Following recent reports that conservative Washington Republicans are looking to reignite the debate over privatizing Social Security, First Congressional District Democratic nominee David Cicilline launched his "Fighting for Social Security" tour of area senior centers to discuss the importance of protecting Social Security for current and future beneficiaries.
"Social Security is a solemn promise that we first made to our seniors 75 years ago," said Cicilline. "If I am elected to Congress, I will fight hard every single day to ensure that we protect this program for those who rely on it today and generations to come. This program is far too important to far too many people to allow conservative special interests to gamble seniors' savings on the stock market."
Rather than gambling seniors' benefits in the stock market, Cicilline supports exploring alternative measures to protect Social Security's long-term solvency. Cicilline's tour to protect Social Security comes as conservative activists are urging Republican politicians to fight for privatization.
On Tuesday, the Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy organization, issued a public call in a blog post bluntly titled, "Privatize Social Security? Hell Yeah!" Earlier today, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, a favorite to serve as Speaker of the House if Republicans regain the majority this November, refused to take the privatization of Social Security "off the table."
Yet, while other Republicans are publicly distancing themselves from this cause célèbre of the right wing, John Loughlin has already made his feelings on the topic known. In a press conference held on September 15, 2010, Loughlin said, "I think that younger workers should be allowed to privatize some of their social security. I think that's perfectly reasonable." This is consistent with Loughlin's established position in favor of privatization, as evidenced by his vote against a Rhode Island General Assembly resolution urging Congress not to privatize Social Security in 2005. [HB 5364, Reading and Passage, Y-59; N-7, 4/28/05]
Furthermore, Loughlin is currently attempting to work his way up the ranks of Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor's "Young Guns" organization, which describes itself as "an ongoing movement" that has been "dedicated to identifying, recruiting and mobilizing a new generation of conservative leaders." Ryan, the top House Republican for budget policy, has released a long-term budget plan ("A Roadmap for America's Future") that proposes to privatize Social Security, dismantle and cut Medicare, and shift the tax burden to the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the rich and special interests.
Ryan's proposal to privatize Social Security would cut guaranteed benefits, gamble Social Security in the stock market, and provide up to $940 billion in windfall profits to big Wall Street banks through management fees. Cicilline rejects the Ryan plan. Loughlin has not yet said whether he would support the Ryan budget plan in Congress.
"Rhode Island voters deserve to know where John Loughlin stands on the issues most important to them. Loughlin should publicly repudiate and reject Paul Ryan's budget proposal because of the irreversible damage it would do to Social Security recipients," said Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers. "Does John Loughlin stand with the people of Rhode Island or far-right Washington Republicans committed to privatizing Social Security?"