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Flashback Friday: 2001: Congresswoman Biggert Voted for Bush Privatization Scheme to Transfer Social Security Funds into Risky Wall Street Accounts

Press Release

Location: Naperville, IL

77 years ago this week, Social Security was signed into law -- a commitment that this country made to its seniors in 1935 that has helped millions of seniors in their retirement years. Last year, close to 1.5 million seniors in Illinois received Social Security benefits. In fact, Social Security made up more than 60 percent of the income of average middle class seniors in Illinois.

But Congresswoman Judy Biggert, who has repeatedly supported risky privatization schemes for Social Security, believes that Social Security funds should be siphoned off into Wall Street accounts, where risks will be borne by retirees but lucrative fees will be skimmed off by Wall Street funds managers. This is yet another example of her long history of putting Wall Street and corporate special interest ahead of the middle class.

In 2001, Congresswoman Biggert supported legislation that would privatize Social Security. Had this become law, seniors would have seen their retirement savings stagnate during the stock market's "lost decade" of the 2000's, and crushed when the market collapsed in 2008. The financial crisis itself would have been significantly worsened by Biggert's legislation, which would have destroyed the continued economic activity from seniors' guaranteed income during the crisis.

Flashback 2001: In 2001, Congresswoman Biggert voted in favor of a budget that called for using about $600 billion of the Social Security surplus to fund new privatized retirement accounts for stock market investment.

"Since 1935, hard-working Americans have paid into the Social Security system and have relied on its benefits in their retirement years," said Bill Foster. "Congresswoman Biggert's vote to send hard-earned Social Security funds to Wall Street money managers demonstrates just how out of touch she is with the needs of middle class families in Illinois. The Social Security income received by seniors in Illinois every year contributes billions of dollars to our state's economy. Instead of trying to change fundamental programs that work and are essential to the health of the economy, Congress needs to get back to the business of creating jobs and supporting the middle class."

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