Social Security Crisis? What Social Security Crisis?

    There is no looming crisis in Social Security, and Congress should not rush to create private accounts, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. said Saturday.

    “The facts prove that there is no imminent crisis with Social Security. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says Social Security can pay full benefits for nearly 50 years,” Rangel said in the Democratic weekly radio address.

    Rangel, senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, invoked the memory of the late California Rep. Bob Matsui, his party’s former top member on the Social Security subcommittee, in disputing White House arguments that the system needs an overhaul to stay healthy.

    President Bush wants to revamp the program by letting younger workers divert some of their payroll taxes from the retirement system to person investment accounts.

    Social Security trustees say the program will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2018, and can pay full promised benefits only until 2042.

    “The White House wants Americans to believe that Social Security is heading for an iceberg. They think that, by scaring people, they will help increase support for privatization,” Rangel said.

    The cost of moving to add private accounts has been estimated at more than $1 trillion. Rangel said the figure would be about $2 trillion, weakening Social Security and leaving future retirees hoping for a miracle from the stock market.

    The administration is launching a push to win public support for their plan with a series of town hall meetings, presidential speeches, and travel by high-ranking officials proclaiming the need for changes.