Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Conservative Opposition to Social Security Privatization Mounting

Conservatives in Congress are already peeling off from the president's still unspecified plan to kill Social Security. Their arguments? The system is solvent; benefit cuts will hurt seniors; and the country can not afford to add $2 trillion in debt given the current strain on the nation's finances.
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol stated that Republicans are "bewildered why this is such a White House priority." Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) stated, "Why stir up a political hornet's nest . . . when there is no urgency?" Conservatives are right to challenge the motivation behind the president's scheme to dismantle the nation's most successful social program.

  • Privatization will not make Social Security solvent. The big lie behind the president's non-plan is that privatization will somehow shore up the Social Security trust fund and ensure future benefits. But private accounts will only speed up the financial problems and the system while exponentially expanding budget deficits that will threaten the overall economy.
  • Privatization is merely an ideological scheme to secure more voters and political contributions from Wall Street. The president's top advisors, including Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, admit the privatization plan is a political ploy to turn FDR's most enduring legacy into a GOP voter and money machine. They have no intention of fixing Social Security for the long term. They are out to dismantle guaranteed benefits in retirement by luring younger voters into the false notion that the stock market will answer all their retirement needs. Wall St. investment bankers—already huge donors to the president—are estimated to reap hundreds of billions of dollars in profits from the scheme.
  • Americans should support efforts to increase retirement savings—outside the guaranteed Social Security system. Social Security has always been a retirement supplement. Seniors also need private savings and pensions and the government should encourage Americans to save outside of the Social Security system. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Gene Sperling has put forth a solid alternative plan of universal 401(k)'s that would help lower income citizens save additional funds, in addition to Social Security, to help secure a full retirement.

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