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Ernst Agrees She’d Change Social Security but Doesn’t Give Specifics

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URBANDALE, Iowa -- Iowa Democrats have been dogging U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, a Red Oak Republican, with charges she is "extreme" for wanting to privatize part of people's social security benefits. Ernst returned to the campaign trail Monday to answer those charges.

Ernst had been away from campaigning for the past two weeks as part of a training exercise due to her role as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard.

Asked whether her positions are extreme, Ernst responded, "Oh, for heaven's sake. I am not extreme."

Ernst continued, "I will tell you that we have an issue with social security. And believe me, my parents are on social security right now. We have promises to our seniors. We have to make sure we keep those promises."

Ernst wants to allow people to invest part of their social security retirement savings in the stock market as a way to potentially earn more money and reduce the burden on the country's safety net system. However, she couldn't provide specifics on what percentage of those benefits she would allow people to invest or at what age she would guarantee the current system's benefits. Ernst said, "I would have to look further into that. But we know that we have to come up with those solutions. And these are some solutions that I would look for when I'm the next United States senator."

When asked what changes her opponent, Democrat Bruce Braley, a congressman from Brooklyn, would make to further guarantee social security's solvency, his campaign responded with an emailed statement,"Bruce Braley has stood against risky privatization schemes, opposed and stopped cuts to Iowa Social Security services and benefits, and supports raising the minimum wage, which would strengthen Social Security."

Some social security actuaries have estimated the system will no longer be able to pay out full benefits to recipients after 2033, unless congress makes changes.



  • William Denison

    The more I learn about Joni Ernst the more I’m convinced not only is she a wolf dressed as a sheep but just how cold and calculating she really is. She says her own folks are on SSI but is still willing to sell them out for a buck. That’s alright for her because she will be still able to take care of them after selling out the rest of Iowa if elected. But for the rest of us who will take care of our parents and or other family members who rely on SSI? Not Joni Ernst.

  • Jay

    I think we all can agree that there isn’t enough money going into Social Security to cover future benefits. Why are people vilified for proposing changes. As someone in their thirties, I’ll pay into the pool to take care of those on SSI now, but I understand I will most likely not receive the benefit when I’m older. Therefore, I need to plan accordingly. It is not the government’s responsibility to establish a retirement fund for my wife and I, it is mine.

  • Randy Graven

    joni wants to put in the hands of the venture capitalists like Mitt so they can sell it to China too

  • Randy S

    More disturbing is that Joni “has to look further into that….” When do we expect candidates to have a plan or even an idea of what they would like to see one in office. Waiting until election is a little to late if one doesn’t have an idea less a goal for anything.

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