NHDP - While Kuster Tours Three Senior Centers, Democrats Question Bass Plan to Privatize Social Security

Bass Falsely Claimed at Debate "Personal Accounts are Not About the Stock Market"

But His Privatization Plan that Would In Fact Risk Social Security Funds in Market 

Concord - While Ann McLane Kuster toured three senior centers in Concord today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party criticized Congressman Bass' longtime efforts to privatize Social Security.   

"Congressman Bass is dead wrong on this.  It was wrong when he attempted to privatize Social Security in 2005 and it's wrong now," said Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "We cannot risk the safety net that thousands of New Hampshire seniors depend on."   

Congressman Bass tried to claim in this week's debate that he did not support privatization, stating in the WMUR debate that "personal accounts are not about the stock market." 

But in fact, Congressman Bass is repeatedly on record in support of a risky plan to divert Social Security funds into private accounts invested in the stock market. 

According to a 2005 Eagle Times article, "U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., spoke in favor of privatizing a portion of Social Security benefits" and "Bass endorsed President Bush's proposal for shifting a portion of payroll taxes into private investment accounts, while acknowledging a lot of ground needs to be covered before a vote is taken."   

Recently, Congressman Bass made his support for privatization clear during a Brookline/Mason Republican committee meeting in June.  When an attendee accused him of not having supported Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, Bass replied:  "The fact of the matter is you're wrong.  I did support that."  [Brookline-Mason GOP Meeting, 6/3/10] 

Associated Press: Privatization And "Personal Accounts" Are "The Same Thing." In 2008, the Associated Press wrote a fact check on Sen. John McCain's attempt to distance himself from support for Social Security privatization. The AP wrote, "McCain and other Republicans once spoke more openly of "privatization" but realized people didn't like to hear that. Now they talk of "personal accounts." It's the same thing." [Associated Press, 6/14/08] 

AARP: Privatization v. Personalization Is The Same Concept: According to the AARP, "there is a lot of debate on the semantics rather than the substance. Essentially it doesn't matter if you call the concept 'privatization,' 'personalization,' or anything else-diverting Social Security revenues into individual accounts shifts risk to the individual and hurts the financial status of Social Security itself." [www.aarp.org/money/social_security/a2003-03-26-ssprivatization.html] 

*** FACT SHEET *** 

Bass helped write a budget that squandered the Social Security surplus. On April 14, 1999, as a member of the House Budget Committee Bass helped develop H Con Res 68 - the fiscal 2000 GOP budget resolution - which cut taxes by $778 billion and used the Social Security surplus to pay down the national debt. The House passed the bill 221-208 (CQ Vote 85, R 217-3; D 3-204). 


Bass voted to privatize Social Security. On July 25, 2001, Bass voted against the Filner, D-Calif., amendment to HR 2590 - the Treasury Appropriations bill - prohibiting the White House from implementing the Social Security privatization plan being developed by President Bush's Social Security Commission.  The amendment failed 188-238 (CQ Vote 273, R 0-217; D 187-20). 

    The Bush Commission included only proponents of privatization - and ultimately recommended three possible plans, all of which include some privatization of Social Security, which would require an increase in Social Security taxes, a return to the days of deficit spending, or a reduction in guaranteed benefits.  Max Richtman, executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said of the Commission's proposals, "Each of the proposals put forward by the commission require specific, massive cuts in defined benefits - even for those who do not opt for the voluntary accounts (USA Today, 5/15/01; Dallas Morning News, 5/7/01; National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare press release, 12/11/01; NYT, 12/11/01, 12/27/01)." 

Eagle Times, Claremont, New Hampshire

March 24, 2005

New Hampshire congressman supports Bush's Social Security plan

By Josh Adams 

CLAREMONT -- U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., spoke in favor of privatizing a portion of Social Security benefits Wednesday night and asked that voters be patient with the nation's two major political parties as they spar over the contentious issue. 

Making appearances in both Claremont and Lebanon, N.H., Bass endorsed President Bush's proposal for shifting a portion of payroll taxes into private investment accounts, while acknowledging a lot of ground needs to be covered before a vote is taken. 

"All the Democrats are united against it and all the Republicans are united for it," Bass said. 


Many residents who turned out in Claremont to hear Bass were retirees or near retirement age, and he spent most of the hour discussing Social Security.  

In Lebanon, the conversation centered on the "third rail," but also included environmental, free trade and energy related issues. 

"I support the establishment of private savings accounts because it allows low- and middle-income workers the chance to get ahead," Bass said. 

Bush is looking for support to privatize Social Security accounts as a means of offering a greater return on people's investments. There is general agreement the system will be bankrupt in decades without changes, but thus far Bush has received mixed reviews regarding his proposal. 

Annuitizing the benefits and raising the taxable income level was discussed in Claremont. A decidedly Democratic audience at the Lebanon City Hall applauded a Hanover resident's suggestion the cap should be increased from the $ 90,000 income level. In Claremont, Bass said doing so would only further stress the program. 

"There's no question that would increase the cash flow into the system," Bass said. "But the more you pay in, the more benefits you're entitled to." Raising the cap, he said, could give higher income beneficiaries $ 5,000 or $ 6,000 a month. 

Currently, the upper 20 percent of the nation's income earners rely on Social Security for only 6 percent of its retirement money, while the lowest earners in the nation's workforce receives 83 percent of its retirement package from Social Security, Bass said, pointing to numbers provided by the Social Security Administration. [Eagle Times, 3/24/05]