Your Oct. 28 editorial"Unfocused Issues" again misses the point and misinforms, as do all of your pronouncement on Social Security. Your call for making Social Security reform a partisan election issue is irresponsible.
The Social Security system has some problems and needs to be fixed, but not in the heat of an election campaign. The problems have to be addressed in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.
Social Security is regarded as the finest social program anywhere in the free world.
The investment community is now trying to scare younger, middle-income Americans into believing that Social Security is on the brink of bankruptcy. Far from it. Social Security is completely funded until 2029, and there will be plenty of time to address its problems thoughtfully, not during a partisan campaign.
Your statement that lobbies for those who could profit from managing the accounts have been missing from the fray is patently untrue.
Wall Street had fought against Social Security as a social insurance program since its inception. The Wall Street candidate in the 1936 campaign, Alf Landon, called it a "cruel hoax . . unjust, unworkable . . . and wastefully financed."
Large sums are being spent by the investment community in sponsoring the coalition of Wall Street money managers and others to change Social Security into yet another defined contribution plan.
Peter Peterson, the investment banker, has been regularly attacking Social Security since 1982. The Investment Company Institute, mutual fund industry lobbyist, has given huge sums of money to federal candidates. Its chairman, John Fossel of Oppenheimer, has been making the rounds on Capital Hill working on privatization.
It has been reported that Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, American Express, Alex. Brown Inc., American International Group Inc., The American Council of Life Insurance, T. Rowe Price and others have all been investing huge sums in support of Social Security privatization. State Street Bank and Trust is the point man for Wall Street in the fight for privatization. They are preparing for privatization across all their product lines.
Wall Street is leading the campaign for its own selfish reasons.
They are salivating over the 130 million accounts they would get if they succeed in changing Social Security from a social insurance program that provides a reliable predictable base of income for millions of retirees, survivors, and the disabled into still another private savings scheme.
I am still calling for the investment community to come to their senses, give up their dreams of riches earned off the backs of working people and to participate in the solution of the Social Security problem while preserving its principles.
Social Security's administrative costs is less than 1% of the assets it oversees.
Private companies charge much more.
In the case of small accounts like the 130 million new accounts under the "privateers" plan, the investment community thinks of the huge amounts that they would rack in.
It is these "visions of sugar plums" that drives them in their goal to dismantle Social Security and turn it into a pot of gold for Wall Street.
I am surprised that you do not know about the huge sums Wall Street is spending for lobbying and other purposes in its efforts to change Social Security form a social insurance program into a treasure chest for itself.
United Federation of Teachers
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