CHN: Privatization Message Falls Flat

Following on the President’s tour of key states to promote the partial privatization of Social Security, several of his allies in Congress spent the February recess in their districts meeting with constituents to discuss the future of the program. USAction, the Campaign for America’s Future and other organizations organized rallies and events to demonstrate nationwide support for the Social Security program as it currently exists, and members of Congress found their constituents cool to any proposals that would fundamentally restructure the program.
Some members of Congress who are usually the President’s allies appear to be fearful to support the President’s privatization proposal. As the Washington Post reports:

Such wariness appears widespread. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) is home with constituents this week but is not holding meetings on Social Security “because we’ve been getting a steady inflow of opinions” — mostly opposing the president’s plan — said his spokeswoman, Kristen Quigley. “He wants to wait until details are hammered out before he makes a statement,” she said.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told the Associated Press: “I’m looking at it but I’m not sold on it.” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) told reporters earlier this month: “There are a lot of unanswered questions and until I have the answers to them, I am still in the ‘withholding judgment’ category.” Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.), launching a Senate bid this week, is “waiting for more details” before taking a stand on the Bush plan, spokeswoman Anne Mason said yesterday.

USAction, the Campaign for America’s Future, AFSCME and the AFL-CIO and other groups have banded together to form a new organization focusing on maintaining Social Security in its current form. The organization, Americans United to Protect Social Security, reportedly plans to raise between $25 and $50 million to organize support for maintaining the program without any fundamental restructuring.

Social Security