House Minority Leader John Boehner says he doesn’t want to “prejudge” any official Republican plan to fix Social Security before voters have their chance to weigh in on a nifty new GOP Web site soliciting their ideas. Boehner won’t tip the party’s 2010 cards as to whether the unpopular George W. Bush-era plan to privatize Social Security might be on the table if he gets the Speaker’s gavel after November.
But after spending some time scanning the “America Speaking Out” Republican site that Boehner said will inform the GOP game plan this fall, it’s clear that there are plenty of voters who want the party to push privatization once more.
One suggestion has 168 votes: “We need to Privatize Social Security. If Chile can do it, we can too. At least we should have the opportunity to opt out of the government system.”
“Bush was right in 2004 to try and privatize it but nobody wants to say it!,” user “Texas veteran” wrote on the site, advocating for young people to move 1 to 2 percent per year into private funds that he believes should be maintained by Berkshire Hathaway. “Then after 25-50 years, the American people would be FREE of this unjust and unfair ponzi scheme and obligation that we were placed under by progressives in the early 1900’s! We should be able to keep what we earn NOT spread the wealth!” Texas veteran wrote.
TPM found at least 7 suggestions — out of an estimated 10,000 submissions— on the site in which voters recommended full or partial privatization. None of those suggestions were ranked top vote-getters.
There also are plenty of suggestions that are in line with what Boehner suggested in an interview with a Pittsburgh newspaper — raising the retirement age to 70.
“We should increase the age slowly, with plenty of warning, so that folks close to retirement don’t get hurt, but we need to raise it,” wrote user Jay Hochberg, getting 18 votes.
Another voter using the handle “UseAConstitution” suggests that only people 50 and older in the year 2010 would get Social Security benefits. People ages 40 to 49 would only get benefits if they don’t have an IRA or 401(k) plan. “Americans 39 and younger would not receive Social Security benefits,” UseAConstitution wrote. (Only 23 people voted for the idea. By comparison, popular ideas have as many as 1,000 votes.)
With momentum to actually do something big to reform entitlement programs growing on Capitol Hill, this won’t be the last you read about Social Security, even if major reforms aren’t as popular among GOP voters as rolling back health care reform.