Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, shown here at the Virginia Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in February, is disputing Republicans' claims about Social Security. Kaine, a Democrat, is running for U.S. Senate in 2012.
Former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine is rejecting Republican claims about Social Security as false. Kaine says one proposed reform -- privatizing Social Security -- is an extreme Republican agenda to scare elderly residents into agreeing to dismantle the program.
"The way the program works is you contribute that 6.4 percent and the employer contributes the same out of the paycheck and that goes into the trust fund," Kaine explains. "And the trust fund is then used to pay the retirements of the retirees at the time, and then by doing that, there's an expectation that, 'Hey, when I'm a retiree, people will be doing the same for me.'"
Kaine says the benefits paid are based on one’s earnings in one's lifetime, but the system is devised to offset the variances in those earnings, and thus helps the poor. Conservatives argue that the program does not provide the financial yield that Individual Retirement Accounts would.
"This is a manufactured crisis," says Kaine. "Social Security is not in a crisis mode. It's been one of the best programs that was ever passed; it's lifted seniors out of poverty. Before Social Security passed, 50 percent of the Seniors were under the poverty line -- today only about 10 percent are because if social security, and we shouldn't be scaring folks about it."
Presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry says Social Security will run out and needs to be reformed. Perry is scheduled to visit Richmond Wednesday.