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Joe Sestak Joins Lead Seniors Advocates to Blast Social Security Privatization Scam

Joe Sestak Joins Lead Seniors Advocates to Blast Social Security Privatization Scam

Joe Warns of Risk to Social Security if Toomey and Other Extremists Like Delaware’s O’Donnell are Elected

MEDIA, Pa. – It is critical that we honor our commitment to America’s seniors by ensuring that their retirement security is not endangered by Congressman Toomey’s privatization of Social Security, U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak said today.

Speaking with reporters on a conference call, Admiral Sestak said the answer to addressing the long-term solvency of Social Security is not in allowing Wall Street to gamble with taxpayers’ dollars, especially as Americans continue to struggle through the recession. Privatizing the system like Congressman Toomey wants would remove seniors’ security by having their retirement risked in the volatile stock market.

“You see the ten percent of seniors who live in poverty today and the 45 percent that would live without Social Security and you realize the risk in letting Wall Street actually gamble this,” said Joe. “What happens if this goes down? That’s the real issue here. This doesn’t solve the solvency issue at all.”

Joe added that Congressman Toomey is not alone in his dangerous views. Just last night, extreme Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell became the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware, making her the latest in a string of extremist candidates created by the movement started by Congressman Toomey and his Club for Growth to push out moderate Republicans.

“If these candidates are elected, Toomey will undoubtedly be their ring leader and there agenda will be devastating for Pennsylvania,” said Joe. “I assure you that privatizing Social Security will top their list.”

Admiral Sestak was joined on the call by former Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and member of the group’s PAC, and Jean Friday, a retired steelworker and president of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans

Kennelly said privatization would do nothing to address the long-term solvency of Social Security, but would add an estimated $4.9 billion to the federal deficit.

“Privatization is not dead but it should be,” Kennelly told reporters. “The American people do not believe privatization should happen because after all of the losses in pensions and 401Ks, the last thing we need to do is to jeopardize Social Security while continuously passing an increasing debt to our children.”

Friday noted that privatizing Social Security would be a windfall of billions for Wall Street that would only harm seniors’ retirement funds. A retiree in October 2008 during the beginnings of the economic collapse, for example, would have lost $26,000 because of the market turmoil.

“With the demise of defined benefit pensions and the diminished ability to save for the future, we realize that Social Security will be their one solid source of retirement benefits,” said Friday. “We must make sure that Social Security is there for them and work to improve its benefits. Gambling on their future is not an option.”

Joe said there are a number of ways to ensure the solvency of Social Security without risking seniors’ retirement savings in privatization. As one example of how to address solvency without harming current benefits, a return to the tax rates of the Clinton era (when we created 23 million jobs) for the top two percent of earners – the wealthiest of Americans who received the majority of the tax cuts of the Bush era (when we created zero net jobs) – would cover Social Security’s shortfall over the next 75 years.

“It’s going to take the courage of one’s conviction to say ‘yes, we should be addressing this.’ There are certainly ways of doing this without harming our seniors by risking it on the stock market,” said Joe.

Tomorrow, seniors and leaders in the senior community will hold simultaneous demonstrations in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Scranton and Allentown in protest of Congressman Toomey’s privatization plan.

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