Ted Cruz: Bush had it right, let’s privatize Social Security


Look out, future seniors. Ted Cruz is out to take away your Social Security. Not current seniors, mind you, because he wants their votes. But the rest of us are on the chopping block. That’s what he told CNBC’s John Harwood in an interview this week. First and foremost, he’s really proud of his former boss, President George W. Bush for wanting to privatize Social Security. Now, I also think you’ve got to give George W. Bush some real credit—he showed remarkable courage in the beginning of the second term taking on Social Security reform and personal accounts. It was the right thing to do. Sadly, congressional Republicans ran to the hills and abandoned him. What’s his plan for Social Security? What I would like to see is several things. Number one, for those on Social Security or near retirement, no changes whatsoever. Honor the commitments. But for younger people, people in my generation, we should gradually increase the retirement age. Secondly we need to change the rate of growth of Social Security benefits so they match inflation rather than exceed inflation. Those two reforms on their own take Social Security from bankruptcy into solvency. But the third piece, and it’s what Bush fought for, is personal accounts. I think it is transformative to allow younger workers to put a portion of their taxes into a personal account that they own, that they control, and that they can pass onto their heirs. That should be enough to make any Democrat who is still thinking maybe a chained CPI reconsider. But beyond that, Cruz is going all in on Social Security. Just to make sure that it’s destroyed completely, he wants to pile privatization on top of benefit cuts. Because that’s his vision for “preserving” the commitments government has made. Needless to say, Cruz doesn’t have to worry about his own retirement security, so he doesn’t have any skin in this game.


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