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Protesters fight Social Security privatization

Thursday, March 17, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:57 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

With signs saying, “Hands off my Social Security,” members of Missourians United to Protect Social Security gathered at the Columbia Labor Temple on Wednesday to announce the coalition’s joining of the national campaign against President Bush’s plans for privatization.

The coalition is made up of several groups including the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, the National Society for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Activist Network.

The coalition also released a report titled “Privatization: $152,000 Cut in Social Security Checks for Typical Missourian” for the Institute for America’s Future.

The report argues that Bush’s plans will cause a decrease in Social Security benefits and that the system is fine in its current form.

“President Bush is running a rhetoric of fear for young people,” said Lara Underwood, one of the members of the coalition. “Bush is lying to the American youth by saying you’re not going to have any (Social Security) left if we don’t fix it, when in reality, if we privatize, then you and I, upon retirement, are going to annually lose up to $290,000 from what we would’ve received from Social Security during our retirement years.”

Ed Metzen, a retired professor of consumer and family economics and social politics at MU, said every family or individual needs a base of stable income.

“For most middle and low income families, Social Security provides that kind of solid stable base for their retirement,” Metzen said.

Mary Ratliff, president of the Missouri State Conference NAACP, said there’s no immediate problem with Social Security.

“This morning I was listening to the news and a reporter asked Bush (about Social Security) and he said he really had no plan,” Ratliff said. “Why is he trying to get a vote through with no plan? Many researchers have said there is no immediate crisis, and that Social Security is stable until 2050, so there’s time for work on any changes that need to be made.”


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