Senator Tom Harkin held public forums in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines and Mason City this weekend to talk about Social Security. At a Sunday afternoon event in Des Moines, Harkin — who’s a Democrat — told a crowd of two-hundred that he opposes President Bush’s call to let younger workers invest part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. Forty-five-year-old Stuart Mitchell of Des Moines was in the crowd, supporting Harkin’s point of view. Mitchell says he’s concerned the “roller coaster patterns” of the stock market will jeopardize the entire system if younger workers invest part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. He says dramatic changes in Social Security aren’t necessary. “I’m a firm believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so that’s why I’m here,” Mitchell says. Fifty-seven-year-old Chris Barron of Des Moines was also at the forum. “I just don’t trust the current administration to fix this,” Barron says. Harkin credits Social Security with keeping his family together in the 1950s after his mother died and his 65 year old father who’d lost a farm in the Depression received a monthly Social Security check. In 1954 when he was a freshman in high school, Harkin’s dad got a monthly check of just under 65 dollars to support himself and his three children. Harkin rejects the President’s idea that after 70 years, the Social Security system is near crisis. “Social Security is in danger,” Harkin said. “It’s not in danger of running out of money. It’s not in danger of crashing, but it’s in danger of being privatized. That is the biggest danger confronting Social Security today.” Harkin said other countries like Chile which have experimented with private accounts in similar government-run retirement systems have failed. “Social Security is the most successful retirement and social insurance program in the history of the world,” Harkins said. A few Republicans attended each of Harkin’s meeting this weekend, questioning Harkin’s assertions. Republican Charles Grassley, Iowa’s other U-S Senator, is leading the committee that’s writing a Social Security reform package and he has held public forums in Iowa on the subject, too.
You are here: / / Harkin holds forums on Social Security