Nearly 90 minutes into the third and final presidentialcandidate debate, candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump wereasked how their prospective administrations would address Social Security reform.

|

Related: 6 myths about Social Security that votersand presidential candidates should know

|

The issue of Social Security’s projected insolvency wasconspicuously absent from the first two debates. On Wednesday nightin Las Vegas, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked each candidate if theywould be willing to compromise and strike a “grand bargain onentitlements” that includes tax increases and benefit cuts. It wasthe last question of the debate season.

|

Mr. Trump, who answered first, said hisadministration would grow the economy through aggressive tax cuts.“It’s going to grow at a record at a record rate of growth,” hesaid.

|

Wallace immediately countered, saying, “That’s not going to helpentitlements.”

|

“No, it’s going to totally help,” said Mr. Trump, who thenpivoted to the Affordable Care Act, which he said needs to berepealed and replaced.

|

Sec. Clinton promised to replenish Social Security’s trust fundby raising taxes on the wealthy.

|

“I will not cut benefits,” said Sec. Clinton. “I want to enhancebenefits for low-income workers and for women who have beendisadvantaged by the current Social Security system.”

|

In effect, neither candidate was willing to agree to a grandbargain.

|

Sec. Clinton said the payroll cap on Social Security taxes wouldgo up under administration.

|

“My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as willDonald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” shesaid.

|

In one of the acrimonious debate’s more memorable moments, Mr.Trump then interrupted. “Such a nasty woman,” he said.

|

Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy directorfor the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisanthink tank that advocates for sustainable fiscal policy, said hewas pleased with Wallace’s question for the candidates, but not somuch with their responses.

|

“We’ve heard no plan from Donald Trump on Social Security,except for his fantasy levels of economic growth,” said Goldwein inan interview.

|

“And from Mrs. Clinton we’ve only heard vague ideas about taxadjustments and pledges to extend the program,” he said. Wallacecited CRFB’s research showing that neither candidate has a seriousplan to address Social Security’s solvency.

|

“It is unrealistic to think we can solve Social Securityentirely with tax increases,” added Goldwein.

|

“The reality is we are going to need a mixture of new taxes andmeasures to slow the growth of benefits,” he said.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.