SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - September 22, 2004)

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[Page S9534]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS

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SENATE RESOLUTION 432--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT CONGRESS 
SHOULD REJECT SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION PROPOSALS, INCLUDING THOSE 
    THAT REQUIRE DEEP CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS, SUCH AS THE 
        PROPOSALS OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION

  Mr. CORZINE (for himself, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Daschle) 
submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee 
on Finance:

                              S. Res. 432

       Whereas Social Security is based on a promise to the 
     American people: if you work hard and contribute to Social 
     Security, you will be able to retire and live in dignity;
       Whereas Social Security is the primary source of income for 
     two-thirds of American seniors;
       Whereas Social Security benefits for retired workers 
     average only about $900 per month;
       Whereas $900 per month is insufficient to maintain a decent 
     standard of living in many parts of the United States, 
     especially for seniors with relatively high health care 
     costs;
       Whereas in 2001, President George W. Bush created the 
     President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security 
     (referred to in this resolution as the ``Bush Social Security 
     Commission''), naming as Commission members only those who 
     advocated Social Security privatization, and mandating that 
     the proposals put forward by the Commission include 
     privatization of Social Security;
       Whereas the Bush Social Security Commission produced Social 
     Security privatization proposals that required deep cuts in 
     Social Security benefits;
       Whereas the Bush Social Security Commission's proposed 
     changes could reduce Social Security benefits to future 
     retirees by as much as 46 percent;
       Whereas under the Bush Social Security Commission's 
     proposal, the cuts in Social Security benefits would apply to 
     all seniors, not just those seniors who choose to participate 
     in privatized accounts;
       Whereas the cuts in Social Security benefits could be even 
     deeper if individuals do shift funds to privatized accounts;
       Whereas privatization advocates attempt to justify cuts in 
     Social Security benefits by pointing to future projected 
     shortfalls in the Social Security trust fund, but diversion 
     of payroll tax revenues from the trust fund into privatized 
     accounts would substantially accelerate the date by which the 
     Social Security trust fund becomes insolvent;
       Whereas in order to avoid accelerating the insolvency of 
     the Social Security trust fund, the Bush Social Security 
     Commission was forced to propose that the Federal Government 
     incur as much as $4,700,000,000,000 in Federal debt (in 
     today's dollars) by 2041;
       Whereas in response to the Bush Social Security 
     Commission's report, 50 members of the Senate wrote to 
     President Bush, urging him to reject the Commission's 
     proposed cuts in Social Security benefits;
       Whereas the President has not complied with the request of 
     the Senators and instead has reiterated his intention to move 
     toward the privatization of Social Security; and
       Whereas the deep cuts in Social Security benefits proposed 
     by the Bush Social Security Commission could jeopardize the 
     financial security of millions of Americans: Now, therefore, 
     be it
       Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that Congress 
     should reject Social Security privatization proposals, 
     including those that require deep cuts in Social Security 
     benefits, such as the proposals of President Bush's Social 
     Security Commission.

  Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, today, along with Senator Daschle, 
Senator Baucus and Senator Durbin, I am submitting a resolution that 
calls on the Congress to reject Social Security privatization plans, 
including those that require deep cuts in guaranteed benefits, such as 
the proposals by President Bush's Social Security Commission.
  For nearly 70 years, Social Security has reflected the best of 
America's values. Social Security promises Americans that if you work 
hard, pay your taxes, and play by the rules, you will be able to retire 
and live in dignity.
  Social Security benefits are far from lavish. The average retiree 
receives only about $900 a month. That doesn't go far in many parts of 
the country--certainly not in New Jersey. Unfortunately, even the 
benefits promised under current law are now at risk.
  President Bush says he wants to move toward privatization. But what 
he does not say is that shifting funds from the Social Security Trust 
Fund into privatized accounts almost inevitably leads to deep cuts in 
guaranteed benefits.
  To appreciate the depth of the cuts that flow from privatization, one 
need only consider the privatization plans developed by President 
Bush's own Social Security Commission. That commission included only 
proponents of privatization selected by President Bush, and it 
developed privatization plans that call for deep benefits cuts. 
According to the nonpartisan actuaries at the Social Security 
Administration, those cuts would exceed 25 percent for some current 
workers. In the future, seniors could face a 45 percent cut in 
benefits.
  The President likes to argue that privatization is about choice. But 
there would be no choice about these cuts--they would harm every 
senior. In fact, those who chose to participate in privatized accounts 
would see their benefits cut even deeper.
  That is why, in response to the Bush Commission's report, 50 members 
of the Senate wrote to President Bush, urging him to reject the 
Commission's proposed cuts in benefits. Unfortunately, we have yet to 
receive a response.
  Privatization advocates try to justify cuts in Social Security by 
pointing to future projected shortfalls in the Trust Fund. But 
diverting payroll taxes from the Trust Fund only makes matters worse, 
and would substantially accelerate the date by which the Fund would 
become insolvent. That is why privatization almost inevitably leads to 
deep cuts in benefits.
  It is critical that this issue be fully discussed now--before the 
election. So I will be looking for an opportunity to bring this 
resolution before the Senate before the end of the year. I hope we can 
kill this radical idea before it has a chance to get off the ground.
  We must never accept any plan that takes the security out of Social 
Security.

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