U.S. Sen. Jim Talent: What, me privatize Social Security?

U.S. Sen. Jim Talent: What, me privatize Social Security?

Senator Talent tells Associated Press he's "strongly opposed to privatization" of Social Security despite co-sponsoring legislation to do exactly that

October 10, 2006 (Washington D.C.) - Americans United blasted comments made by U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) that appeared in the Associated Press today that run counter to the Senator's aggressive and well-documented efforts to dismantle Social Security with a risky privatization scheme.  According to the AP, Sen. Talent said, "I'm strongly opposed to privatization," adding "I've looked at personal retirement accounts as an option." However, Jim Talent's record in Congress speaks for itself. 


"Jim Talent is playing word games with his position on privatizing Social Security," said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United.  "The fact is Jim Talent co-sponsored legislation that would divert significant funds from the Social Security Trust Fund in order to pay for private accounts.  That's privatization -- pure and simple.  Jim Talent can call his risky investment scheme anything he wants to, but the result is still the same: massive benefit cuts for the middle-class and trillions of dollars in new debt.  Jim Talent knows that better than anyone - otherwise he wouldn't have voted against an amendment just last year that called on the Senate to ‘reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt.'  Talent's pro-privatization record is crystal clear."

Senator Jim Talent's position on Social Security is especially critical today given President Bush's efforts to resuscitate his hugely unpopular privatization proposal early next year. Bush first hinted at the effort during a speech in Washington D.C. on June 27th, assuring his audience that "now is the time" and that "If we can't get it done this year, I'm going to try next year. And if we can't get it done next year, I'm going to try the year after that." On July 11th, Bush took action with the release of his administration's Mid-Session Budget Review.  The President's budget includes a proposal to divert $721 billion from the Social Security trust fund to private accounts over the next 10 years - virtually the same proposal which was overwhelmingly rejected by the American public in 2005.  Just last month, the President told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to revisit his Social Security proposal early next year, when he "will be able to drain the politics out of the issue."

"President Bush and his allies in Congress are rolling out the same reckless privatization proposal that was overwhelmingly rejected by the American public last year.  Privatization was a terrible idea in 2005 -- it's every bit as bad today.  Nothing will change the fact that privatization wouldn't add a day to the life of Social Security - not one single day," said Funk. "It's not surprising that Jim Talent would now run scared from his pro-privatization record given how hugely unpopular it is in Missouri.  But considering Talent helped write legislation to do just that in Congress, he's going to have a very tough time pulling the wool over the eyes of Missouri seniors."