Campaign 2010

Mar 15, 2005

Capito Won’t Tell West Virginia Families the Ugly Details of the Bush Privatization Plan

DCCC Press

Mar 15, 2005

Capito Won't Tell West Virginia Families the Ugly Details of the Bush Privatization Plan

Benefits to be slashed to more than 70,000 persons with disabilities in WV and Shelley still won't say where she stands on Social Security.

With President Bush barnstorming the country campaigning for his Social Security privatization plan, pressure continues to mount on GOP lawmaker Shelley Moore Capito to come clean with her constituents and announce whether or not she will support the president's plan to privatize Social Security. Experts agree that the president's plan to privatize Social Security would drastically cut benefits to recipients but incredibly, Shelley Moore Capito still can't decide who comes first: the West Virginians who depend upon their Social Security benefits, or the White House and her national party.

West Virginia has a huge number of Social Security recipients, and a large population of persons with disabilities who rely on Social Security disability benefits. More than 70,000 persons with disabilities live throughout the state and rely on Social Security, and in the 2nd district alone, that number is more than 20,000 persons. President Bush's privatization plan will slash those payments by up to 46%. [SSA].

With numbers like these, how can Shelley Moore Capito, the only member of the West Virginia congressional delegation not to come out against the privatization plan, stay silent?

Today, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (IL) challenged Capito to come clean with West Virginians with disabilities about the consequences of Social Security privatization and explain how she would protect West Virginia families from benefit cuts.

"West Virginia families deserve to know the facts about what privatization will mean for Social Security: a massive increase in the financial burden on the program, and a big cut in guaranteed benefits, " said DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (IL). "The benefit cuts will be particularly devastating to the families of the more than 70,000 West Virginia residents with disabilities who rely on Social Security today to make ends meet."

Shelley Moore Capito used to say she was against privatizing Social Security, and that she would protect West Virginians from benefit cuts:

  • In 2002, Capitol told the AARP she opposed privatization. In response to the question, "Do you support or oppose replacing part of Social Security with individual accounts?" Capito responded, "I oppose the Privatization of Social Security." [AARP, 2002 Candidate Questionnaire].
  • Under attack by Democrats that same year, Shelley Moore Capito reiterated her opposition to Social Security privatization, telling reporters that she was "opposed to putting Social Security funds in the stock market and investing it willy-nilly, like Russian roulette." [Washington Post, 9/13/02]

Those were strong statements in 2002, but now Shelley Moore Capito won't say where she stands on Social Security - and the West Virginians who believed her in 2002 are starting to worry that the Bush privatization plan could become the Bush/Capito privatization plan.

The Ugly Details of the Privatization Plan That Shelley Moore Capito Won't Oppose:

What would happen to the more than 70,000 persons with disabilities in West Virginia who get Social Security Disability Benefits under a Bush/Capito Privatization Plan?

In West Virginia, more than 70,000 families of disabled workers received federally administered Social Security disability benefits in December 2003. If a Bush/Capito privatization plan is enacted, however, the assistance those families are receiving will drop dramatically. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, guaranteed benefits under privatization would be cut by 46 percent for many beneficiaries. [CBPP, 1/28/05; <>

Bush/Capito Plan Would Add $4.5 Trillion to National Debt in First 20 Years

The actual cost of the privatization plan would be much higher than the White House estimates and would add more than $4.9 trillion to the debt over its first 20 years. Over the first ten years that the plan was in effect (2009-18), it would add about $1.4 trillion to the debt. Over the next ten years (2019- 28), it would add about $3.5 trillion more to the debt. All told, the plan would add $4.9 trillion (14 percent of GDP in 2028) to the debt over its first 20 years. [CBPP, "An Overview of Issues Raised by the Administration's Social Security Plan, 2/7/05; <>].

Bush/Capito Plan Would Do Nothing to Extend Long-Term Solvency of S.S.

Even White House officials acknowledge that the Bush plan will do nothing to restore solvency to Social Security. According to the LA Times, "In a significant shift in his rationale for the accounts, Bush dropped his claim that they would help solve Social Security's fiscal problems - a link he sometimes made during last year's presidential campaign [LA Times, 2/3/05]