Earlier this week, a host of Republican pundits tried to claim that no members of their party are proposing to privatize Social Security. “There’s no Republican, basically, standing up and saying that, and we haven’t for a very long time,” said Republican talking head Ed Rollins. Of course, plenty of Republicans have proposed just that, most notably Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose Roadmap for America includes the creation of personal Social Security accounts. And then there’s Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee for the Senate in Pennsylvania, who during an interview with Real Clear Politics touted his plan for Social Security, conveniently leaving out that he would privatize the system:
RCP: Your campaign website, under “spending,” complains of “wasteful pork projects, multiple bailouts, the so-called stimulus, and new government programs.” But what about entitlements?
Toomey: You know, I’ve always said that we need to reform our big entitlement programs. These programs are not sustainable in their current form and so we’re going to have to put them on a secure footing. That’s what we have to do.
RCP: OK, how do we do that? Do we raise the retirement age? Do we cut benefits?
Toomey: I’ve got a whole chapter in a book that I wrote that deals with how I think, one of the ways I think we could reform Social Security to make it viable. So I have provided great detail on that whole idea. That would be a very important start.
In Toomey’s book, the first subhead under the “Transforming Social Security” chapter is “Personal Accounts Lead to Personal Prosperity.” And that’s really no surprise, considering Toomey said he was “thrilled” with President George W. Bush’s privatization scheme. The Wonk Room explains that Toomey may be avoiding mention of privatization, as such a step is both bad policy and bad politics.