ThinkProgress filed this report from a town hall in Carroll, Iowa.
During a town hall in Carroll, Iowa last night, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) fielded question after question from constituents who were furious at Republican efforts to weaken Social Security. Midway through the event, one Iowan stood and told Grassley his personal story about retiring in 2008 just as the stock market cratered, decimating his IRA and 401k retirement plans.
He implored Grassley not to privatize Social Security, asking if he should expect “to live on whatever the stock market leaves me?” After the crowd gave the constituent loud applause, Grassley responded that he only knows of “one member out of 535 who wants to privatize Social Security.”
CONSTITUENT: The idea of privatizing Social Security. I have a story about that, very brief. When I retired in 2008, I took my company pension and put it into an IRA and 401k plan and that was in April, I rolled it over. By October, that entire pension was gone because the stock market went south on me. And if that had been my Social Security, sir, I wouldn’t have that or not as much of it. I would be expected to live on whatever the stock market leaves me? I don’t think that’s quite right when someone like Warren Buffett could lose half of his income and still be better off than I am with my full income. I want to know what you’re going to do to strengthen Social Security to make it so that we don’t ever have to worry about whether or not the stock market is going to go south, the banks get bailed out, and I get nothing. [Applause]
GRASSLEY: First of all, I’ve already answered the first question. Everything’s on the table. Secondly, I only know of one member of Congress out of 535, and I won’t name him, but I only know of one member out of 535 who wants to privatize Social Security.
A quick Google search turns up one prominent Republican who favors privatizing Social Security: Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. In fact, as Senate Finance Committee chairman in 2005, Grassley led his party’s efforts to privatize the popular retirement program.
A ThinkProgress investigation also turned up 118 other Republicans currently in the House and Senate who are on record supporting Social Security privatization, including fellow Iowans Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Tom Latham (R-IA). Either Grassley and his fellow Republicans have had a major change of heart on the merits of privatizing Social Security since their ill-fated attempt to do so in 2005, or he is telling his constituents an outright falsehood.
With assertions like these, it’s little surprise that Grassley’s constituents are showing up in droves to his town halls to tell the long-time senator, “We want to have Social Security!”