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Factcheck.org takes issue, specifically, with Campaign for America’s Future’s statement in newspaper ads that the securities industry will benefit “to the tune of $279 billion” from Social Security privatization. But Campaign for America’s Future was quoting a figure from a study by the Securities Industry Association (SIA), which stands to benefit from privatization, has campaigned for it in the past and lists an agenda almost identical to President Bush’s.

Factcheck says CAF “should have used” a figure closer to SIA’s low estimate of $39 billion. But that claim is based on Factcheck’s erroneous assumption that administrative costs for President Bush’s plan would be the same as those for federal Thrift Savings Plans.

In fact, CAF was already giving President Bush the benefit of the doubt. A truly independent study published in September by University of Chicago business school professor Austan Goolsbee predicted Wall Street management companies would receive $940 billion or more over 75 years from the President’s plan. Even if that number is inflated, Factcheck admits private accounts could lead to “the possibility of huge profits being on the table” for Wall Street, should Congress allow owners of private accounts to choose from a wide variety of managed funds. And that option, like so many other, is still “on the table.”

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