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1/29/2005

Democratic Policy Committee on Social Security

This was live on C-Span yesterday. It was quite impressive.

Newsday: In addition to presidential speeches, the [Bush's] campaign [for privatization] includes television ads by groups supporting private accounts, appearances on Sunday TV news shows by administration officials, and, according to two Social Security Administration employees, a wide-ranging marketing strategy devised by political appointees at their agency that involuntarily enlists career employees and uses government resources.

The employees, Deborah Fredericksen and Steve Kofahl, testified Friday at a hearing by Senate Democrats who oppose Bush's plan. They said the strategy was devised by Social Security's Office of Communications. It was then disseminated to all of the agency's regional offices, which fell in line behind it.

Fredericksen and Kofahl said the strategy improperly uses public resources to sell two notions central to Bush's plan: that Social Security faces an imminent funding crisis and that any solution must include private accounts. Critics of privatization strongly dispute both points.

In her testimony to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Fredericksen presented several documents she said were from an internal Social Security Administration Web site that appeared to support her contention that the agency was promoting the underlying message of Bush's plan.

"That is a political message," said Fredericksen, who works in a Minneapolis field office and is a union official. "It's not my job as an agency employee to project a political message. ... It compromises the integrity and credibility of the Social Security Administration."

In a statement, Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart denied that she had told agency employees to promote "any specific proposal for Social Security reform." She said the agency has sought to "educate the American public about the programs and finances of Social Security."
Jo Anne has steadfastly denied the politicization of the SSA, but the evidence is mounting. Bush is using our taxes to lie to us.

More from the Washington Post.

 

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