John Koster, the Republican challenger in Washington’s 2nd Congressional District doesn’t like to talk about Social Security “privatization,” unless, you know, he’s convinced he’s talking to a room full of fellow Republicans.
And that was exactly the situation on February 16, 2010, when Koster not only explained how confident he was that privatization would work, but even boasted about advocating for it a decade early:
“Individual retirement accounts will work. I advocated for those ten years ago, and you look at where Medicare and Social Security and those entitlement programs are going to soon consume nearly twenty percent of our annual federal budget. Twenty percent. And phasing those individual retirement accounts in will work.”
Of course, that’s total bullshit. Social Security ran a $180 billion surplus last year—the only federal program to run a surplus—and has an accumulated reserve of over $2.4 trillion. If we do absolutely nothing at all to “fix” Social Security it can continue to pay full benefits through 2037, and benefits at only a slightly reduced level indefinitely thereafter. So when Republicans like Koster talk about Social Security being a drain on the federal budget, they’re really talking about the federal government’s obligation to pay back the money it borrowed from the Social Security trust fund.
Koster’s solution? Privatize Social Security and then gradually eliminate federal benefits for retirees. That’s what he means by “phasing in” individual retirement accounts. In other words, he’d rather push retirees into the maws of Wall Street so that he can extend the Bush tax cuts to Wall Street billionaires and the rest of the top two percent of American households.
Meaning this isn’t just class warfare, but intergenerational warfare. Something WA-02 voters of all ages might want to consider as they mark their ballots in the race between Koster and Democratic incumbent Rep. Rick Larsen