Peters Calls for Protection of Social Security
Congressional candidate Gary Peters today pledged to protect the integrity of Social Security and to fight efforts that could place future benefits in jeopardy. Speaking with nearly 100 senior citizens at a candidate luncheon hosted by the Older Persons' Commission in Rochester, Peters addressed a wide range of issues including the economy, the challenges facing Medicare, and the critical need to protect Social Security from ongoing attempts to privatize the system.
"Social Security is a sacred trust that we must work together to protect for future generations," said Gary Peters, a former financial manager and fifth-generation Oakland County resident. "The recent uncertainty in the stock market is further evidence of why President Bush and Congressman Knollenberg's plan to privatize Social Security would be a disaster. Social Security is even more important when times are tough, and in Congress, I will fight to ensure that the benefits remain available for all Americans."
Peters' campaign to represent Michigan's 9th District in Congress has been endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
In recent weeks, Senator John McCain has renewed calls to privatize Social Security, and has even called the system a "disgrace." Peters' opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg, has supported privatization for many years. In 1996, Knollenberg co-sponsored a bill to privatize Social Security, and he publicly expressed support for privatization in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2005. In 2001, he made his views known in a letter to President Bush, calling for the use of "personal retirement accounts."
While pushing for the privatization of social security, Knollenberg has also consistently voted to raid the Social Security trust fund in order to pay for other government spending. In 2002, he voted in favor of a budget that would have spent over 85% of the Social Security surplus, instead of reinvesting that surplus to preserve benefits for future generations. In 2005, Knollenberg supported a budget that would have raided over $1.1 trillion from the Social Security trust fund over five years.
Knollenberg has earned a "0" rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans, a non-partisan advocacy group that tracks Congressional votes on issues impacting senior citizens.