protects working people, disabled Americans, and protects the elderly who worked hard all their lives.

Social Security is a great investment. It has worked. It`s cheap, and it`s solvent. And it`s a key part of the American dream.


HARKIN: I challenge young people, go out on the market. See if you can buy an insurance program that will cover you like Social Security and see what you pay for it. You can`t.

First of all, you can`t find it. And if you can find it, it would cost you hundreds of times more than Social Security.

BEGICH: This is one area where we can renew faith in government that, look, this was promised generations ago, and we want to make sure it occurs for the next generations to come.

And when you look at it, it`s not hard to fix. That`s what`s so amazing.


SCHULTZ: Now, with the debt limit fight on the horizon, you can bet that the Republicans are going to be looking for revenue, and they are going to go right to Social Security.

The bottom line in all of this is, is that they`re going to lie to the American people. They`re going to tell you that it`s part of the problem, that it doesn`t work. That it can`t be fixed. There is no crisis right now.

And now, if you couple this with the Republican ideology on retirement in general, they have no problem going after people`s pensions to make city budget work. They have no problem making sure that they privatize absolutely everything.

If we had privatized Social Security right after Bush was re-elected, the first trip he made was to Fargo, North Dakota, in January of 2005 to start his privatization tour, which the American people rejected. What if we had gone along with that? What happened to the market in 2009? What would have happened to all of those Americans who were counting on Social Security and living on a fixed income?

This is something the younger generation, the 20 and 30-somethings in country have to pay attention to. There`s no reason to change it, except the Republicans want to privatize it and get their hands on the money.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top