Social Security, a program that has assisted millions of Americans since its inception, will turn 75 tomorrow, and on the eve of that anniversary, I thought we’d take a look at what Sen. Russ Feingold and his main Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, have to say about Social Security. First here’s a statement from Sen. Feingold:
“After 75 years, Social Security continues to be one of the most successful programs in our nation’s history. On this anniversary, Wisconsin is especially proud since three of the men who helped to create the program – Arthur Altmeyer, Edwin Witte and Wilbur Cohen – hailed from Wisconsin and were trained at the University of Wisconsin. Created when our nation faced devastating job losses and uncertainty, Social Security has given a measure of economic security to generations of American seniors. Today, 50 million Americans benefit from this landmark program, and retired workers know they can rely on a basic benefit for which they have worked.
“Our country now finds itself in another time of great economic uncertainty. While we should take steps to further strengthen the program, the recently released annual Social Security Trustees report shows that Social Security will remain solvent for decades to come. Despite that report, there are still many who want to slash Social Security benefits, privatize the program and put at risk the security our seniors deserve. I will do everything I can to stop that from happening. Social Security is in many ways a Wisconsin Idea, and I will continue my work to ensure it serves Americans well for generations to come.”
Recognizing Sen. Feingold’s strong support for Social Security, earlier today the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) announced its endorsement Sen. Feingold’s reelection campaign. Here’s an excerpt from the statement released by that organization in announcing its endorsement of Sen. Feingold’s reelection campaign:
“The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, on behalf of the millions of members and supporters, enthusiastically endorses your nomination and candidacy for re-election to the United States Senate.
Our nation needs your leadership, vision and determination to fight for working families and older Americans. You earned the endorsement of the National Committee because you understand and support the critical roles that Social Security and Medicare play in the retirement and health security of our nation’s older citizens and their families.”
In stark contrast to Sen. Feingold’s support of Social Security, Ron Johnson has referred to Social Security as a “ponzi scheme” [WisPolitics luncheon, 7/26/10] and he has also stated he supports privatizing Social Security and making the program vulnerable to fluctuations in the stock market, stating, “I’m certainly not opposed to taking a look at some privatization.” [Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, 6/21/10]
If Ron Johnson had his way and Social Security was privatized, over one million Wisconsinites who currently receive Social Security benefits would be at risk of seeing their benefits slashed – and ending up in poverty – based on fluctuations in the stock market. Simply put, Ron Johnson’s plan to privatize Social Security would leave millions of Americans -and far too many Wisconsinites – at risk of living in poverty during their golden years, and that’s simply unacceptable and irresponsible. While Ron Johnson may be able to enjoy his golden years in fine form thanks to the millions he made from marrying into the right family, many others won’t be so fortunate, and so the least those folks deserve is to know their Social Security is secure.