Toomey: ‘I’ve Never Said I Favor Privatizing Social Security’

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for Senate, Pat Toomey, touted his plan for privatizing Social Security, saying, “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.” A section of the chapter which Toomey referenced is called “Personal Accounts Lead to Personal Prosperity.” And when President Bush released his plan for privatizing Social Security, Toomey said, “I have been arguing for many years in favor of Social Security personal retirement accounts. “I’m thrilled that the President is taking up this critical issue,” Toomey added. But when directly asked at the Pennsylvania Press Club yesterday whether he still favors privatization, Toomey actually replied, “I’ve never said I favor privatizing Social Security”:

Q: Do you continue to favor privatizing Social Security?

A: I’ve never said I favor privatizing Social Security. It’s a very misleading — it’s an intentionally misleading term. And it is used by those who try to use it as a pejorative to scare people…[T]hat doesn’t mean that we must perpetuate exactly this structure for future workers and for very young workers. So I’ve advocated that we consider offering young workers an alternative — a reform within Social Security that would give them the opportunity to take a portion of their payroll tax and actually save that and own that and allow that to accumulate over the course of their working years and for that to provide a portion of their retirement benefit. I think that’d be a very constructive reform, and that’s what I’m going to advocate.

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As The Wonk Room explains, Toomey’s plan is most certainly privatization, and the majority of Americans oppose it.