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The Real GOP Agenda: The Party of Social Security Privatization

This morning, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, the GOP’s point man on Social Security and Medicare, and self-described “Young Gun” – protested that Democrats have been hitting Republicans for wanting to privatize Social Security.

This must be a first. Congressional Republicans are complaining that Democrats are calling them out for what they stand for: a party that wants to privatize Social Security and hand it over to Wall Street and end Medicare as we know. In fact, privatizing Social Security and ending Medicare as we know it are two pillars of Mr. Ryan’s own alternative budget proposal the “Roadmap for America’s Future.” 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.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the Ryan-GOP plan:

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

And Mr. Ryan recently reiterated the GOP plan to privatize Social Security in his joint literary endeavor, “Young Guns,” written with House Republican Whip Eric Cantor and House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy.

American workers and their families know the GOP wants to take Social Security and turn it from a guaranteed benefit to a guaranteed gamble. No matter how hard they try, Congressional Republicans can’t hide from their own words.

House Republican Leader John Boehner:

Mr. Boehner has repeatedly refused to take Social Security privatization off the table and has described the GOP’s alternative budget proposal – which will privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it – as “a pretty good list of options” when it comes to dealing with the deficit.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor:

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 Conference Chairman Mike Pence:

Mr. Pence has been an ardent supporter of Social Security privatization for years. In 2005, he co-wrote a letter to President Bush with Congressman John Shadegg urging private accounts: “We urge you to continue to pursue personal carve- out accounts as the long run solution for Social Security’s actuarial shortcomings.” [Letter from Mike Pence and John Shadegg to President George W. Bush, 4/15/05]

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price:

Mr. Price is an original cosponsor of the GOP-Ryan plan calling it “the kind of bold solution America needs.”

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