Parties Spar Over Social Security

A broad Democratic attack on Republican down-ticket candidates -- an attempt to tie their past votes and statements to the current economic crisis -- has been met with a counter-attack on Democratic credibility, as the GOP calls the broadside’s accuracy into question.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure unit is highlighting candidates’ past support for private Social Security accounts – known as personal investment accounts. The issue, which was presumed to have been killed in 2005 when Democrats blocked a Bush administration reform effort, has resurfaced amidst the market turmoil.

The Democratic charge echoes an attack presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has made against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain endorsed President Bush’s 2005 plan to create personal social security retirement accounts. The nonpartisan group factcheck.org said that it was “not true” for Obama to say, “if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week.” In truth, Bush’s plan exempted folks born before 1950 and among people born later, only those who voluntarily entered the program would have been impacted. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus called the charge “simply false -- even leaving aside the incendiary language about ‘privatizing’ Social Security.”
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