(WASHINGTON) – The National Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today criticized President Bush’s decision to appoint private-accounts advocate Andrew Biggs to principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Andrew Biggs, most recently the deputy commissioner for policy at the SSA and former senior analyst for the CATO Institute, a right-wing think tank, has spent his career advocating the privatization of Social Security, a move which would jeopardize the Social Security benefits of millions of Americans. While an analyst at the CATO Institute, Biggs wrote extensively against strengthening Social Security by promoting privatization and the eventual elimination of the American peoples’ SSA.
“Instituting Andrew Biggs as deputy commissioner is a seriously flawed decision. The president has selected Mr. Biggs to be second in command of the agency that he has actively sought to dismantle.” said Witold Skwierczynski, council president.
President Bush nominated Biggs to the post of deputy commissioner in November. The nomination was dismissed without a hearing by Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont) as a non-starter based on Biggs unabashed stance on privatizing Social Security.
“The president knew that Mr. Biggs would have no chance at confirmation. He circumvented the political process through the recess appointment, forcing the appointment of his rejected nominee,” Skwierczynski says. “This appointment politicizes the Social Security Administration.”
In 2005, President Bush offered a plan to privatize Social Security by utilizing a portion of payroll taxes to be placed in private investment accounts. The plan, which was designed in part by Biggs as an analyst at the CATO Institute, would result in sizeable reductions in Social Security benefits for most Americans. The plan was widely rejected in Congress and received no public support.
The National Social Security Council, officially known as the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (AFGE Council 220), represents about 28,000 employees of the Social Security Administration who work in field offices and national call centers.