Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND) defended his plan to privatize Social Security at a Senate debate yesterday, prompting loud and sustained boos from audience members.
During the North Dakota Broadcasters debate in Bismarck, Berg’s opponent in the Senate race, Heidi Heitkamp, attacked the congressman for supporting privatizing Social Security. “When you say ‘I’m going to fix it,’ you’re going to privatize it,” charged Heitkamp. Indeed, as a state representative in 2005, Berg introduced a resolution formally supporting then-President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.
When Berg said that this attack is “what’s wrong with Washington,” he was met with a loud chorus of boos from the audience:
HEITKAMP: When you say “I’m going to fix it,” you’re going to privatize it. That was George W. Bush’s plan. […] That’s the plan you supported, Bush’s privatization plan. You can’t run away from that record.
BERG: Just as a wrap up, this is what’s wrong with Washington. People blame, blame, blame and don’t come up with solutions… [Loud boos from the audience]… What we need are solutions to Social Security. There’s no question. But what we need is to get our economy going.
Approximately 18 percent of North Dakotans receive Social Security benefits. Their retirement incomes could be threatened if Berg and other conservatives succeed in privatizing Social Security.