Roxanne Conlin insisted this morning she remains fundamentally opposed to privatizing Social Security as she accused Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) of advocating privatizing Social Security in 2005.
"Could you imagine what would have happened when the market collapsed two years ago, if [Grassley] had succeeded?" asked Conlin at a Thursday morning press conference in Des Moines. Conlin also charged that her opponent wanted to give our Social Security money to "Wall Street."
Conlin laid out options to fix Social Security she opposes -- including raising the retirement age from 67. Doing this, Conlin said, creates an increased hardship on workers.
"If we put this into the category of a welfare program it's universal, or near universal, support would disappear," said Conlin. She added, without changes, the program can "continue to pay full benefits until 2037."
Currently, the Social Security Trust Fund is said to become exhausted in 2037.
As Conlin was pressed over what actions she thought should be taken to preserve Social Security, Conlin said Congress should wait until the economy recovers, saying it was too fragile.
"We've lost so many millions and millions of jobs, we don't know what the shape of the economy is going to be in 2015," said Conlin. "The shape of the workforce will have a lot to do with what we need to do, frankly, if anything, to stabilize Social Security in the long run."
Conlin said the number of Republican candidates running on platforms including privatizing or doing away with Social Security entirely, such as Joe Miller in Alaska or Sharron Angle in Nevada, "frightens" her. Grassley's campaign responded, saying Conlin is using "fear-monger tactics."
"Everybody knows there has been no tougher critic of Wall Street abuses than Chuck Grassley," said Eric Woolson, Grassley's campaign spokesman. "He has been a leader, if not the leader in retirement security issues.
"Not the least of those successes was the authorship and passage of the Medicare prescription drug coverage, which was the first major expansion of Medicare benefits since the creation of the program and one that Roxanne Conlin has aggressively attacked him for," Woolson added.
Wednesday, Grassley said in a forum in Ottumwa, Iowa he wants to wait before suggesting new moves on Social Security reform. Grassley said in 2005 he said Congress should consider investing some Social Security trust fund money in stocks.