Campaign 2010

May 08, 2014

FACT CHECK: Doug Ose Falsely Claims He Opposes Privatizing Social Security

In the recently released California voter guide, Doug Ose falsely claimed he’d “oppose any proposal to privatize social security.”  In fact, Doug Ose already had his chance to protect seniors and failed during his first term in Congress – by supporting a reckless scheme to gamble on Wall Street the Social Security benefits that seniors have earned.

“Voters already rejected Doug Ose’s comeback bid once because of his failed record in Congress and his support for privatizing Social Security – and they are poised to do it again,” said Tyrone Gayle of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “Not only does Doug Ose support undermining Social Security and threatening seniors’ retirement stability, but, worst of all, he’s trying to pretend like that’s not the position he’s held for years. Californians deserve the truth.”

BACKGROUND:

Ose: “I Oppose Any Proposal to Privatize Social Security.” In 2014, Ose submitted a candidate statement for the sample ballot that highlighted his opposition to privatization of Social Security. Ose: “And lastly, I oppose any proposal to privatize Social Security. Seniors need to be assured that their retirement savings and Medicare are secure. They’ve earned it.” [Sacramento County Sample Ballot, accessed 5/08/14]

…But Voted for Taking $600 Billion from Social Security to Pay for Privatization. In 2001, Ose voted in favor of a budget that critics said used about $600 billion of the Social Security surplus to fund new privatized retirement accounts for stock market investment. The budget passed 222-205. [H Con Res 83, Vote #70, 3/28/01; House Budget Committee, Democratic Caucus, 3/27/01; Rep. Bentsen, Congressional Record, page. 4849, 3/28/01]

…And Claimed that the Plan was “Responsible” and “Protect[ed] Social Security.” In 2001, Ose called the Bush budget a “responsible budget” that “protect[ed] Social Security… and preserve[d] Medicare.”  “This is a blueprint of a ‘New Beginning’ for this country and I look forward to working with President Bush on delivering these priorities,” Ose said. [The Reporter, 3/01/01]

Voted Against Amendment that Would have Stopped Social Security Privatization. In 2001, Ose voted against an amendment that would have stopped the White House from implementing the Social Security privatization plan being developed by President Bush’s Social Security Commission. A vote in favor of the amendment was to deny fiscal 2002 funding to advance the commission report. The Bush Commission recommended three possible plans, all of which privatized Social Security. Privatizing Social Security would require an increase in Social Security taxes or a return to the days of deficit spending, or a reduction in guaranteed benefits to pay for transition costs in the trillions. The amendment was defeated 188-238. [HR 2590, Vote #273, 7/25/01; USA Today, 5/15/01; Dallas Morning News, 5/07/01]

EVP of National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: Each Proposal would “Require Specific, Massive Cuts in Defined Benefits – Even for Those who Do Not Opt for Voluntary Accounts.” In December 2001, Max Richtman, executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said of the Commission’s proposals, “Each of the proposals put forward by the commission require specific, massive cuts in defined benefits - even for those who do not opt for the voluntary accounts.” [National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare press release, 12/11/01]

2002: Supported Allowing Workers to Invest Payroll Taxes in Private Accounts. In 2002, Ose supported “allow[ing] workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts” managed by “private firms contracted by the government” or “themselves.” [Project Vote Smart, 2002 National Political Awareness Test]

2005: Securities Industry Association Reported Wall Street Would Generate $279 Billion in Fees from Privatization. In February 2005, Newsday wrote, “No one knows whether workers would prosper in private Social Security accounts, but financial firms would likely pull in big bucks… The Securities Industry Association calculated that the plan would generate at most $279 billion in fees, or about 8.6 percent of the $3.3 trillion in the financial sector’s total revenues, over 75 years.” [Newsday, 2/20/05]