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.
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As The Wonk Room highlighted, a host of Republicans — most prominently Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — have called for the creation of private Social Security accounts, akin to those proposed by President Bush in 2005. A Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis found that 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.”