WASHINGTON -- January 14 -- Green Party leaders called on the American people and Congress to reject President Bush's plan to divert Social Security into private investments.
"President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security will likely be the focus of his inaugural and 2005 State of the Union addresses, just as his 2003 State of the Union spelled out his reasons for invading Iraq -- and the President's rationales will be just as fraudulent," said Jody Grage Haug, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
"In his first term, Mr. Bush fabricated an Iraqi crisis, based on a counterfeit reports of WMDs, collusion between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and an imminent threat to the U.S. This year, Mr. Bush is relying on manufactured claims of an impending Social Security crisis in order to achieve the long-time Republican goal of dismantling one of our most successful and necessary social programs. By attacking Social Security, President Bush is declaring war on people who work for a living," added Ms. Haug.
Greens note that the Social Security Trustees' pessimistic assumption in 1999 of long-term economic growth rate at just 1.7%, which would project a Social Security system failure in 2029, turned out to be false. The projected failure date was later pushed back to 2042 in 2004 when the economic growth rate continued at 3%.
By current conservative estimates, Social Security will still be able to pay three quarters of anticipated benefits in 2052. President Bush continues to insist erroneously that the system will go "broke, flat bust" by 2040.
Greens blame former President Clinton for parroting conservative claims of a crisis in the last year of his second term, and say that these claims have allowed President Bush to get away with false statistics like a projected $10-11 trillion in "unfunded" Social Security liability.
"All of these doomsday projections are based on economic failure in the coming decades, but the absurdity of President's plan is that, if the economy really did fail, the last place you'd want your retirement money would be Wall Street," said David Cobb, the Green Party's 2004 presidential candidate. "The only people who'll benefit from Social Security privatization will be investment companies, people with large investments in investment companies, and Republican and Democratic politicians who take campaign contributions from investment companies."
Green Party leaders noted that Social Security would never be imperiled at all if the well-being of older Americans were given the same priority as the military budget, or if the Social Security Trust Fund weren't looted to cover President Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy or the war on Iraq.
"If the American people, the media, and Congress swallow President Bush's Social Security plan as quickly as they swallowed the Iraq invasion, we'll see the second major disaster of the Bush years, with billions in lost savings and vanished retirement money," said Greg Gerritt, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. "The economics of the Bush plan are as phony as the economics of his November, 2003 Medicare reform bill, which favored pharmaceutical firms at great cost to older Americans who depend on prescription drugs. We all need to stand up and say no to the pillage of Social Security."