WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in response to reported remarks by Office of Management and Budget Director Josh Bolten to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today:
“Democrats are committed to strengthening and modernizing Social Security and we believe that our nation’s businesses are critical to this effort. So I urge business leaders to cut through the rhetoric that they heard from Director Bolten today and Vice President Cheney yesterday and pay close attention to the details instead.
“Director Bolten claimed today that not immediately reforming Social Security could have ‘major effects on the economy’ and that the $2 trillion in privatization costs should be counted as a wash because of the ‘$10 trillion’ long-term projected shortfall.
“The $10 trillion shortfall cited by Mr. Bolten comes from projecting Social Security into infinity and is intended to deceive. It does not change the fact that $2 trillion more debt will hurt the economy and take away from other priorities.
“This is a continuation of the Administration’s fear-mongering effort to create an immediate crisis where there is none and its persistent use of fuzzy math to hide deficits. Just today, there was a newspaper report that the Administration has launched a systematic campaign ‘to use the politics of fear to build support’ for their Social Security privatization plan. The Administration’s fear-mongering is completely counter-productive and only leads to questions about the White House’s motivation.
“The Administration’s plan to borrow $2 trillion, on top of record deficits, to finance private accounts would most certainly hurt the economy and preclude the government from investing in other business priorities. And that cost is only for the first decade, the price would continue to mount. Meanwhile, the White House has yet to admit that private accounts don’t solve the long-term Social Security funding gap.
“Director Bolten also tried to pretend that there are those who would ‘do nothing.’ Let there be no mistake, Democrats are ready to sit down at the table tomorrow with the White House and hash out a bipartisan solution. I hope that business leaders will encourage the Bush Administration to find a long-term bipartisan solution that will protect seniors, the economy and America’s businesses for future generations to come.”