Progressive Democrats of America
FEBRUARY 3, 2005
3:21 AM
CONTACT: Progressive Democrats of America 
Christine Lee, 415-533-6607
Response to Bush’s State of the Union Address: Progressive Democrats Say Rhetoric Not Enough
Vow to Continue to Promote Democracy, Freedom, and American Values

WASHINGTON -- February -- In the State of the Union speech given last night by President George Bush, he laid out plans to cut Social Security benefits by 46 percent and add approximately $15 trillion to the U.S. national debt.

"It's hard not to be moved by the references to freedom and democracy in the annual State of the Union speech,” said Progressive Democrats of America’s (PDA) National Director Tim Carpenter. “But I’m afraid it’s just rhetoric. We have work to do to renew these rights in our own country.”

Carpenter added, “In the next several weeks, PDA will launch a comprehensive campaign to ensure the right of every American to have a vote in our democracy. We will support a Constitutional Amendment securing the Right to Vote, as well as coordinate efforts in Congress with our allied partners and membership to halt the privatization of Social Security."

Carpenter added that one of PDA’s priorities in the coming weeks is to assure that the American public has access to information about the actual status of Social Security, to contrast with the empty rhetoric raised last night in the State of the Union address.

Some of the examples include:

In the State of the Union, Bush failed to address benefit cuts. He said, "Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver,­ and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security." [George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2/2/05]

The Congressional Budget Office says Bush's plan will cut benefits by 45 percent or more for seniors. The Bush plan will reduce benefits for all seniors, even those who choose not to invest in privatized accounts. [CBO, Long-term Analysis of Plan 2 of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, 7/21/2004, pp. 11 and Figure 2A]

Bush Failed to Address Social Security's Long-Term Solvency:

Tonight Bush said, "By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be drastically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs." [George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2/2/05]

A senior administration official said today in a press briefing, "So in a long-term sense, the personal accounts would have a net neutral effect on the fiscal situation of the Social Security and on the federal government." After the official was asked whether "I am right in assuming the personal accounts by themselves as having no affect whatsoever on the solvency issue?" The senior Administration official replied: "That's a fair inference." [White House, Background Briefing on Social Security, 2/2/05]