FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2005
For immediate release Contact: Bob Weiner/Rebecca Vander Linde 301-283-0821/202-329-1700


-- Former House Aging Committee Chief of Staff Robert Weiner

(Washington, DC) -- Statement by former House Aging Committee Chief of Staff Robert Weiner, February 28, 2005:

      We should not deal on Social Security (‘GOP May Seek a Deal on Accounts’ Feb. 27, 2005, Washington Post, and similar stories throughout the media). We should not deal because now we know it’s a matter of covering maybe (and maybe not even) a relatively small 20% shortfall in 50 years, the real reason for the malcontent is, until we get to a shortfall, to use the huge surpluses for other programs and ill advised tax cuts and claim a smaller overall budget deficit, it’s a sop to Bush’s Wall Street and banking contributors, all they want to do is fundamentally alter the New Deal Democratic legacy, and Congress can easily solve it or split-the-difference if/when we get to a real shortfall after we’ve forced them to honor the IOU’s/bonds/Trust Fund call-it-what-you-will-but-protection of solvency until then.

      Let them stew in trying unsuccessfully to destroy the system, now that they've LOST 15 points in the polls on that issue since they started peddling it and, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, it could cost them the Congress. The more they’re pushing, the worse they’re doing. Democrats should leave it there, don’t compromise, don’t deal, and emphasize their successful protection of Social Security (versus Republican efforts to voluntarize and corporatize it) to regain the Congress so that political abuse of this most-successful program ends for good.

      When I was Chief of Staff of the House Aging Committee in the late 70’s, the great chairman, Claude Pepper (D-FL), said he’d fight to his death against cuts and malicious changes in Social Security, and he successfully did. That’s the courage we need again now.”

Weiner served as Chief of Staff of the House Aging Committee under Rep. Claude Pepper, and later worked for Cong. Charles Rangel (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), and the Clinton White House. He is now President of a Washington public affairs think tank, Robert Weiner Associates ( ).

Source: Robert Weiner Associates 301-283-0821/202-329-1700