President Obama is firmly against cutbacks on current or future social security benefits, although there were reports that his administration agreed to put Social Security on the table during the contentious debt ceiling negotiations with Republican legislators in 2011. Obama has also indicated that he is not in favor of privatizing the agency.
“To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”
January 25, 2011: State of the Union address
President Obama believes that all seniors should be able to retire with dignity, not just a privileged few. And, he believes that all Americans deserve to know that, if they become disabled or if they lose the breadwinner in the family, Social Security will be there to protect them. Today, nearly 54 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, including 38 million retirees and their family members, 10 million Americans with disabilities and their dependents, and 6 million survivors of deceased workers.Whitehouse.gov
For many of these Americans, Social Security is a key source of income. In fact, for more than half of Social Security recipients aged 65 or over, the program provides over 50 percent of their family income and, because of its lifetime income protection and survivors benefits, Social Security is particularly important for elderly women. . Moreover, the program is not just for seniors. Because of features like survivors benefits, Social Security is one of the largest antipoverty programs for children, and disability benefits also help younger workers and their families and are particularly important to minority communities.
The President is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security—and securing the basic compact that hard work should be rewarded with dignity at retirement or in case of disability or early death. That’s why he has called on Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to preserve Social Security as a reliable source of income for American seniors and as a program that provides robust benefits to survivors and workers who develop disabilities. He believes that no current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced and he will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations. The President also stands firmly opposed to privatization and rejects the notion that the future of hard-working Americans should be left to the fluctuations of financial markets.
Seniors & Social Security, Guiding Principles: Protecting & Strengthening Social Security
Seventy-five years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, laying a cornerstone in the foundation of America’s middle class, and assuring generations of America’s seniors that after a lifetime of hard work, they’d have a chance to retire with dignity. We have an obligation to keep that promise; to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities, and all Americans – today, tomorrow, and forever. August 14, 2010, White House: President Obama’s Weekly Address, Honoring Social Security, Not Privatizing It
Now, we’ve been talking for a long time about how to do that; about how to make sure Social Security is healthy enough to cover the higher costs that are kicking in now that baby boomers are retiring. And I’m committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security. I’m also encouraged by the reports of serious bipartisan work being done on this and other issues in the fiscal commission that I set up several months ago.
One thing we can’t afford to do though is privatize Social Security – an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.
A few years ago, we had a debate about privatizing Social Security. And I’d have thought that debate would’ve been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we’ve just experienced. I’d have thought, after being reminded how quickly the stock market can tumble, after seeing the wealth people worked a lifetime to earn wiped out in a matter of days, that no one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street; that everyone would understand why we need to be prudent about investing the retirement money of tens of millions of Americans.