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Kendrick Meek’s five-minute Social Security answer: Call in the experts

by George Bennett | May 15th, 2010

Meek at Friday's editorial board meeting

Meek at Friday's editorial board meeting

Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek opposes raising the age for eligibility for Social Security benefits, an idea that Republican candidate Marco Rubio has said he’s willing to consider to preserve the long-term solvency of the retirement program.

When The Palm Beach Post editorial board challenged Meek Friday to offer an alternative idea, Meek ended up saying — after more than five minutes — that he’ll work “to make sure that we get the experts around the table to make it happen…to keep Social Security afloat. Every approach towards solvency of Social Security has been a working-group effort in getting the experts around the table.”

Click here to watch the video of Meek’s editorial board appearance. The Social Security discussion runs from approximately the 25:43 mark to the 31:34 mark.

After his visit to The Post, Meek attended a fund-raiser west of Delray Beach.


15 Responses to “Kendrick Meek’s five-minute Social Security answer: Call in the experts”

  1. Problem Solved! Says:

    The reason we have a problem funding Social Security, and Health Care, and the Class Size Amendment, and so many other popular government programs, is because the Republicans who have been in charge since Reagan have refused to collect the taxes necessary to fund them. I think the answer is obvious – we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We need to take back all the tax breaks, corporate welfare, and property tax cuts that have been given to the rich and to Big Business, and which have failed to help the average citizen one bit. Are you better off now than you were before Reagan-Bush and their ” transfer the wealth upward” economics? Time to put a “stop payment” on Reaganomics and take the money back. Tax the rich, and invest in Social Security like we should have been all along.

  2. fred Says:

    A person born in 1930 could expect to live to the age of 59.7 and retire at 65.

    By 2005 the life expectancy had increased to 77.8, but the retirement age has only increased to 67.

    This model is clearly not sustainable, but because of political inaction over the years, it is going to be very difficult to take the steps necessary to bring it more into line.

  3. skeptic Says:

    Now you know why Crist became an independent, we would have had a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

  4. RiverCountryDems Says:

    Kendrick Meed did the right thing by taking five minutes to answer the very complex Social Security question. In fact, nobody has been able to reasonably answer that question for many years. His answer was not a 10-second off-the-cuff answer, but rather a thoughtful and smart one: “Every approach towards solvency of Social Security has been a working-group effort in getting the experts around the table.” Go Meek! The only thoughtful candidate to vote for.

  5. Mike Says:

    Social Security funding can be fixed more easily by removing the cap on payments or setting that cap at twice what it is today.
    Those who would prefer a market based solution have yet to explain how market fluctuations of up to 40% can be managed in any manner and I doubt they really have thought about what would happen when in the space of a month every Social Security aged individual lost half their income at once. Think Publix would survive? FPL? Think about it.
    People must not forget that the true and valid reason Private Industry left the defined benefit paradigm and replaced it with the defined contribution paradigm is that they (being all the experts Wall Street has) couldn’t make it work and still make money doing it themselves.
    But, the defined contribution method leaves open one sure thing and one unsure thing. For sure, a tremendous amount of individual plans multiples the amount of trades and commissions for Wall Street. The unsure thing is everyone’s retirement security.
    We don’t have to remember any further back than a couple of weeks when we witnessed a 1000 point drop (8%) in the Dow in an hour and yet, they still say they don’t know why.
    For all those who hate Social Security, have a moment of honesty between your ears. Where would this nation be without it?

  6. Mike2 Says:

    Amazing! He just can’t say those magic words – raise taxes. By not being honest, like most politicians, he inadvertantly shows why this program has become such a mess. And when all else fails, establish a commission to take the heat off. When it still does not work – blame the commission, but re-elect me cause it wasn’t my fault.

  7. RiverCountryDems Says:

    “Raise taxes”? Kiss of death.

  8. Don't Drink the Cool Aid Says:

    Do we really need another rubber stamp for Obama? NOT.

  9. Cowdog Says:

    This joker is as dumb as his mother.

    Apples do not fall far from the tree…

  10. Cowdog Says:


    Your post was nicely written but was certainly intellectually disengenuous.

    Your point may have had some modicum of validity if there were some connection between what was paid into Social Security and what present retirees receive, or for how long. The program was never intended to be a be-all and end-all on which people could retire. It was and is predicated on a political (not economic) ponzi-like principal such that the people taking from the system until fairly recently got vastly more than they contributed-or deserved, and younger people and employers had wealth confiscated from them to support the early takers.

    The system needs, and has for a very long time needed a choice option. If one wishes to participate in the program, that’s fine, but benefits should be directly tied to that which was paid in. If those benefits are insufficient to support one’s needs, I guess the taker will have made a bad choice, or will have to supplement it somehow. Tough result? Perhaps. Fair result? Without question. Those who do not wish to participate in it should be free to do with their money what they wish–even if that means, at their own risk–foolish things. If the latter, they are themselves responsible for the results and cannot expect “society” to bail them out.

    Nobody has a right or a valid claim to the income, property or wealth of another unless the latter grants it. Any other view, whether called “taxes”, “social welfare”, or by any other seemingly palatable name, is nothing more than theft.

  11. Lisa Says:

    Mr. George Bennett, Get the story straight! Rubio said he would consider raising the retirement age only to people under 55 years because if not… Social Security will go bankrupt. Why cant you report the whole truth and not be so deceiving all the time??!!

  12. mike Says:


    Thank you for your reply.

    I do believe your view of personal property regarding taxation and the need for individual responsibility.

    What you seem to ignore or fail to acknowledge is Elections are the mechanism that Americans use to make those personal decisions.

    Somehow you are convinced that a social safety net only works in one direction giving no benefit to society except for the recipients.

    Americans are born helpless like every other human.

    The view you hold of individualism is not valid nor honest as no human reaches adulthood by themselves without assistance from multiple sources.

    If you had been able to refrain from libertarianistic platitudes you could have addressed the issues and explained
    the process that would be used to deal with the living Americans who have failed at being financially self sufficient as they enter old age.

    Do you support death panels?

    Do you have another option?

    The USA votes, and it is that vote, that accomplishes what you fail to acknowledge, that vote is your input measured against the rest of voting Americans that forms the substance of your complaint about not “granting” permission for taxation or the creation of entities like Social Security.

    That’s how America works ,Cowdog, like they said about 40 years ago “America, Love it or Leave it”.

    I’m staying and voting and I expect you will too.

  13. Cowdog Says:

    Thank you, Mike, for another thoughtful post (really).

    Of course I am staying and voting. Indeed, this kind of discourse is what the American way is all about, for what wars have been fought for hundreds of years, and is, largely, what differentiates this country from the rest of the world.

    Reasonable people can disagree about ideology. But this is more than ideology. It is about an epistemology. On the one side are those who believe that one is responsible to and for him/herself, without a claim to the productivity of others. It is probably likewise fair to say that that group also sees the legitimate role of government as being to provide for a common defense (because no single person or small group of people)can do so. “Common” does not mean “collective” in the economic sense. It means merely that individuals have a right to protect their lives and property from outsiders, and when there is a threat, government has a valid and useful role in thwarting it–and the individuals always have a right to protect themselves (hence, the Constitutional/natural right to bear arms). Government also has a role in operating the court system to serve as a neutral arbiter of private disputes. As to “public” disputes (such as the constitutionality of statutes), there must be caution in appointing/electing jurists who do not themselves, because of upbringing, privilege, lack-of privilege, unearned wealth, or the like have a clouded view of rights and responsibilities protected by the Constitution. Therefore, a “tabula rasa” is much preferable to a “wise Latina”.

    On the other side are those who seem to believe that they have a right to the productivity and property of others, even if not voluntarily given. It is not so much the property that it is the concern, as it is the sense of “right”. A right suggests the existence of a correlative responsibility–which, taken one small step further, can and which has in many cases, been given the force of law. It is that to which I object.

    You are certainly correct that elections are the way to accomplish public goals. If one of those goals is a “safety-net”, so be it. But that said, what may have been viewed as a mechanism to achieve a limited goal in the 1930′s has been so contorted into a penumbra of “rights”, that it is both unrecognizable and fiscally unsustainable and irresponsible. And that kind of contortion is precisely the drug that has become an addiction. The drug blinds them to the reality that they are ultimately responsible for their own life and circumstances (or changing them if not originally of their own making), and that “poor little me” does not always make it to prime time.

    Do I support “death panels”? Clearly, no. You will recall that the concept, valid or not, first came up in the early days of Pres. Obama’s efforts to nationalize health care. Without getting into the specifics of the various plans, the gist of the “death panel” argument was that government bureaucrats would be making healthcare decisions. Although the efforts at nationalization are frightening in general (both to quality of care and to liberty), I hasten to point out that the objection to “death panels” had as much to do with government employees making the calls as to the grim nature of the concept itself.

    Again, your comments evidenced thought and reasonableness. Although we disagree on salient points, it is up to us to educate other voters on the issues and to encourage them to vote based upon reason, intellect, and historical outcomes, not emotion.

  14. mike Says:

    Cowdog we disagree about the definition of the word “commom” as it relates to your entire post.

    The flow from your definitional use of common is not accepted by me as operative.

    Common and collective cannot be distinguished although you made a worthy attempt to delineate.

    We go to a common Polling place where we individually mark a common ballot that the totaled with the other voters ballots decides our collective representative government for the next specified duration.

    The definition of “common” will be argued until we are long gone.

    Once you crossed into the assumptive position that your definition of common was the operative use, the proverbial Rubicon was crossed and while your arguments are logical they are merely a position you hold.

    The Death Panel question was rhetorical asking for you to answer to the observation you made about poor financial decisions. It is simply a societal question, “what will you do with a class of citizens who will certainly be indigent as a result of poor financial decisions”.

    I neither saw a means to address this future reality,

    To address the Ponzi reference, the risk business operates on this model daily through reinsurance.

    You are aware that past and current Legislative leaders and Administrations have been transferring FICA wealth to the budget ever since they raised the rates in 1983 to take care of the anticipated baby boomers needs.

    And, the baby boomers, like a calf ingested by a snake, is a big bulge to be processed , but, the boomers too, will pass and the Social Security crisis will be gone, along with you and me.

    As to dealing with bureaucrats I prefer to deal with public rather than private healthcare bureaucrats because as an American I can vote for a change in their masters whereas in the private sector I have no sense of control and unless either of us own controlling interest, business politics don’t play out very well for the small guy.

    You may hold dreams or theories that private healthcare is paved with customer options but I don’t and an honest assessment would reveal that fact to you. Not many comparative menus of prices to review and many times the customer isn’t feeling well enough to take their time to inform themselves.

    As for a Free Market in healthcare it doesn’t exist in the USA and anyone with a macro economic class under their belt would see that the USA, by not having a common method to bargain with international medical device suppliers and pharmaceutical companies we(USA) are the lone profit margin center, therefore we effectively subsidize the medical care for all others who practice price controls by our fealty to the free market, even when it is imaginary.

    I trust you can see that we both come to our positions from a lifetime of observation and experience.

    The model you choose to ascribe to has as many fatal flaws as the one you eschew and, in comprehension of those realities, politics is what holds the nation together.

    We are all Americans and we are not in this life individually, no matter how hard we try to make it so.

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