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Laura Vecsey's Blog

Laura Vecsey's Blog

Middle Ground

Toomey changes verb, not intent for Social Security

Toomey changes verb, not intent for Social Security

Republican Senate hopeful Pat Toomey appeared to be trying a little revisionist history this week when he claimed he never called for privatizing Social Security.

Toomey made the statement at the end of his appearance at the Pennsylvania Press Club Monday, only to see a wave of critics calling him out. That included the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which dug up a 2003 headline from Toomey’s hometown newspaper, The Morning Call, which read: “Toomey: Privatize Social Security.”

The former Club for Growth president said he does favor allowing younger workers to deposit savings into private accounts, a position he has held since his first congressional term in 1999. He recently touted it in his book, “The Road to Prosperity,” which is now selling for $3.03 on Amazon.

The key to understanding this semantic subterfuge is, well, semantics. The word Toomey uses is “personalized” Social Security accounts.

The increasing volume on Social Security was escalated Wednesday, when former Senat0r Alan Simpson the GOP co-chair of President Obama’s deficit commission, was force to apologize for sending an e-mail to a female activist for seniors in which he described Social Security as “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”

The flap has prompted an outcry amongst groups like AARP, which are calling for Simpson to resign or for the president to fire him from the commission post.

Democrats have been charged with trying to gin up anxiety about the future of Social Security benefits, like when President Obama recently said some GOP leaders are “pushing to make privatizing Social Security a key part of their legislative agenda if they win a majority in Congress this fall.

The president called such privatization “an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.”

The issue resurfaced in time for election year political football after Congressman Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, offered a proposal that would allow younger people to put Social Security money into personal accounts.

This pretty much mirrors the proposal pushed unsuccessfully by former President George W. Bush—which was supported by Toomey.

August 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

--Laura Vecsey

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  1. Texmex

    Aug 26th, 2010

    Laura, can you be any more biased and crafty in your reporting? The MCall headline, “Toomey: Privatize Social Security” reflects editorializing of word choice on the part of that newspaper and therefore serves in no way as evidence contradicting Toomey’s claim that he never said he supports “privatizing” Social Security. Had that Mcall headline read as follows “Toomey: ‘Privatize Social Security’” (note the embedded single quoation mark indicated the actual usage of the word by the candidate himself) then my dear greenhorn reporter you would have the smoking gun in your hands. The fact is, Toomey’s reform plan can in no way be construed by you or any other left-wing shill as “privatized” when it’s still forced savings imposed by the government, the total management of which would still be overseen by Uncle Sam himself. How is that “privatized”? It is in fact personalized, in so far as each person participating would have his own personal plan imposed and managed by Uncle Sam. Laura, your are a liberal shill, your true colors are exposed for everyone to see. That you would have the audacity to employ the trick of using an editorialized headline to put someone else’s words in a politician’s mouth and use that as evidence to contract something else he said is absolutely pathetic.

  2. sue

    Aug 26th, 2010

    The fact remains the Toomey favors eliminating Social Security as a social insurance program and replacing it with the equivalent of 401k accounts.

    HHe has a voting record to the RIGHT of Rick SSantorum that does not reflect the best interests of the vast majority of Pennsylvanians, but rather his own as a wealthy investor.

  3. al

    Aug 26th, 2010

    the above texmex is delusional.

    Club-for-Growth Toomey is all about Wall Street and “personal accts” = code word “Privatization” and Give Soc Sec to Wall Street.

    “under a Bush-style privatization plan, an October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in that year’s market turmoil”

  4. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D.

    Aug 26th, 2010

    TexMex is precise, Laura is misleading.

    If I recall correctly, the 2005 Bush proposal called for allowing individuals to invest only 1% of their earnings apart from SS-deposits; assuming Toomey is mirroring this approach (and I don’t have a copy of his book with me, to confirm), this is indeed a “personalization” approach…which would be OPTIONAL.

  5. Lee Levan

    Aug 27th, 2010

    Isn’t it interesting that, before every election, Republicans trot out their fear and smear tactics and simply adapt them to whatever is the current subject matter in the media. This year, among others, we’re told to be afraid of all Muslims and their mosques; to be concerned about tax increases, even if they are only for those who have incomes in the top 2% of Americans; and that better healthcare insurance coverage is a bad thing.

    However, when the Dems accurately point out that the Republicans want to privatize social security, which means weaken or kill social security, those same Republicans cry that Dems are “ginning up anxiety”. Well, if shining light on a very scary Republican proposal makes people anxious, imagine how frightening it would be to actually elect those Republicans to positions where they can put those scary plans into effect.

    Was Paul Revere wrong to warn that the British are coming? I’ll bet that he made some people anxious.

  6. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D.

    Aug 27th, 2010

    Lee Levan has channeled the classic fear raised bi-perennially by D’s, namely, that the R’s want to weaken Social Security; here, she ignored the clarifications provided just prior to her note, thereby showing she is politically-posturing.

    Are the R’s who are warning “to be afraid of all Muslims and their mosques” inclusive of Reid/Dean? Or are opponents to the Ground-Zero Mosque (60+% of Americans) motivated by non-political forces?

    And how can she argue that ObamaCare has provided “better” health insurance, despite documentation that it already is more costly and providing fewer necessary services?

    As Dennis Prager said yesterday on the radio, the R’s are not to be feared BECAUSE they want to empower people, whereas the D’s merit anxiety BECAUSE they want to amass power (via government, for they know better that mere citizens, eh?).

    Even MSNBC commentators are reflecting awareness of the upcoming tsunami, and LL should perhaps pause from her pontificating to discern why this release-phenomenon (against all-things-Obama) is brewing.

  7. Ann Hughes

    Sep 5th, 2010

    Are Democrats ginning up fear about the privatization or abolishment of Social Security by Republicans? Ever since the inception of this highly successful “social” program, it has stuck in the gut of hard right wing Republicans who have wanted to dismantle it.

    Tea party favorites like Ran Paul, Ken Buck, Miller, and Engle have actually stated that they want to either privatize or abolish Social Security. How much clearer can it be? Some don’t even bother to use the code word “personalize.” And these are the same people who will draw a very socialistic federal pension and lifetime federally subsidized health care.

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