The Spectacle Blog

Rubio Campaign Says His Position on Social Security Has Been “Mischaracterized”

By on 9.28.10 | 1:20PM

The Marco Rubio campaign says that I "mischaracterized" the Florida Senate candidate's position on Social Security in my earlier post.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos emails:

We just read your column on Marco Rubio and Social Security and believe he has been mischaracterized.

After studying the issue and CBO reports on the fiscal impact of personal accounts, Marco concluded their time had come and gone because they actually take money out of the system and make it harder to make Social Security solvent. Though this somehow seems new to news outlets, the reality is that he has been saying this since March - to the Wall Street Journal and on the FOX News Sunday debate - during the height of the Republican primary.

However, the column is unfair to conclude that Rubio has "cowered" on Social Security and that "Rubio's fear of talking about serious Social Security reform is indicative of a larger problem..."

We beg to differ. With all due respect, I don't know if there's another U.S. Senate candidate in the country who has been as honest about the challenges facing Social Security as Marco. Throughout this entire campaign, he has been very clear that younger workers (probably under 55 years old) won't have Social Security if we don't consider reforms like the retirement age or indexing. Doing nothing is unacceptable because it will bankrupt the program and America.

In a state like Florida where senior scare tactics on this issue are second nature to Democrats (and now say-and-do-anything-to-win politicians like Charlie Crist), this is not easy.

This is what makes your column's characterization of Marco all the more upsetting.

What's upsetting is for a conservative candidate to abandon the idea of personal accounts by saying their time has "come and gone." Personal accounts are also about freedom -- about moving from a society where young workers are forced to participate in a pyramid scheme (standing at the bottom), to one in which there's an element of individual choice over how to allocate one's own money toward their own retirement. And as it turns out, Paul Ryan has presented a proposal for Social Security reform that includes personal accounts, and the CBO determined that his plan makes the program solvent. So I disagree with the Rubio campaign's position that there has to be a trade-off between personal accounts and solvency.

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