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For Immediate Release

Friday, February 05, 2010

AFSCME President McEntee to Supporters of Privatizing Social Security: “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are”

GOP Rep. Ryan Revives Bush’s Failed Social Security Privatization Scheme

Washington, DC — 

This week, Congressman and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Paul Ryan (R-WI) woke a sleeping giant when he released his alternative Republican House Budget Committee’s plan to privatize Social Security and replace Medicare with private, for-profit care-rationing measures.

“The Republicans may be morphing from the Party of ‘No’ to the Party of ‘You Gotta Be Kidding Me’,” said AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.

“They’re seriously talking about risking millions of Americans’ retirement security in the same market that nearly collapsed our economy last year.  Rep. Ryan’s alternative budget proposal is exactly what Americans overwhelmingly rejected in 2006.  Gambling away Social Security in the stock market is a plan only Wall Street honchos, and their pet Congressman, can love.  It didn’t work four years ago, and it’s not going to work now.

“To other Republicans in Congress who are considering support of Representative Ryan’s dangerous scheme, we say: ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are.’ We’re happy to take the fight to your districts again if necessary.

“Because Social Security is more than a card.  It’s a promise of financial security from each generation of Americans to those that follow.  Rep. Ryan’s scheme will weaken retirement security by imposing steep benefit cuts, and will damage the single most important element of our nation’s social safety net.

“For one third of our nation’s elderly, Social Security provides nearly all their income.  If Social Security went away today, half of our nation’s elderly would wake up tomorrow in poverty.

“Remember, too, that Social Security is not just a retirement program.  It provides disability and life insurance protection to millions of American families. In fact, one third of those receiving Social Security are receiving disability or survivors benefits.

“Together, as we have in the past, Democrats and Republicans can take the critical steps necessary to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security. We must direct our elected representatives to work hard to make this happen. But Rep. Ryan’s plan is an irresponsible attempt at Social Security privatization, and a shockingly transparent billion dollar Wall Street freebie that helps the for-profit health care sector while harming American workers.”

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