WASHINGTON - At a town hall meeting in Denver, Colo., on Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."
Asked about the comment the next day (Tuesday), the Republican presidential candidate told CNN: "On the privatization of (old age and retirement) accounts ... I would like to respond that I want young workers to be able to, if they choose, to take part of their own money, which is their taxes, and put it into an account with their name on it. Now that's a voluntary thing; it's for young people; it would not affect any present day retirees or the system as necessary.
"So let's describe it for what it is. They pay taxes and right now their taxes are going to pay the retirement of present-day retirees. That's why it's broken; that's why we can fix it."
Jared Bernstein, an analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, said he is shocked by McCain's statement.
"That is truly an amazing quote," Bernstein said. "It's like saying, 'I just found out that taxes come from people. ... That's a disgrace.' It betrays a really quite scary lack of knowledge about basic government. I know he's not into this kind of stuff, but it would be hard not to know about the intergenerational financing of Social Security."
--- Douglas Turner
taggedRace for the White House