The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running ads in Indiana’s 8th and 9th Congressional District chastizing Reps. Sodrel and Hostettler for supporting the social security privatization plan that kicked off President Bush’s doomed second term.
The plan would have diverted funds paid in by younger citizens, currently being used to pay for benefits to current recipients, to private accounts. No plan was in place to fill resulting hole in social security funding, so we would have had to borrowed even more money.
The ad says:
“President Bush wants to borrow $2 trillion dollars – driving up our debt even further to privatize Social Security,” the announcer says. No one knows exactly how much the transition would have cost, but Vice President Cheney said it would be trillions.
The article went on to say:
Sarah Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that paid for the ad, said even though privatization is not up for a vote this year, “when given the political opportunity, we believe the president and the Republican majority will try to pass privatization again.”
Rep. Hostettler responded with a statement that said, “With no agenda from their leadership and a candidate with no original ideas of his own, the liberals are resorting to scaring senior citizens once again.”
I think the Ellsworth campaign captures an important point with their response:
Jay Howser, spokesman for Democrat Brad Ellsworth, Hostettler’s opponent in the November election, said both campaigns have ideas on Social Security. Ellsworth wants to protect a program that has been working for 60 years, and Hostettler wants to change it by moving money into private accounts.
“It’s a clear difference between the two,” he said.
Doing something for the sake of doing something is a bad habit among politicians. Social security has been one of the government’s more successful programs, and I think leaving well enough alone is a good strategy. Certainly, to the extent it does have problems, they are minor compared to the other problems with the federal government. First and foremost, the federal government needs to stop raiding social security to pay for general fund expenditures and it needs to pay back the money it has borrowed from Social Security.