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Social Security's 73rd Anniversary
Date:8/13/2008

Ex-Hill Committee on Aging Chief Robert Weiner Says Calls for Privatization and 'Reform' are Granny-on-Your-Own, Cry-Wolf, Wall Street Giveaway Turning Guarantee to Gamble

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Social Security's 73rd Anniversary August 14, ex-U.S. House Committee on Aging Chief of Staff Robert Weiner is saying, "Calls to 'reform' Social Security through privatization are a cry-wolf, granny-you're-on-your-own, Wall Street giveaway which would turn Social Security from a guarantee to a gamble. They are the real threat to the program."

"It's time to end the widespread myth that Social Security is faltering," says Weiner, who directed the House Aging Committee under former Chairman Claude Pepper (D-FL) and also was communications director for the House Government Operations Committee and a Clinton White House senior staff member.

"The Congressional Budget Office has reported each of the past five years that Social Security will be fully solvent through 2052, and after that will be 80% funded - able to pay more actual benefits than now. One third of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, or one-third of the cost of the Iraq War would cover the possible shortfall. We have the money," Weiner points out.

"Social Security has been the most successful social program in U.S. history, reducing poverty among seniors by 73%. It is little known that the ample Social Security surplus has already paid for eleven annual shortfalls since 1963. The surplus is designed to pay for benefits for seniors and to cover any shortfall years. To take and deplete that surplus to fund other federal initiatives like tax breaks for the wealthy or pay for the questionable Iraq War would be inexcusable."

Weiner contends, "The real problem is Medicare. Soaring healthcare costs are driving the entitlement to grow at a rate much faster than the U.S. economy. The hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted by 2019."

"However, health providers block the few real steps Congress attempts, including legislation to authorize Medicare to negotiate best rates with pharmaceutical companies and to allow patients to import safe, affordable drugs."

Weiner concludes that "a national health insurance plan could absorb and fix Medicare's problems."

Since leaving the White House in 2001, Weiner has spoken about Social Security in radio and television interviews and written recent op-eds on Social Security in major newspapers including the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, and Tallahassee Democrat:

-- August 3, 2008 - "Don't Reform Social Security -- Fix Medicare" -- in The Palm Beach (FL) Post -- by Robert Weiner and John Larmett of RWA; http://www.weinerpublic.com/20080802.doc

-- February 25, 2005 - "White House Social Security 'Fact Sheet' is Anything But" -- in The Tallahassee Democrat and Senior Journal -- by Robert Weiner of RWA; http://www.weinerpublic.com/20050225.html

-- November 1, 2003 - "Social Security: We Need Pepper's Courage Now" -- in The Miami Herald -- by Robert Weiner of RWA; http://www.weinerpublic.com/page136.html

Contact: Bob Weiner/John Larmett 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700


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SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates
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