Kerry Charges Bush Social Security Privatization Plan Is "Rip-off" to Cut Seniors' Benefits 45%, Give $940 Billion to Banking Industry, and Drain $2 Trillion From Social Security

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John Kerry cited a new study finding George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization plan will provide a $940 billion windfall (the largest in history) to the financial industry while cutting benefits for seniors. Kerry said President Bush has once again wrongly chosen to put his wealthy friends above seniors and families. Kerry pledged to protect Social Security, to not raise the retirement age, not cut benefits for people that rely on them, not raise taxes on the middle class, and to not privatize the program.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry cited a new study finding George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization plan will provide a $940 billion windfall to the financial industry while cutting benefits for seniors. Kerry said President Bush has once again wrongly chosen to put his wealthy friends above seniors and families.

Saying we cannot afford four more years of Bush’s plans that squeeze seniors, Kerry pledged to protect and strengthen Social Security.

“Recently, at that convention in New York, George Bush said that he actually had a new idea. And you know what it was? The same bad, old idea of privatizing Social Security and cutting your benefits,” Kerry said. “That’s not a plan – it’s a rip-off. George Bush’s scheme hurts seniors by cutting benefits, and it hurts our economy by increasing the deficit. The truth is the only people who benefit from George Bush’s Social Security scheme are the special interests.”

In his West Palm Beach town hall meeting, Kerry referenced a new study by Chicago Business School Professor Austan Goolsbee that focuses on Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Goolsbee finds that financial institutions, not seniors, stand to gain from Bush’s plan.

According to the study, the financial services industry will reap billions of dollars as part of the largest windfall in financial history. At the same time, a Congressional Budget Office study found that the President's plan will cut Social Security benefits by up to 45 percent.

Bush’s plan will also drain $2 trillion from Social Security over the next decade and increase the budget deficit through 2050. It is a plan that is particularly devastating for women, who make up 60 percent of Social Security recipients.

“Under the Bush scheme, the people who manage private Social Security accounts stand to get $940 billion dollars,” Kerry said. “That’s $940 billion that we should be using to protect benefits for our seniors. $940 billion that we should be using to save Social Security.”

Not surprisingly, the financial services industry – the very industry that stands to gain billions - is actively supporting and mobilizing behind the president’s campaign. Nearly 100 individuals from this community have signed up as Pioneers and Rangers for the Bush-Cheney campaign, and the president has received nearly $8 million from the securities and investment industries. Several financial services firms that stand to gain from Bush’s plan have even bankrolled pro-privatization front-groups to mobilize behind Bush’s plan.

“John Edwards and I will set America in a new direction and keep faith with America’s seniors,” Kerry said. “Our plan will strengthen Social Security, not undermine it. Because when you’ve worked for a lifetime, America owes you what you’ve earned.”

Kerry and Edwards believe Social Security should be strengthened. The Kerry-Edwards plan will protect Social Security, not raise the retirement age, not cut benefits for people that rely on them, not raise taxes on the middle class, and not privatize the program.

For more information on Senator Kerry's stand on National Security, Energy Independence, Economy and Jobs, Health Care, Homeland Security, Education, Environment, Veterans, and Stronger Communities, read the Kerry-Edwards Plan for America at http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/.

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Tiffany Guinn