Leahy says talk of Social Security crisis is misleading

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(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy says President Bush is misleading the American people when he claims that the country’s Social Security system is facing a financial crisis.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Leahy disputed the president’s assertion that Congress needs to address serious problems in the Social Security during the current session. Instead Leahy called for a deliberate, bi- partisan study of the issue:

(Leahy) “You bring together a commission and you look at all of these things – not just have the president stand up and say, the sky is falling! The sky is falling! And then almost as an aside, in 50 or 60 years. And so therefore we have this plan to privatize, which may make some on Wall Street salivate but doesn’t do a great deal for the people hoping there’s going to be some kind of a guaranteed benefit for them when they retire.”

(Host) Leahy also criticized the president for sending Congress a budget that makes unfair cuts in many important domestic programs:

(Leahy) “The president’s going to have to realize you can’t afford hundreds of billions of dollars every year for the foreseeable future in Iraq, tax cuts for people making over a million dollars a year and say all of this can somehow be paid for by borrowing and by cutting programs that most states rely on.”

(Host) Leahy, who’s a member of the Appropriations Committee, says he hopes to work with both Republican and Democratic senators to restore many of the president’s budget cuts.

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