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Santorum Launches Presidential Campaign By Reminding Everyone He Supports Bush-Style Social Security Privatization

By Pat Garofalo  

"Santorum Launches Presidential Campaign By Reminding Everyone He Supports Bush-Style Social Security Privatization"

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Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), who in 2006 was trounced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), is officially launching his presidential campaign today. Santorum has been making the rounds in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire in preparation for his bid, laying out a radical right-wing platform.

Santorum appeared this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, before making his official announcement speech. When asked what makes him a viable candidate, considering the way his last campaign ended, Santorum replied that it is his principled conservatism, including his stalwart support of President Bush’s push to privatize Social Security:

What people are looking for is someone who has stood by their principles in good times and in bad. In 2006, I think by everybody’s estimation, was a pretty bad time for a Republican, and particularly for a conservative in states like Pennsylvania. And I stood up and I didn’t back away. I didn’t back down on trying to reform the Social Security system. President Bush, you know, went out after the 2004 election, said ‘we’ve gotta do something because Social Security’s unsustainable.’ In an election year, I went out on the floor of the United States Senate with Jim DeMint and started arguing for reforming Social Security. Not even Paul Ryan in his budget now, in the face of trillions of dollars of deficits currently, had the temerity to step forward and say we have to do Social Security.

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When Santorum continually says “reform” Social Security, he means privatize. After all, in a 2005 op-ed, he wrote:

Personal retirement accounts provide individuals—not the government—with control and ownership. And they hold the promise of a greater return for future generations than what they are promised by today’s Social Security system. If we act now, we can establish personal retirement accounts and lessen the need for painful alternatives down the road.

“We have the opportunity to take a system that we know — we know — is going to need either benefit cuts or tax increases to remain solvent and at least give the opportunity to have little to no tax increases and little to no benefit cuts to solve the problem. That, to me, is the great hope that personal accounts, you know — come with personal accounts,” Santorum has also said. In addition, he has endorsed raising the retirement age to 70.

Santorum endorsed personal accounts in August 2010 during an appearance on Fox Business, even though the 2008 financial crisis showed what a folly those sort of accounts would be. But Santorum is not cowed, using his first interview on his official launch day to remind everyone that this is a policy that he wholeheartedly supports.

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