In the past two weeks, Republican lawmakers have revived the prospect of privatizing Social Security and Medicare, starting with a push from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose budget proposal radically slashes and privatizes the entitlement programs. On Tuesday night, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) went on Fox Business to lend his voice to the campaign. Kingston said to “cut…programs that are expanding the entitlement mentality,” we should privatize both Social Security and Medicare:
KINGSTON: We need to go in, and we need to cut duplicate programs, programs that are inefficient, programs that are expanding the entitlement mentality. I think we should go back to Social Security, take it off budget, dedicate the funds, put personal accounts on it. On Medicare, I think something like vouchers, where people actually have an incentive to save money.
If President Bush had been successful privatizing Social Security, an October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in the market plunge. Indeed, as a Center for American Progress report has found, 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.” And a Wonk Room analysis of the recent Medicare privatization plan by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) found that such an arrangement would shift the cost of insurance from the government to the individual, particularly lower-income beneficiaries. Nevertheless, Republicans, along with their Wall Street allies, are pressing forward to fight again to dismember popular, effective entitlement programs.