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Barbara J. Easterling Headshot

Social Security: The Voices Romney Hears

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I recently read an article profiling Mitt Romney's top economic advisers: Glenn Hubbard, Gregory Mankiw, Vin Weber, Jim Talent, and Kevin Hassett. One thing they all have in common - besides being wealthy white men - is they all support privatizing Social Security. With Mitt Romney having friends like these, workers and retirees have every reason to be worried.

Social Security - which turns 77 this week - would, under their plan, move toward a collection of private accounts tied to the roulette wheel of the stock market. With all the chaos and scandal on Wall Street, this would be a terrible gamble for workers and retirees - many of whom have already lost much of their savings and seen their home values drop because of unchecked greed and speculation in the financial industry.

Privatizing Social Security is like the house guest that just won't leave. President George W. Bush tried but was stopped in 2005. Even in the face of wild gyrations on Wall Street and scandals such as Bernie Madoff, AIG, and Lehman Brothers, right-wing think tanks continue to keep the flame alive.

Social Security should not be one more pension fund for the Bain Capitals of the world to raid, nor should it be yet another hand-out to Wall Street gamblers. Instead, Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years, a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind.

You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. When I see who Mitt Romney listens to on Social Security, as well as his plans to cut benefits, raise the retirement age, and turn much of it over to Wall Street, I am very troubled.