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2005-01-12-Lowery-Schakowsky-Social Security 

Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


Keeping up with Jewish officeholders
Lowey and Schakowsky fault
Bush Social Security plan's
effects on women, seniors
,  Jan. 12, 2005

U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) in separate statements have criticized the Bush administration’s plans to privatize Social Security, saying such a program could hurt both women and seniors.

In a statement issued today (Wednesday, Jan. 12), Lowey said women would face “significant pitfalls” if Social Security were privatized.

”For example,” she said in a letter co-signed by 34 other women legislators, “compared to the average man, women work fewer years outside of the home, earn less per year and live longer after retiring. All of these factors mean that women depend more on guaranteed, lifelong Social Security benefits. With less to invest in any privatization plan, women could lose critical cost-of-living adjustments and, worst of all, even outlive their benefits.

“Under the current program, seniors receive a set benefit every month. However, under a privatization plan, retirees would be put in the role of fortune teller – they’d have to estimate how long they think they’ll live and set the expenses accordingly. Because women live longer than men, this would require them to stretch already-reduced benefits even thinner. The President has not acknowledged this flaw in his plan and has poised no solution,” said Lowey. 

Schakowsky, in a release issued Tuesday (Jan. 11), said “Privatization is the only crisis facing Social Security today. Social Security doesn’t need radical changes that will drain the trust fund, require $2 trillion in new borrowing over the next ten years, raise interest rates and – worst of all – reduce guaranteed benefits for retirees, disabled workers, spouses and dependents.” 

The Illinois Democrat cited a state- by-state analysis conducted by the AFL-CIO, which found that retirees in her state would see their monthly benefits drop by $408, making their annual benefit only $5736. “That’s $2500 less than the poverty level,” she said.

She said that the Congressional Budget Office “has found that Social Security can pay 100 percent of all projected benefits through 2052, 80 percent after that time.”

                                                      —Donald H. Harrison