In his most recent weekly radio address, President Obama noted that “some Republican leaders in Congress don’t seem to have learned any lessons from the past few years. They’re pushing to make privatizing Social Security a key part of their legislative agenda if they win a majority in Congress this fall.” The Democratic National Committee also released an ad pointing to the GOP’s desire to privatize the 75 year old program.
A few Republican talking heads have taken exception to this portrayal, and have claimed that no Republicans actually want to privatize the system in the way Democrats describe:
DANA PERINO: I don’t know of a single Republican who actually wants to do what the Democratic ad just said. It’s sad for the Democrats…they still can only run on fear of something that somebody is not suggesting.
ED ROLLINS: The President’s out there saying ‘Republicans are going to take away your Social Security.’ There’s no Republican, basically, standing up and saying that, and we haven’t for a very long time.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: How stupid does he think Americans are? Not only will Barack Obama not allow Social Security to be privatized, Republicans will not allow Social Security to be privatized.
Watch a compilation:
Contrary to their assertions, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) much ballyhooed Roadmap for America’s Future calls for the creation of private Social Security accounts, akin to those proposed by President Bush in 2005. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has explicitly advocated “reviving President George W. Bush’s failed plan to partially privatize Social Security.”
Reps. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have all touted personal accounts, while Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has expressed a desire to “wean everybody off” Social Security entirely. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) even questioned the constitutionality of the program.
Kentucky’s Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, meanwhile, has said “let young working people opt out, the sooner the better, let ‘em opt out and get a better investment.” Indiana’s GOP Senate candidate Dan Coats has endorsed a Social Security plan “along the lines of what Paul Ryan has proposed.”
As a Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis found, under a Bush-style privatization plan, an October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in the market plunge of that year, and if the U.S. stock market had behaved like the Japanese market during the duration of that retiree’s work life, “a private account would have experienced sharp negative returns, losing $70,000 — an effective -3.3 percent net annual rate of return.” But despite the market turmoil that America just went through, Republicans are most certainly pushing a privatization agenda, under the guise of a manufactured Social Security “crisis.”