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« on: September 16, 2008, 06:21:18 pm »


When it comes to issues affecting our aging population, once again Sen. John McCain has proven himself out of touch, aloof and in league with President Bush. He supported Bush’s plan to risk our Social Security benefits through privatization, voted to raise the Medicare eligibility age and missed a critical vote to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors.

McCain Voted Against Providing Health Insurance for Retirees of Bankrupt Steel Companies. McCain voted against a measure to provide temporary health insurance assistance to retirees of bankrupt steel companies. [S. Amdt. 3433, Vote #117, 5/21/02]

McCain Voted for Bush’s 2006 Social Security Privatization Plan. In 2006, McCain voted for the Social Security Reserve Fund. The proposal would shift Social Security’s annual surpluses into a reserve account that would be converted into risky private accounts. [SCR 83, Vote #68, 3/16/06; SCR 83, Vote #68, 3/16/06]

In 2000 McCain Wanted to Divert Social Security Money to Private Accounts. The Wall Street Journal reported that “[a] centerpiece of a McCain presidential bid in 2000 was a plan to divert a portion of Social Security payroll taxes to fund private accounts, much as President Bush proposed unsuccessfully.” The plan would put workers’ retirement money into the risky market and reduce the amount of Social Security payments they would receive from the government. The plan would undermine the Social Security system. [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]

McCain STILL Proposes Privatizing Social Security—Despite What His Website Says. McCain told the Wall Street Journal he still backs a system of private retirement accounts that he supported in 2000 and President Bush pushed unsuccessfully. The Journal reported he “disowned” details of a proposal on his 2008 campaign website that says he would “supplement” the existing Social Security system with personally managed accounts. But when asked about the position change he denied it and promised to change the website to reflect his true position. “I’m totally in favor of personal savings accounts… As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it—along the lines  that President Bush proposed,” McCain told the Journal.[Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08; Campaign Website, accessed 3/3/08]

McCain Might Raise the Retirement Age and Reduce Cost-of-Living Adjustments. “[T]he McCain campaign says the candidate intends to keep Social Security solvent by reducing the growth in benefits over the coming decades to match projected growth in payroll tax revenues. Among the options are extending the retirement age to 68 and reducing cost-of-living adjustments, but the campaign hasn’t made any final decisions. ‘You can’t keep promises made to retirees,’ said Mr. Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic aide.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]

McCain Supported Deep Cuts That Put Social Security Benefits at Risk. In 2005, McCain supported a Social Security plan that would require deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt. That same year, McCain voted against prioritizing Social Security solvency over tax cuts for the wealthy. [SCR 18, Vote #49, 3/15/05; S. Amdt. 144 to SCR 18, Vote #47, 3/15/05]

McCain Voted to Use Social Security Money to Pay Off National Debt. In 2003, McCain voted to use Social Security funds to pay off federal debt. [HJR 51, Vote #201, 5/23/03]

McCain Voted Against Protecting Social Security Solvency with a Strategic Reserve. In 2001, McCain opposed reducing tax cuts for the wealthy to create a strategic reserve for Social Security. In the same year, McCain voted against a proposal to create “lockboxes” to protect Social Security and Medicare. [H.R. 1836, Senate RPC, Vote #145, 5/22/01; S. Amdt. 29, Vote #22, 3/13/01]

McCain Voted to Replace Social Security with Risk-Based Investments. In 1998, McCain voted twice to replace Social Security’s guaranteed benefits with income from risk-based private investments. [SCR 86, Vote #56, 4/1/98; SCR 86, Vote #77, 4/1/98]

McCain Voted to Cut Billions from Medicare. McCain voted for the budget reconciliation bill that reduced spending on Medicare by $6.4 billion by requiring that beneficiariespurchase medical equipment and cutting payments to home health care providers. [S. 1932, Vote #363, 12/21/05; Congressional Quarterly, 12/26/05]

McCain Missed Critical Vote to Bargain for Lower Prescription Drug Prices for Seniors. McCain missed a vote to amend Medicare Part D so Medicare could negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, just like the Department of Veterans Affairs does. Prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D are 50 percent higher than those for veterans because the VA can bargain. [S. 3, Vote #132, 4/18/07; New York Times, 4/19/07; Families USA, 1/07]

McCain Voted for Steep Increases in Seniors’ Medicare Premiums. McCain voted against protecting seniors from steep increases in their Medicare Part B premiums. Seniors faced the premium increase because Congress increased Medicare payments to physicians but failed to enact savings from Medicare payments to private health plans. [S. 1932, Vote #287, 11/3/05]

McCain Voted to Raise Medicare Eligibility Age. In 1997, McCain voted to support provisions that would increase the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 and impose a new $5 co-payment for home health care visits. [S. 947, Vote #112, 6/24/97; S. Amdt. 445, Vote #115, 6/25/97]

Paid for by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) Political Contributions Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
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Janilee Wolff
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 12:50:24 am »

John NeffingerPosted September 16, 2008 | 08:31 PM (EST)
Hello? If McCain Had His Way, That'd Be Our Social Security Money Wall St. is Losing

What do we democrats have to say about the mess on Wall Street?

Today Obama said it proves that the Republican economic philosophy has failed, and I heard him mock McCain for calling for a commission because "we know how we got into this mess." Now some people think about things like "economic philosophy" a lot, and many have at least a general notion of how we got into this mess. But even though everybody cares about how much money ends up in their pockets, most people are understandably a little fuzzy about the policies and philosophies and market forces behind our very complex economy. And to further confuse the issue, McCain is also saying something about reform, and taking on "fat cats," and accusing Obama of being just as cozy with these Wall Streeters as anyone else. The upshot so far is that slightly more voters trust John McCain to handle the economy than trust Barack Obama.

As it happens, though, not that long ago we had a rare political moment in this country, a moment where the public sat up and took notice of economic policy -- and spoke out and made its voice heard too. When George W. Bush made it to term #2, he decided to try to privatize social security to reward his supporters on Wall Street with a new source of capital, customers, and fees. (Those would be the same people whose firms are now cratering under the weight of the bad debt they recklessly took on while Republican regulators looked the other way). But as it turned out, we Americans were not about to let our elected representatives turn over our social security taxes to Wall Street financiers to **** with if it meant losing the guaranteed income that has allowed millions upon millions of American seniors to live out their sunset years with at least a basic measure of dignity.

But while ordinary Americans spoke out, John McCain stood with Bush (hugged him awkwardly in public, even), against the American people. In fact, just six months ago, McCain again let slip his fondness for privatization.

I have been scratching my head why this has not been talked about more, especially since Obama has been having trouble winning votes among seniors. There may well be some good reason I'm missing why it hasn't been a top argument thus far.

But now that you can't look at a newspaper or TV screen without seeing the mayhem on Wall St, it's time to remind Americans what the world would look like if John McCain was in charge of our economic policy. Plenty of people are losing plenty of their retirement savings as it is. But if we had let Bush and McCain privatize social security, some of those people would be losing a lot more. And a lot of other people with less retirement savings would be hurting even more, because they depend on social security to cover basic needs.

This is something Americans understand: social security is secure, and the stock market is anything but. There are few more personal or dramatic ways to illustrate McCain's terrible judgment than to imagine the nightmare scenario so many Americans would face if McCain and Bush had gotten their way on this -- or if McCain were to get his way as President.

When Wall Street's woes are the top story, this should be our top talking point.

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