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Lieberman Joins Senate Democrats


Guest Casey Aden-Wansbury
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Guest Casey Aden-Wansbury

Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Thursday joined 41 Senate Democrats in opposing President Bush’s Social Security privatization plan. In a letter to the President, the Senators urged the White House to “publicly, clearly, and unambiguously” reject private accounts funded with Social Security dollars.

 

 

“Funding privatized accounts with Social Security dollars would not only make the program’s long term problems worse, but many believe it represents a first step toward undermining the program’s fundamental goals,” the letter said. “Therefore, so long as this proposal is on the table, we believe it will be impossible to establish the kind of cooperative, bipartisan process we need to truly address the challenges facing the program many decades in the future.”

 

 

The other Senators signing the letter include:

 

 

Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Corzine, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Feinstein, Harkin, Inouye, Jeffords, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Bill Nelson, Obama, Pryor, Reed, Reid, Rockefeller, Salazar, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, Wyden.

 

 

The full text of the letter is below.

 

 

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC

 

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

 

We write in the hope that we can achieve a bipartisan agreement to strengthen Social Security for the long term and enhance the retirement security of all Americans.

 

 

Soon after your reelection, you made clear that your Administration’s top priority is to move toward the privatization of Social Security. Your proposal would cut Social Security’s funding by diverting payroll taxes into privatized accounts, which would weaken the program and force deep cuts in benefits. The Administration also has said that its proposal would require borrowing trillions of dollars, much of which we know would come from foreign countries like China and Japan.

 

 

Democrats in the Congress believe strongly that this approach is unacceptable, and it appears that most Americans agree with us. Funding privatized accounts with Social Security dollars would not only make the program’s long term problems worse, but many believe it represents a first step toward undermining the program’s fundamental goals. Therefore, so long as this proposal is on the table, we believe it will be impossible to establish the kind of cooperative, bipartisan process we need to truly address the challenges facing the program many decades in the future.

 

 

We were encouraged that Treasury Secretary John Snow suggested that you might be willing to abandon your privatization proposal and move instead to an alternative approach in which investment accounts would be established entirely separate and apart from Social Security. As you know, many Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, have advocated just such an approach, with benefits targeted to working and middle class families who need help the most. So long as such accounts remain entirely independent from Social Security and do not put the program’s guaranteed benefits at risk in any way, we believe they deserve serious consideration as part of a broader effort to promote retirement security.

 

 

While Secretary Snow’s suggestion was initially encouraging, subsequent reports indicate that you remain committed to your privatization plan and his public comments were little more than a tactical maneuver toward that end. For example, according a story in today’s Washington Post, “White House officials are privately telling Republicans that Bush is opposed to the idea [of accounts outside of Social Security], but does not want to say so because it would appear he is not willing to compromise.”

 

 

Given the conflicting and ambiguous reports on such a critical issue, we urge you to publicly, clearly, and unambiguously announce that you reject privatized accounts funded with Social Security dollars or otherwise linked to the provision of guaranteed Social Security benefits. Such a statement would eliminate a serious obstacle to the kind of bipartisan process that Democrats are seeking to truly deal with Social Security’s long term challenges and to improve the retirement security of all Americans.

 

 

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

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Has anyone noticed the striking simularity of Senator Joe Lieberman with Star Wars Senator Palpatine.

 

Before his rise to power, Palpatine was an unassuming yet ambitious Senator in the Galactic Republic. Palpatine saw the Republic crumbling about him, torn apart by partisan bickering and corruption. All too common were those unscrupulous Senators taking advantage of the system, growing fat and wealthy on a bureaucracy too slow to catch them. Palpatine later became supreme ruler of the most powerful tyrannical regime the galaxy had ever witnessed.

 

Democrats and Republicans be weary and watch your backs.

 

On Social Security, Senator Lieberman has spoken in favor of partially privatizing Social Security, as proposed by Bush and opposed by Gore. Told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1998: ''A remarkable wave of innovative thinking is advancing the concept of privatization. ... I think in the end that individual control of part of the retirement-Social Security funds has to happen.''

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