Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Against Social Security Privatization But House GOP Leaders Favor It

In a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released today, 68 percent of Americans said they have reservations about or are uncomfortable with Social Security privatization – and the cuts it would mean – as part of a political agenda.

Republicans promise once again to privatize and cut your Social Security—turning it over to the whims of Wall Street – as President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress tried to do in 2005. Not only does a new book by House Republicans lay out the GOP proposal to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, written by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Republican leaders are on the record specifically in favor of these proposals.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio):

Has described the GOP’s alternative budget proposal – which will privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it – ‘very good work’ and “a pretty good list of options.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Virginia) told the Wall Street Journal just last week that he supports Congressman Ryan’s proposal to privatize Social Security:

Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-ranking Republican in the House, said in an interview this week that he supported a proposal to create private investment accounts within Social Security…

Mr. Cantor supported President George W. Bush’s plan to add private accounts to Social Security in 2005, but he hadn’t endorsed Mr. Ryan’s plan until now. “It would not be in our book if I did not embrace the concept of what Paul is talking about,” Mr. Cantor said. “We’ve got to have a serious conversation in this country about the promises that have been made to people in this country, especially those under 50.”

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Georgia) is an original cosponsor of the GOP-Ryan plan calling it “the kind of bold solution America needs.”

From the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011…

From the Washington Post:

Some GOP lawmakers also have endorsed Ryan’s alternative budget plan, which would wipe out deficits in part by privatizing Social Security and replacing traditional Medicare benefits with an insurance voucher for people age 55 and older.

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

The Ryan plan proposes large cuts in Social Security benefits — roughly 16 percent for the average new retiree in 2050 and 28 percent in 2080 from price indexing alone — and initially diverts most of these savings to help fund private accounts rather than to restore Social Security solvency…

Overall, the plan’s cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (and other programs to a much lesser degree) would be so severe that CBO estimates they would shrink total federal expenditures (other than on interest payments) from roughly 19 percent of GDP in recent years to just 13.8 percent of GDP by 2080. Federal spending has not equaled such a low level of GDP since 1950, when Medicare and Medicaid did not yet exist, Social Security failed to cover many workers, and close to half of the elderly people in the United States lived below the poverty line.

As a result of Congressional Republicans and Bush Administration policies, total retirement assets dropped by 22 percent – from $10.3 trillion in 2006 to $8 trillion in mid-2008. Now more than ever American workers and their families want to have confidence in their retirement security.

We will not go back to the failed policies of the Bush-Republican era when seniors and working Americans were forced to battle back threats to dismantle Social Security time and again. Social Security has been a bedrock promise for 75 years — that Americans have earned after a lifetime of hard work, and it should be there for today’s seniors and future generations.

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