News Release

Perspectives on Bush’s Social Security Commission

ROGER HICKEY
Co-director of the Institute for America’s Future, Hickey said:”The interim draft report released Tuesday by President Bush’s Social Security Commission confirms what we originally said about this commission when it was created: These people…are driven by ideology, not truth. Their report shamelessly distorts the facts in an attempt to frighten the American public into supporting their pre-ordained goal: to privatize and thus undermine the Social Security system…. Bush and his party want to cut Social Security’s guaranteed benefits…in order to create millions of private stock market accounts that will benefit Wall Street and hurt most who live and work on Main Street…. Commission member Robert Johnson, who chastised his fellow Democrats for attacking the report, himself has regulatory business before the Bush administration with his various business ventures…. Other members of the commission include officials from Fidelity Investments, AOL Time Warner, the World Bank, the Cato Institute, the Hoover Institute and the American Enterprise Institute.”
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RICHARD B. DU BOFF
Author of the paper “Social Security Is Not In ‘Crisis’” and professor of economics at Bryn Mawr College, Du Boff said today: “The Commission distinguishes itself by having distilled the myths around Social Security…. Those who predict higher long-term returns on stocks as a reason for privatization must address the fact that the return on stock markets is linked with GDP growth. If the real GDP growth is as slow as the projections, can anyone believe that the stock market will not be adversely affected? If the stock market is rising at a healthy pace then Social Security will also have the funds it needs to keep solvent and there is no case for privatization, especially since Social Security has a lean and mean overhead cost of only 1 percent whereas similar private sector endeavors such as the life insurance industry have exorbitant overhead rates averaging 12 to 14 percent of the benefits.”
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DIANA ZUCKERMAN
President of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families, Zuckerman said today: “Social Security is the most important poverty program in this country and it has kept millions of adults and families out of poverty. Women have benefited most of all, because Social Security provides a safety net for women who never had paid jobs or stayed home to raise children. Privatizing the system and cutting benefits would hurt most women. Our government needs to keep the promises of the current Social Security system, not make new promises we can’t keep. Let’s not forget — the key word is security.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-author of Social Security: The Phony Crisis and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “The ‘President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security’ is anything but that. The standard projections, which are used by the Commission, assume the slowest economic growth in the nation’s history. Yet they still show that all promised benefits will be paid for the next 37 years without any changes at all, and that the program will always be able to pay a larger benefit than current retirees receive. In order to argue that Social Security is ‘broken,’ the Commission wants to pretend that the $1.1 trillion of U.S. government bonds held by the Social Security trust fund are not worth anything. Try telling that to Salomon Brothers, Bill Gates, or any billionaire or pension fund holding U.S. Treasury bonds.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167