Obama calls Social Security private accounts a 'nonstarter'

National Journal October 22, 2010

In an exclusive interview, President Obama called the Republican proposal to divert some Social Security funds into private investment accounts a "nonstarter."

Said the president in the interview with National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein and Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier:

"Given the way Social Security is structured, you'd actually have to borrow a trillion dollars to make up for the money that was siphoned into the private accounts, and this would weaken the solvency of Social Security. Moreover, it's hard to imagine that anybody ... would feel real confident [about] putting part of their Social Security into Wall Street accounts after they've been watching what happened to their 401(k)s.... So I think that that approach is a nonstarter."

In a National Journal column, Brownstein also argues that both the strong rhetoric and factual confusion around the Social Security program -- as embodied by Sharron Angle's call for Senator Harry Reid to "man up" about Social Security's financial challenges -- "illuminated some of the ideological hurdles that will face any effort to craft a long-term Social Security plan."

Brownstein's column will be published in the special relaunch edition of National Journal slated to debut Monday.