Campaign 2010

Sep 24, 2010

Joe Heck In His Own Words - Can’t Run From His Plan to Privatize Social Security

Joe Heck in an interview with the Rebel Yell:

“I’ve never said that I support privatizing social security.”

Joe Heck in a May interview with Nevada News and Views:

“I believe that any individual should have the right to voluntarily take their portion of Social Security withholding and invest it as they deem appropriate.”

“This week, Senator Joe Heck told the Rebel Yell that he doesn’t support Social Security privatization.  Apparently Joe Heck forgot that just a few months ago he told Nevada News and Views that he does support privatizing Social Security,” said Andy Stone, Western Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “Not only does Senator Heck support undermining Social Security and threatening  seniors’ retirement stability, but, under pressure, he’s trying to pretend like that’s not the position he holds.  Southern Nevadans deserve the truth.”

Background

  • Senator Joe Heck told the Rebel Yell, “I’ve never said that I support privatizing social security.” [Rebel Yell, 9/23/10]
  • Heck conducted an interview with Nevada News and Views in which he responded to a question about how to reform Social Security by saying, “I believe that any individual should have the right to voluntarily take their portion of Social Security withholding and invest it as they deem appropriate.” [Nevada News and Views, 5/4/10]
  • According to Jon Ralston on Face to Face, “The Dems point to Heck’s statement in May that he thinks Americans should be able to invest their portion of Social Security withholding, but not the employer match.  That’s the old partial privatization idea that went nowhere.  Heck also was endorsed by a prominent Republican group that backs privatization…[Face to Face, 6/17/10]
  • 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]
  • According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact, “It was around this time that Bush and his party decided that most people didn't like the idea of "privatizing" Social Security. Pollsters found that if you didn't call Bush's plan "privatization" but instead called it "personal accounts," you could increase support for the plan significantly — even though it was the same plan.” [Politifact, 6/13/08]
  • According to AARP, “’Privatization’ is often used as shorthand for the idea of taking some of the money workers currently pay into the Social Security system and diverting it into individually owned accounts, where each worker would bear some risk for how his or her investments performed. These accounts would be ‘carved-out’ of Social Security.”

“Diverting money away from Social Security and into individual accounts is risky and involves trading some of today's inflation protected, lifetime guaranteed benefit for an account subject to market risk and not guaranteed to last a lifetime or keep pace with inflation. Inflation, market turns or loss of employment can mean that your private account may not have enough money to provide an adequate benefit.

“Unfortunately, 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.” [AARP]