Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Rewriting History for a Less Secure Future

We cannot allow the revisionists to go unchallenged as they attack Social Security. I realize the White House wants to bolster lackluster reviews of Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. However, the argument that FDR would have supported the privatization plan is an absolute distortion of the facts.

Fox News Managing Editor, Brit Hume, fired the open shot in battle to rewrite history, but others are following him into the fight. Several Republican members of congress and a hand-full of other commentators are repeating the lies. Together, in the hopes of selling a rotten plan to the public, they have created the lie that FDR supported privatization.

It should come as no surprise that Fox News would be leading the revision war. Fox is know for being less than accurate in their commentary, but even by Fox standards, it is sinking low to rearrange FDR's own words in the attempt to destroy his legacy.

Yes, FDR talked about voluntary contributory annuities as the third leg of the plan he laid out for Congress in 1935. Below are his words, in the context he intended when he explained his plan to Congress:

"In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, noncontributory old-age pensions for those who are now to old build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps 30 years to come fund will have to be provided by the states and the federal government to meet these pensions.

"Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations.

"Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age." This is the section Hume pulled out phrases in order to distort the meaning. He argues that FDR intended to have the system include private accounts all along, but if you read the following line, FDR went on to say, "It is proposed that the federal government assume one-half of the cost of the old pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."

What FDR said is quite simply that eventually the annuities should replace the government portion of the plan. In other words the interest on accumulated funds was to make Social Security self-supporting NOT kept in individual accounts for private citizens. We must not let Republicans rewrite history to leave us with a more insecure our future.


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