Democrats Are Ready to Help Save Social Security
An Aug. 4 editorial [". . . and the Democrats' Reply"] unfairly characterized as a partisan attack my circulation of a quote by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. regarding President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. Democrats are committed to strengthening, not weakening, Social Security; unfortunately, the private accounts proposed by the Bush administration would erode the guaranteed benefits that have given independence and economic security to millions of seniors and people with disabilities.
Democrats have great respect for Mr. Paulson and hope that his tenure will mark a fresh start in addressing the long-term challenges of Social Security and other entitlements, but we also believe that the first step to bipartisan Social Security reform must be to take privatization off the table because of the massive benefit cuts and debt explosion that would ensue if it were carried out.
Last year Mr. Bush made his plan to privatize Social Security his top priority; this year, the president and Republicans in Congress have continued their efforts to privatize Social Security, both in their public comments and in their budget.
Democrats will continue to oppose Mr. Bush's risky plan and remain committed to protecting Social Security for today's seniors and future generations. Once privatization is no longer an option, we look forward to working with Mr. Paulson and others in the administration in a bipartisan fashion.
House Minority Leader (D-Calif.)