“Exact same agenda“—you bet.
Out plugging his new book, former President George W. Bush today lamented losing his 2005 attempt to privatize Social Security. The Chicago Breaking News Center reported that “the former president said his greatest failure in office was not passing Social Security reform.” President Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security were strongly supported by Congressional Republicans in 2005.
Just imagine if the Bush-GOP effort to turn Social Security over to the whims of Wall Street had succeeded. When seniors saw trillions of dollars of their own investments wiped out in the Bush financial meltdown on Wall Street, they also would have seen sharp losses in Social Security benefits:
Someone who invested in a recommended 401(k) account indexed to the S&P 500 the day before President Bush was sworn into office in 2001 would have lost money if they withdrew those funds when President Bush left office in 2009:
When adjusted for inflation, the S&P 500 had actually declined by 47.73 percent between January 19, 2001 and January 16, 2009. A $1000 investment would have been worth only $522.72. [CPI Inflation Calculator,S&P 500 Historical Prices]
Social Security is a guaranteed benefit that must not be subject to the volatility of Wall Street.
Three new studies were released examining the impact of the current Ryan/Republican Social Security privatization plans. All three reports find the GOP’s plans to privatize Social Security and turn it over to the whims of Wall Street would cut Social Security benefits for seniors. From the Wall Street Journal article, Social Security Study Finds GOP Plans Would Bring Big Cuts:
Republican proposals to overhaul Social Security would substantially reduce future benefits for people now entering the workforce, according to a new analysis from Social Security Administration’s chief actuary.
…“The new analysis reveals that these proposals result in benefits cuts ranging from 10% to as high as 50%,” said Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.), one of the Democrats who requested the study. “That’s not what I’d call ’saving’ Social Security.”
…A worker born in 1985 whose earnings averaged $43,000 would receive 17% less at retirement than current law promises, as a result of Mr. Ryan’s proposal to change the inflation index. His proposed increase in the retirement age would reduce benefits by another 8%, according to the actuary’s analysis.
It is without question that privatizing Social Security and turning it over to Wall Street is very much part of the Congressional Republican agenda, backed by unprecedented amounts of secret money from shadowy special interests.