(WASHINGTON) - The National Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today warned that the Bush administration is reviving its highly unpopular plan to dismantle the current Social Security system in favor of establishing private retirement accounts.
“The administration’s plan failed in 2005 because people saw through the smoke and mirrors,” said Council President Witold Skwierczynski. “The president’s plan called for significant cuts in benefits for seniors and our children. Once people realized this, they rejected the administration’s proposal out of hand. Apparently the president doesn’t believe in listening to his constituents.”
Media reports from the Washington Post and other distinguished publications have recently reported that Social Security reform remains one of the “big items” the president wants to tackle next year. In his first speech after taking office in August of this year, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Wall Street insider, said he was under orders from Bush to pursue Social Security reform.
AFGE National President John Gage said, “Instead of developing new ideas to strengthen the system, the president is merely repeating what he tried to do last year. This is not something we want to repeat. We can come up with a plan that doesn’t slash benefits and risk the retirements of hard-working Americans.”
The Council maintains that the administration’s plan would destroy the retirement dreams of hundreds of millions of Americans at the expense of younger workers. The plan that the Bush administration favors would cut guaranteed benefits for someone born in 1960 by 15 percent, cut guaranteed benefits for someone born in 1970 by 25 percent and cut guaranteed benefits for those born in the 1980s and 1990s by 40 to 50 percent. Furthermore, the plan to replace Social Security with private accounts would leave millions of retirees in poverty and younger Americans with at least $4.9 trillion debt.
Skwierczynski also points out that the president fails to mention how he’ll pay to implement a new Social Security system.
“Paying for the administration’s plan would involve massive tax increases; drastic benefit cuts; an increase in the retirement age, which is effectively a benefit cut; or some combination of these things. The president’s plan would cause hundreds of millions of Americans to lose the only retirement and disability income security they have. Reviving this ill-conceived plan is like producing a horrible sequel to a bad movie.”
The National Social Security Council, officially known as the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (Council 220), represents about 30,000 employees of the Social Security Administration who work in field offices and national calling centers