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Resolution to oppose privatization of Social Security

Approved by the Delegate Assembly on February 9, 2005

WHEREAS Social Security has for nearly 70 years provided a predictable, guaranteed benefit to millions of older and disabled workers and their survivors; and

WHEREAS this benefit, funded exclusively by Social Security payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers, is one that can and should be safeguarded for generations to come; and

WHEREAS the Bush administration claims that radical changes to Social Security, including privatization, are necessary to avert its bankruptcy, the Bush administration has not provided any objective evidence to corroborate this claim. Social Security is not headed for disaster; and

WHEREAS, it is the financial strain privatization would impose that would pose serious and long lasting perils to the stability of the Social Security program; and

WHEREAS privatizing Social Security would add $2 trillion to the already runaway federal deficit while the Bush administration’s proposed changes to Social Security will do nothing to enhance this program’s solvency — and, in fact, in order to restore solvency to a privatized Social Security program, younger workers’ benefits would have to be cut by 26 to 45 percent, a prospect that is totally unacceptable; and

WHEREAS, analyses of privatization proposals show that younger workers will get hit twice: once with a reduction in Social Security benefits and again with the burden they will be forced to carry to pay off the grossly expanding federal debt; and

WHEREAS popular assumptions that Social Security will “run out” before younger workers can collect the benefits they have earned are not supported by reality because Social Security taxes to be collected and money owed to the Social Security system are adequate to allow full benefits to be paid until 2042 so that additional modest adjustments would further stabilize this important program; and

WHEREAS privatizing Social Security and reducing benefits would jeopardize not only younger workers’ long-term retirement benefits, but also the disability and survivor benefits provided by this program, because 13 million Americans currently rely upon such benefits, have allowed them to live with dignity and security and it is safe to assume that few of them ever anticipated needing this life-saving benefit; and

WHEREAS workers have earned this benefit by paying into it over time, they should not be guinea pigs for a flawed social experiment — indeed, significant changes to a program of such consequence demand informed discussion, not just sound bites, platitudes or scare tactics; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the UFT continue to work with members of Congress, as well as with the labor movement and other allies, to strengthen Social Security and to maintain it as a defined benefit to ensure that it will provide its promised benefits for future generations to come; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT, work with NYSUT, the AFT, ARA, AFL-CIO and other local and national organizations to defeat the Bush administration’s plan to privatize Social Security.