Exclusive: Pence calls for Social Security reform, private savings accounts

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In video footage obtained by a Democratic tracking group, American Bridge, and provided to Yahoo News, former Vice President Mike Pence, a possible top-tier contender for the Republican nomination in 2024, tells attendants at a closed-door event with the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors that he wants to “reform” Social Security and introduce private savings accounts for recipients. Critics have long derided the idea of overhauling social security, as an effort to “privatize” the popular government program that would probably result in cuts in the amount elderly and disabled Americans receive.

Video Transcript

MIKE PENCE: I really do believe at the end of the day, it's going to require leadership that can speak not just to the balance sheets of the American people but to the hearts of the American people because for all the talk on Capitol Hill about, we've got to cut domestic spending, we've got to cut discretionary spending, men and women, 70% of what we spend at the national level is on entitlements.

And the truth is we've got to have a conversation. I was a part of it when George W. Bush proposed Social Security reform in 2005. The time has come for us to have the kind of leadership that says to everyone that's got hair the same color as me, nothing's going to change for you, but to give younger Americans better choices that would also be better for the country. I think it's an idea whose time has come.

I think it's absolutely essential that we generate leadership in this country that'll be straight with the American people, that will take us off this trajectory of massive debt that we're were piling on the backs of those grandchildren, and says there's a way back. There are modest reforms in entitlements that can be done without disadvantaging anybody at the point of the need. And actually, I think the day could come when we can replace the New Deal with a better deal, literally give younger Americans the ability to take a portion of their Social Security withholdings and put that into a private savings account that the government would oversee.

I mean, a very simple fund that could generate 2% would give the average American twice what they're going to get back on their Social Security today. And it could save the government money doing it.

So there are ideas. Our foundation that I created two years ago, Advancing American Freedom is going to be bringing some of these ideas forward in the months ahead. But more than anything else, I think we've got to have-- we've got to speak plainly with one another.