Dennis Kucinich is a Democratic congressman and presidential also-ran. Kucinich graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 with a BA and an MA in speech and communication. He began his political career early: he was elected to the Cleveland City Council at 23, and became mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. After spending much of the 1980's out of government, Kucinich was elected to Congress in 1996; he is currently in his sixth term. In Congress, Kucinich has a staunchly liberal and anti-war record. He is a strong advocate of national health care, clean energy, and an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Kucinich even brought articles of impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney, though the bill was killed before it could reach the House floor. Kucinich first ran for president in 2004; he ran again in 2008. In 2003, he received the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed by the Quaker organization Promoting Enduring Peace. Kucinich is the author of a memoir, The Courage to Survive, as well as a collection of speeches, A Prayer for America.
Question: How do we prevent a Social Security meltdown?
Dennis Kucinich: Social Security is rock solid through the year 2040 without any changes whatsoever. Now it’s true the Bush administration has taken massive amounts of money – like IOUs – out of the system; but they have a legal obligation to repair it. This isn’t . . . repay it. This isn’t something that, you know, is like an optional thing. They go to jail if . . . if they don’t keep their responsibility there to put that money back in the system and keep refreshing the system so that people get paid. No one’s missed a payment. I want everyone who is watching this to be aware: Social Security has never missed a payment, and there’s no reason for it to. Now one of the things if Social Security starts to run, you know, short of money in real time . . . I’m not talking about these projections because Social Security’s condition in the future is really a result of projections. Now if the projections show that we’re starting to run short of money and the revenue begins to drop, then you raise the cap on the money that is taxable for Social Security so that you can meet the . . . the demands of and requirements of the system. So you know if you keep going low with your projections, you raise the cap. But what no one’s talking about . . . and because I’m the only one running who’s talking about a full employment economy . . . if you prime the pump of the economy, if you get people working, there’s more money in . . . coming in, so the fund is supported.
Recorded on: 10/19/07