WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning after a press conference on Social Security held at the White House:
“Democrats are absolutely committed to strengthening and modernizing Social Security so that our national contract with America’s workers endures for future generations of seniors. Democrats fought to create the program nearly 70 years ago, and we are ready to work together to safeguard its future.
“But today, President Bush did himself more harm than good by again claiming that Social Security is in ‘crisis,’ when the numbers show that he is exaggerating the extent of the challenge. The President’s fear-mongering is counter-productive, and only leads many Democrats and seniors to question his willingness to engage in an honest dialogue based on the reality that exists not the reality the White House wants to create. This rhetoric makes it appear that the motive is to achieve the long-time Republican goal of dismantling the program rather than protect it for future generations.
“Already, the Bush White House is contemplating benefit cuts while failing to show how private accounts will solve the program’s long-term challenges. In fact, the transition costs to private accounts – an estimated $2 trillion in the first decade alone – will only drive us further into debt and leave our children and grandchildren holding the bag at the same time that they receive smaller Social Security benefits. It’s no wonder that even many Congressional Republicans, who already are uncomfortable with the trillions of dollars in debt created by this Congress and president, are getting nervous about the President’s plan.
“Social Security clearly faces long-term challenges due to the sheer number of retirees in the Baby Boom generation, and those challenges must be addressed. But this issue demands Presidential leadership and true bipartisanship. Sooner or later, I hope the President realizes that exaggeration and hyperbole undercut both.”