Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Charles Bass's Sorry Record on Social Security

One of the things that Bush and members of the Republican leadership have made known will happen if they retain a majority after November is that they will again go after Social Security. For instance, Majority Leader John Boehner says "If I’m around in a leadership role come January, we’re going to get serious about this." Josh Marshall has been all over this - see here, here, and here for starters. This was not, you may recall, a winning strategy in 2005, with polling finding that 64% of Americans disapproved of Bush on Social Security in June of that year, but apparently they are eager for another go-around.

I've read various references to Charlie Bass being in favor of privatizing Social Security. But that can mean a variety of things. Some politicians will go along with Bush if that's what he wants. Some aren't sure what they think is right, or aren't willing to say so if they are sure. And then there are those who really, really believe in privatizing Social Security. Turns out, Bass is and has been a full-on, no flip-flopping privatizer for some time now.

He has consistently refused to sign the pledge to protect Social Security. In 2001, (PDF)

Bass joined more than 100 Members of Congress in writing a letter to President Bush's Social Security Commission strongly endorsing the Commission's work and urging privatization.

In the same year (and from the same PDF)

Bass voted for a federal budget that uses the Social Security Trust Fund for other purposes, including the Bush tax cut package that largely benefits the wealthiest.

In 2002, Bass said (PDF)

I am an advocate of the President's call for Social Security reform and will work with him in the next two years to save and protect this important program. I will also work to meet our shared goal of implementing these policies while practicing sound fiscal restraint and slowing the growth of government.

The Campaign for America's Future (yet another PDF) considers Bass to be a "privatization ideologue." Also according to the Campaign for America's Future (this time not a PDF) :

215,453 people from New Hampshire receive Social Security checks each month

152,109 receive retirement benefits

39,603 receive disability benefits

23,741 widows, widowers and children receive survivors benefits
(Social Security Administration)

71,000 New Hampshire seniors rely on Social Security for at least half of their total income today. (Economic Policy Institute)

35,000 New Hampshire seniors rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income today. (Economic Policy Institute)

63,000 New Hampshire seniors would live in poverty without Social Security benefits. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

More than $2,336,676,000 flowed into the New Hampshire economy from Social Security checks in 2004 - more than $194,723,000 per month. (Social Security Administration)

Typical New Hampshirites would see their Social Security benefits cut by $210,283 over their lifetime with the president's plan.

The average Social Security check for retired New Hampshirites is $944 per month. (Social Security Administration)

According to the Left Coaster, there are nearly 75,000 Social Security retirees in NH-02. Bass believes in taking away the safety net of his elderly constituents, and even more so the safety net for his younger constituents as they age. If there is a Republican Congress in 2007, we can expect to see him voting enthusiastically to dismantle Social Security, replacing it with mandatory private accounts that will be vulnerable to the fluctuations of the stock market. The stock market drops, elderly people are left with nothing. That's Charlie Bass policy for you.


Blogger yankeedoodler said...

This is among your best work, Laura.

I have a hard time writing about SS "privatization" because it makes me so angry my hands start shaking and I can't type.

That Bass squeaks by on his supposed independence is infuriating. He is basically the Granite State place holder for the Grover Norquist set.

For what it's worth, I've crossposted this on YD.

8:44 PM  

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