Campaign 2010

Jan 18, 2005

Bush Backs Rep. Kennedy’s Privatization Plan

DCCC Press

Jan 18, 2005

Bush Backs Rep. Kennedy's Privatization Plan

So why is Kennedy now running away from his support for privatizing Social Security?

GOP Rep. Mark R. Kennedy (MN-06) should be happy. After all, the Bush Administration has begun a campaign to privatize Social Security and cut benefits just as Kennedy asked President Bush's Social Security Commission to recommend a few years ago.

But instead of taking credit for his role in creating the Bush Administration's privatization scheme, Kennedy is trying to hide his past support for it.

Yesterday, Kennedy told the Star Tribune, "If you don't have a specific proposal into which you can say 'Here's what it means, ' I don't know that you can say that you're for [privatization] or against it." In fact, the paper described Kennedy "among the most cautious of the congressional Republicans from Minnesota" on the Social Security issue. [Star Tribune, 1/17/05, "Republicans Wary as Bush Forges Ahead"]

Just a few years ago, however, Kennedy backed a very specific plan to privatize Social Security:

Back in 2001, Kennedy co-signed a letter to the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security urging support for privatization. Simmons wrote to the Commission: "Social Security reform must offer younger workers the opportunity to improve their rates of return using personal retirement accounts." ["DeMint Letter" to The Social Security Reform Commission, 5/24/01]

"President Bush wants to implement Mark Kennedy's privatization scheme, but now he's flip-flopped and can't say whether he supports it or not. Minnesota Seniors depend on Social Security, but can't they rely on Republicans like Mark Kennedy who won't take a position on privatizing it, " said DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (IL). "First, Kennedy urged the President's Commission to privatize Social Security. Now Kennedy says he can't take a stance on Bush's push for privatization. How can seniors in towns like St. Cloud trust Mark Kennedy with their Social Security checks when there's no telling what his next position will be?"