Social Security Privatization

Patterson goes off the rails a bit making fun of a Duckworth press release that bothers to note that Representative Jim McCrery of Louisiana who chairs the Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security just said his top priority for 2007 was Social Security privatization.

McCrery is likely to be Chair of Ways and Means if Republicans retain a majority.

Patterson thinks it’s odd because the evidence is that Roskam skipped a vote on privatization in the State House that was largely for Democratic electoral purposes, but also is a serious dilemma for the state if benefits for the elderly are reduced.

He then makes fun of the exercise as being like the game 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but the really odd thing here is he didn’t get Roskam on record as to what sort of changes he’d support in Social Security. In the public record there isn’t anything directly pinning down Roskam on whether he’d support McCrery’s bill. Why isn’t Roskam’s position the first thing to clarify and report?

It’s not exactly absurd to point out what Roskam’s allies want in relation to Social Security. He’s signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, he’s close to the Eagle Forum, and generally a darling of conservatives. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this, but those connections sure seem to point out what his position is.

One of the leaders of his party, the man who is likely to have one of the most powerful chairmanships in DC, just said Social Security privatization is a high priority for 2007. Challenging Roskam on that issue is fair game–if Roskam doesn’t agree with his allies, than he can say it.

The shot at the end at Madigan is a bit bizarre given Tom Cross (not really wrong) made fun of him for having a series of workshops designed to target the Social Security privatization plans in Congress.

In this case, Madigan isn’t even close to the same thing as McCrery. Madigan hardly ever gets involved in Congressional Elections unless it is a key ally and is one the reason for the incumbent friendly remap in 2002. He spends his time worrying about the State House seats. He hasn’t given her any money and I don’t think Steve Brown has even done a press release on the race.

The real issue here for someone trying to help voters figure out this race is what the hell is Roskam’s position? I’m as cynical as the next guy when it comes to campaign press releases, but in this case, it makes an important distinction that voters deserve to know.

2 thoughts on “Social Security Privatization

  1. We’re privatizing the tollways and lottery. Why not social security?

    There were some real opportunities in Bush’s plan for ownership accounts. Opportunities to do some radical things. Serious Democrats should have jumped on board. Ideas like giving every kid born in American $5k to stick in an IRA.

  2. Not a good idea to privatize either the tollways or the lottery IMO, definitely not Soc. Sec. The administration of Soc. Sec. costs very little, and it runs very efficiently for that cost. Having possibly tens of millions of different accounts will cause administration costs to balloon incredibly – thus reducing the benefits, and with no guarantee on return for those accounts privatization can result in millions of people having nothing when they are most vulnerable. Soc. Sec. is NOT a retirement or investment plan, it is an insurance plan. Many people on Soc. Sec. are not retirees, they are disabled and have not had a chance to put in to the plan, but are receiving benefits. Former Republican Senator Warren Rudman (NH) proposed eliminating the cap on income subject to Soc. Sec. tax (currently around $80K) and doing means testing of eligible recipients – those making over a certain amount (say $100K/yr) in post retirement income would not receive any benefits (because, like insurance – they don’t need it). Those two changes to the system would ensure its solvency well into the next century. Don’t know why more serious Republicans don’t jump on board those proposals – oh, that’s right – they were opposed to Social Security in the first place!

Comments are closed.