Saturday, August 21, 2010

Raj Goyle's Social Security Pledge and Why it Matters

Roosevelt Signs The Social Security Act: Presi...Image via Wikipedia(August 18) Saturday at the  Wichita Hyatt, in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people  at Demofest, State Rep. Raj Goyle, candidate for Congress representing the 4th District, signed a pledge promising to work to strengthen and protect Social Security. The event came on the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signing the bill into law.

Now some political pledges are primarily  symbolic, but some have real consequences and mark dramatic political differences. This is just such a case. Goyle's opponent, Mike Pompeo and the leadership of the national Republican party have Social Security in their crosshairs.


Goyle's Pledge
In a speech that received a standing ovation from the crowd, Raj Goyle stated, "Seventy five years ago today President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law one of the most groundbreaking, progressive and forward-thinking programs in our nation's history when he created the Social Security system. Social Security has withstood a World War, thrived in times of peace and unrest, survived recessions and deficits and held firm under Democrats and Republicans."
"And in 2010, Social Security will be protected and nurtured for many more decades to come, because we in this room - and other like us nationwide - will not let special interests, the Club for Growthers, the greedy Wall Street raiders, the John Boehners and the Newt Gingriches of the world anywhere near this American institution," Goyle continued,
"I pledge to you today that I will protect Social Security. I will oppose all efforts to privatize it and I will certainly oppose John Boehner's idea of raising the retirement age to 70! Together, we will protect the guarantee of dignity, security and hope that began with FDR 75 years ago," Goyle concluded.
Pompeo's Plan to Gut Social Security
In an April 10 interview with the Winfield Courier, Pompeo stated his position on social security.  Pompeo supports raising the retirement age and a Bush-style privatization of social security. And note that the article is featured on the Pompeo campaign website.
On the spending side, the government needs to move down a path to reform entitlement funding, including Social Security  and Medicare -- the government's two biggest entitlement programs, Pompeo said.
Options that could be examined include increasing the age for full Social Security benefits to retirees, he said.
"I would advocate for a partial privatization of the system so people could choose to go into the government-funded program or to a retirement investment program where they could get a return on their capital," Pompeo said.
Pompeo's GOP vs. Social Security 
Pompeo's intention to privatize social security, unfortunately, is not an isolated case.
The Wonk Room summarizes
Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) much ballyhooed Roadmap for America's Future calls for the creation of private Social Security accounts, akin to those proposed by President Bush in 2005. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has explicitly advocated "reviving President George W. Bush's failed plan to partially privatize Social Security." 
Reps. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have all touted personal accounts, while Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has expressed a desire to "wean everybody off" Social Security entirely. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) even questioned the constitutionality of the program. 
Kentucky's Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, meanwhile, has said "let young working people opt out, the sooner the better, let 'em opt out and get a better investment." Indiana's GOP Senate candidate Dan Coats has endorsed a Social Security plan "along the lines of what Paul Ryan has proposed."
As a Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis found, under a Bush-style privatization plan, an October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in the market plunge of that year, and if the U.S. stock market had behaved like the Japanese market during the duration of that retiree's work life, "a private account would have experienced sharp negative returns, losing $70,000 -- an effective -3.3 percent net annual rate of return." But despite the market turmoil that America just went through, Republicans are most certainly pushing a privatization agenda, under the guise of a manufactured Social Security crisis.
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