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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 2, 2002
3:15 PM
CONTACT:  AFL-CIO
Kathy Roeder (202) 637-5018
Coalition Releases New Analysis of Privatization, Denounces Bush Plan to Keep Social Security Privatization Secret
Union Members Call on Lawmakers to Pledge Publicly to Reject Privatization Plans
 
WASHINGTON - July 2 - A coalition of union members, retirees, workers with disabilities and survivors began a campaign today to educate the public about cuts in future Social Security benefits that would be forced by President Bush's plans to privatize America's most important family protection program. The coalition demanded that elected officials and candidates make clear to the public their position on privatizing Social Security.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson spoke from San Antonio, Texas, today on the impact of privatization for Texas. Chavez-Thompson led the coalition in demanding that lawmakers and candidates in Texas pledge publicly to reject Social Security privatization. "Nearly 50 million people in America rely on Social Security today, and many more who are working now will rely on it in the future. Before working people vote in November, they deserve straight answers from politicians about their plans for Social Security," said Chavez-Thompson.

In May 2001, President Bush created a commission charged with coming up with plans to convert at least part of Social Security into a system of private investment accounts. The commission released plans in December 2001 that would pay for privatizing Social Security by drastically cutting the program's guaranteed benefits for workers with disabilities, survivors and retirees, even if a worker chose to stay with a traditional Social Security plan. The plans also tap more than $1 trillion from the federal budget to pay for private accounts. Although the president and several Republicans ran on a 2000 campaign promise to privatize Social Security, Republican candidates this year have been advised to keep the plan to privatize Social Security quiet until after the November congressional elections, according to campaign documents.

As part of the campaign to educate the public, the Texas AFL-CIO released an analysis based on data from a national study by independent economists Peter A. Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Peter R. Orzag of the Brookings Institution on how much privatization would cut future benefits for Texas residents. From July though November, state union leaders will highlight the impact of privatization on residents of their states and insist that officials sign the pledge to reject privatization.

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