TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono made the following statement today regarding President Bush’s plan to jeopardize the stability of Social Security by creating private retirement accounts:
“When Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing the Social Security Administration in 1935, he created one of the most successful and popular government programs in the United States history.
“At the time the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression and our seniors were among the hardest hit. Social Security created a safety net, assuring that every American could retire at age 65 and be confident that they would continue to live a decent life.
“President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security will be a disaster for everyone but the mutual fund industry, who stands to profit from the infusion of capital. His scare tactics are designed to dismantle a program that New Jersey retirees, individuals with disabilities and surviving family members rely on for their basic needs. He seeks a return to the days before the New Deal when millions of the elderly lived in poverty. We cannot and will not allow it, because Medicare will be next on his agenda.
“The Bush Administratration’s claims that the Social Security Trust Fund is facing an imminent crisis and that only privation will save the system, is just wrong. Anyone who takes the time to do the most basic research would fine that there is no Social Security crisis and that privatization will do nothing to address future benefit shortfalls.
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if we take no action at all, we will be able to pay out full benefits until at least 2052, and after that point retirees would still expect to receive 80% of promised benefits.
“The Bush proposal to divert a third of social security taxes into private accounts, will greatly reduce the amount available to pay for current benefits and invest in the Social Security Trust Fund – meaning that the shortfall would come in 2018, rather than 2052.
“To make up for these shortfalls we would then have to borrow more than $2 trillion over the next twenty years, adding to the already record high federal deficit.
“I join with my state and federal colleagues to collectively demand that the President scrap his plan to privatize and ultimately destroy this vital program.”