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Monday, February 14, 2005

Politics: A Small Token of Thanks

Sen. Barbara Boxer, Washington D.C., 2/14/05, via DailyKos.com Posted by Hello

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) is off to an admirable start with the 109th Congress. She was the lone senator to stand with Rep. Tubbs and Rep. Conyers in protest of voting irregularities in the 2004 Presidential election. Their efforts began a long necessary national discussion of voting reform. Sen. Boxer continued to distinguish herself in the confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Condelezza Rice and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Sen. Boxer held Sec. Rice to account for past contradictory statements regarding national security pre-9/11 and this Administration’s conduct of the War in Iraq. Sen. Boxer implored A.G. Gonzales to repudiate pro-torture, anti-Geneva Convention sentiments expressed in memos from the Dept. of Justice. Finally, Sen. Boxer’s recent Statement on Social Security illuminated the issues, scrubbing the seemingly intentional muddied confusion wrought by this Administration. As a small token of thanks, the DailyKos community started a campaign to send Sen. Boxer roses for Valentine’s Day. Daily Kos commenter, Stacy Davies, organized the effort and today, 4500 roses arrived at Sen. Boxer’s Washington office. Sen. Boxer thanked the online community for the roses, asked that we also remember our military personnel serving oversees unable to celebrate this day with their loved ones, and had the roses distributed to soldiers recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Below is the text of Sen. Boxer’s Statement On Social Security:

February 3, 2005

Washington, D.C.– Today, the Democratic women of the Senate spoke out on the Senate floor on the topic of Social Security. The following is a summary of Senator Barbara Boxer’s remarks:

In the battle over Social Security the sides are becoming very clear. We are either on the sides of the people, young and old, or if you follow the money, on the side of Wall Street.

Wall Street is going to get billions of dollars if President Bush is successful, and it will come straight out of the pockets of working families.

I used to be a stockbroker and I have seen the market go up and down. I have seen elation and I have seen devastation. One thing that I never saw was a sense of security that the stock market was going to be there necessarily when you need it to be there.

Now this year is Social Security’s 70th birthday. It has been enormously successful. Before Social Security over half of all seniors were poor. Today, 10 percent live in poverty, and that is too much. We want to take care of that. What we don’t want to do is go back to the days when 50 percent of our seniors were living in poverty.

The Democratic women are going to use every tool at our disposal to make sure the people of our country don’t end up in poverty.

Certainly we know that Social Security needs adjustments – we did a major adjustment in 1983 when I was over on the House side. In a bipartisan fashion, we – Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and President Ronald Reagan – worked to strengthen Social Security. Now, more than 20 years later, we can do that again.

The fact is, we have to strengthen Social Security, not destroy it. Social Security is not a government handout. It is a promise we make to the working men and women of this country: you pay into the system during your working years and the payout will be there in your retirement years.

Unfortunately, President Bush’s solution is to dismantle Social Security. He can call it anything he wants. He can say he is not going to change it for those who are already on it. What about those who are not already on it? Don’t they have a right to have this insurance program that has been there for so many years?

In 1978, when a young George W. Bush was running for Congress, he said that Social Security would be broke by 1988 unless people were allowed to invest the money themselves. He was wrong then, and he is wrong now.

He was wrong then because he underestimated the bipartisan will of Congress and President Reagan to keep Social Security for current and future generations. Instead of seeking to follow the path of Ronald Reagan by strengthening Social Security in a bipartisan way, he is seeking a path plotted over 20 years ago to destroy Social Security.

And to try to get America to follow him down that path, he is misleading the American people by calling it a “crisis.” There are adjustments that could be made in the system, but this is hardly a crisis.

According to the Social Security Trustees, there is enough money to pay full benefits until 2042. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, there is enough money to pay full benefits until 2052.

So while President Bush is traveling around the country on Air Force One telling people there is a "crisis" in Social Security, he is giving lip service to the immediate crises right under his nose.

What the about the crisis of our budget deficit? This will be the third year in a row that the deficit has reached an all-time high – well over $400 billion.

What about the crisis of the trade deficit and the plummeting of the dollar?

What about the crisis of the IOU that is now given to our children and grandchildren the day they are born? As Senator Reid has said, there is a birth tax on every child born today.

What about the crisis of the more than 40 million Americans without health insurance?

What about the crisis of the 1 in 4 million Americans, including 10 million children, who live within five miles of a toxic waste dump, wreaking havoc with health of our

What about the crisis of being underprepared for a domestic terrorist attack because we have not invested enough in rail security, port security, aviation security, nuclear plant security, and chemical plant security?

What about the crisis in after school where hundreds of thousands of children are left out because the President has frozen funding for three consecutive years?

Privatizing Social Security will add another $2 trillion of debt in the next 10 years. This scheme will bankrupt our country. It is estimated that it will take 60 years to get out of the debt created by privatizing Social Security.

Under the President’s plan, Social Security benefits would be cut by 45 percent. The average yearly payment would be only $5,700. Who can live on that? 35 percent below the poverty line is where people will be if the President’s plan goes into effect.

We think Social Security plus is a place we can start– keep Social Security and strengthen it, just as Ronald Reagan did. We will work together to do that. I think we can solve this problem and keep one of the greatest programs every known in the history of country.
If I could vote for you, Senator, I would. Thanks again.

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