Today businessman and scientist Bill Foster joined Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to discuss his commitment to protecting Social Security from the risky George Bush privatization plan supported by Republican Jim Oberweis. Foster also criticized Oberweis' plan to raise the retirement age to 72.
A long time advocate of George Bush's privatization scheme, Oberweis discussed his new Social Security plan in a meeting with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board last week:
"In return for being able to direct one quarter of the total payments into the special account, the individual would be giving up the first, approximately six years of social security payments. It would move him from, say, 66 retirement to age 72 retirement."
The current retirement age for Americans born after 1960 to receive full Social Security benefits is 67. According to the Social Security Administration in January 2008, the average monthly Social Security benefit was $988.80, or $11,865 per year.
"Just like George Bush, Jim Oberweis wants to privatize Social Security," Democratic candidate Bill Foster said. "Now, Jim Oberweis says he wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 72. We need a Congressman who will stand up to George Bush's risky privatization schemes and fight to maintain guaranteed benefits for seniors. Jim Oberweis is wrong about raising the retirement age and wrong about risking the retirement security of millions of seniors on the stock market."
If the Oberweis privatization plan was implemented, the average retiree would lose $59,325 of guaranteed Social Security benefits between age 67 and 72. The Oberweis plan would expose Social Security benefits to the volatility of the stock market. The Dow Jones has declined in value by over 10 percent since its high last October.
Oberweis Has Supported Privatizing Social Security Since at Least 2002. According to the Daily Herald in 2002, Oberweis " pointed to personal savings accounts with diverse investments as the way to mend the nation's retirement entitlement system that Social Security officials acknowledge could begin to go bust if changes aren't made soon." [Daily Herald, 2/17/02]
Over 82,000 Seniors in the 14th District Depend on Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration, there are 82,655 seniors in Illinois' 14th District who receive Social Security benefits. [Social Security Administration, Bureau of the Census]