Obama Rebuts The GOP’s Social Security Privatization Fantasies

Aug 14 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party, U.S. Senate

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Republicans Want to Gamble with Your Social Security

It’s the 75 anniversary of Social Security and so, naturally, Republican leaders and candidates want to take it away from us, being the modern day anarchists they are. Any government program that does not benefit the corporations needs to go.

President Obama has sworn to honor and protect your Social Security benefits from the Republicans, whose candidates have made privatization a key part of their agenda.

“On the 75th anniversary of Social Security, President Obama promises to protect it from Republican leaders in Congress who have made privatization a key part of their agenda. He makes clear that, especially in light of the financial crisis, gambling Social Security on Wall Street makes no sense.”

Remember when McCain was saying (right before the Bush Stock Market Crash of 2008) that we would all be better off if Social Security were privatized? Why, we’d all be rich like him if we had invested in the free market! After we all lost our shirts in the crash, we didn’t hear crickets from him on that subject, but then, I imagine when your wife owns a beer company, you don’t feel the pain of a recession like the rest of us do. Beer being something that is consumed MORE and not LESS during a recession.

In these unstable times, why would the Republicans be pushing to end Social Security? Perhaps this is a nod to their mantle as fiscal conservatives, but we all know that mantle is thread-bear and as the architect of Reaganomics said, “perverted.” We simply can’t trust Republicans to govern with logic let alone an eye to fiscal responsibility. The Democrats may win this category simply by default, and that’s a real shame as it benefits our country to have an honest debate about economic policy. We can see the results of having laid all debate to the wayside and it’s not pretty.

This Republican push for privatization is nothing new. This was former President Hoover’s response to the Great Depression. President Hoover had experience doing large-scale international relief efforts, so he knew this kind of volunteerism worked. His main response to the Depression, therefore, was to push volunteerism (the same argument we hear today from Republicans).

However, America was able to help Europe rebuild after WWI because there wasn’t a Great Depression, during which our national wealth was cut in third.

Because of this, the point of Social Security is to be a type of social insurance, as in; the individuals covered are insured against a risk. Social Security is also a part of a larger social value system wherein we have chosen to offset the financial risk of a certain group of people due to inability to work.

How would privatizing Social Security on Wall Street insure anyone against a risk? Investing in Wall Street is inherently a risk.

Franklin D. Roosevelt in a Message of the President to Congress, June 8, 1934, during which he announced his intention to provide a program for Social Security, said:

“Security was attained in the earlier days through the interdependence of members of families upon each other and of the families within a small community upon each other. The complexities of great communities and of organized industry make less real these simple means of security. Therefore, we are compelled to employ the active interest of the Nation as a whole through government in order to encourage a greater security for each individual who composes it . . . This seeking for a greater measure of welfare and happiness does not indicate a change in values. It is rather a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion…”

Here’s President Obama vowing to protect Social Security from privatization:

The President’s opener:

President Obama: “Seventy-five years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, laying a cornerstone in the foundation of America’s middle class, and assuring generations of America’s seniors that after a lifetime of hard work, they’d have a chance to retire with dignity. We have an obligation to keep that promise; to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities, and all Americans – today, tomorrow, and forever.

Now, we’ve been talking for a long time about how to do that; about how to make sure Social Security is healthy enough to cover the higher costs that are kicking in now that baby boomers are retiring. And I’m committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security. I’m also encouraged by the reports of serious bipartisan work being done on this and other issues in the fiscal commission that I set up several months ago.

One thing we can’t afford to do though is privatize Social Security – an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.

A few years ago, we had a debate about privatizing Social Security. And I’d have thought that debate would’ve been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we’ve just experienced. I’d have thought, after being reminded how quickly the stock market can tumble, after seeing the wealth people worked a lifetime to earn wiped out in a matter of days, that no one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street; that everyone would understand why we need to be prudent about investing the retirement money of tens of millions of Americans.”

The White House summed up the President’s commitment as:

“President Obama believes that all seniors should be able to retire with dignity, not just a privileged few. He is committed to protecting Social Security and working in a bipartisan manner to preserve its original purpose as a reliable source of income for American seniors. The President stands firmly opposed to privatization and rejects the notion that the future of hard-working Americans should be left to the fluctuations of financial markets.”

While some Republican congressional leaders are not signing up for privatization (none have come out against it), Republican candidates campaigning around the country are pushing for privatization. So, either there’s a huge disconnect between what they say and what they’re going to do, or if these folks get into office, they will try to continue their movement (as of 2004) to privatize social security.

Republicans are nominating a whole flock of candidates who want to privatize Social Security, so it looks like there’s a movement afoot no matter what kind of denials they issue. And let’s not forget that Republicans have been gunning for Social Security since its passage, since it’s the ultimate thorn in the paw of conservative ideology.

Just in case, protect yourself and your neighbor from risk. Vote Democratic this fall.

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