While running for the Republican party’s nomination in 2000, John McCain supported a partial privatization of Social Security that would have encouraged workers to shift their Social Security contributions into the stock market.
Since then, the stock market has plunged, bubbled, and plunged again, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 8% lower yesterday than it was on January 11th, 2000 when John McCain unveiled “a program to shore up Social Security through the establishment of individual investment accounts.”
This means the stocks in a private account would have seen their value drop over almost a decade, with their investment further eroded by the rate of inflation (a dollar invested in 1999 is worth only 78 cents in 2008 dollars, even if the stock market had stayed exactly flat).
Despite these wild fluctuations, John McCain has consistently supported privatizing social security, supporting the Bush plan in 2005, and telling the Wall Street Journal as recently as March of this year that he “backs a system of private retirement accounts that President Bush pushed unsuccessfully.”
On September 6th, McCain finally clarified his campaign’s stance on private accounts, confirming to the AARP Life@50 conference that he was, in fact, in favor of them. Since September 6th, the Dow has plunged over 5%.