The Washington Post

McDonnell agrees with Perry: Changes need to be made to Social Security

A day before Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears with him in Richmond, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said that he agreed with the presidential hopeful that the Social Security program needs to change.

“I think everyone who’s honest would agree we have got to make reforms in entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security,” McDonnell said Tuesday on his monthly radio show on WNIS in Nofolk. ‘There’s no way to be able to fully deal with the financial woes that affect our nation...there’s no way to be able to pass on a great country to the next generation if we don’t get entitlements under control.”

But McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, did not not say he agreed with Perry’s comments about Social Security being a “Ponzi scheme”and said he does not want to take Social Security away from those who currently receiving it.

“I do agree with most of the Republican candidates on the need to reform Social Security,’’ he said. “There’s a number of ways to do it...I think you have to look at everything from payments levels and entrepreneurial ways to give people the ability to control their own lives and outcomes and decisions on where to put money. There are a lot of good ideas on the table and they need to be explored.’’

McDonnell, who calls Perry a friend and applauded his record on job creation and economic growth, but was more measured in response to questions about Social Security than Perry has been.

“The question is is it government’s responsibility to invest all that money you pay in for you or should you have the manage our own money,’’ he said. “The whole idea is personal responsibility. Whose responsible to ultimately plan for your retirement? It’s yours. It’s your family.”

Later, asked to clarify McDonnell’s comments, his spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor was not advocating for a specific change for the federal program.

“Governor McDonnell strongly supports broad reforms to the system, including raising the eligibility age for future recipients, in order to make certain that future recipients can continue to count on this important federal retirement program,’’ Martin said.

Earlier in the day, former Democratic governor Tim Kaine, now a candidate for U.S. Senate, held a forum with seniors in Richmond to talk about the importance of Social Security.

“The privatization proposals, I don’t like those because first, the stock market is too crazy and people’s money would be wiped out,’’ Kaine said. “But also, I don’t like them because that is a different philosophy. It’s not ‘we have an obligation to take care of one another,’ it’s ‘everybody for themselves.’ Shared obligations, shared commitment, a sense of responsibility for the seniors who raised us, that’s a good thing in America.”


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