From US Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate Democratic leader.....
Tonight the President will go before Congress and give his State of the Union address. With all the talk coming from the White House about the need to privatize Social Security, I think there are two important questions for the president to answer.
First, to what extent will Americans have their guaranteed benefits cut under your proposal? Second, how much additional debt will be added under your privatization plan? These are the two main questions Americans are asking and it is time for all of us to get some straight answers.
For 70 years, Social Security has been a remarkable success. If not for the program, about 50 percent of seniors would be living in poverty. Instead, that figure is less than 10 percent.
The Republican privatization plan would only dismantle Social Security. By diverting payroll taxes from the Trust Fund, this plan amounts to a large cut in Social Security funding. That, in turn, would lead to deep benefit cuts. And these cuts would harm all seniors, even those who choose not to participate in privatized accounts.
Beyond the deep benefit cuts, the White House plan calls for borrowing more than $2 trillion, much of which will come from countries like China and Japan. I think that's a mistake. Social Security's health should not depend on the willingness of foreign countries to lend us money.
I look forward to hearing the President remarks on this subject.