Campaign 2010

Mar 03, 2005

Rep. Ferguson Hosts President Bush in NJ…

DCCC Press

Mar 3, 2005

Rep. Ferguson Hosts President Bush in NJ...

Will he finally come clean on Social Security privatization?

President Bush visits New Jersey on Friday to attempt to sell his Social Security privatization plan and his host, GOP Rep. Mike Ferguson, is in the hot seat.

Rep. Ferguson has had multiple positions on Social Security privatization for years (see below). Now, Rep. Ferguson has invited President Bush to campaign for privatization in his own district, but is attempting to hide his own position on the issue. He told the Asbury Park Press this week that he was "open to conversation on personal accounts, " but wouldn't take a stand on that fundamental issue:

"Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-Warren Township, said he was 'delighted and honored' that the president accepted his invitation to come to his district, which includes Westfield. But he was cautious about overhauling Social Security. 'We clearly need to improve the system in the long term for younger workers. I am open to a conversation on personal accounts in that context, ' Ferguson said." [Asbury Park Press, 2/26/05]

"Rep. Mike Ferguson has at least three different positions on the Social Security privatization over the past five years," said DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (IL). "It's time for Mike Ferguson to stand up and be counted. Ferguson invited President Bush to New Jersey to pitch his plan to privatize Social Security and cut benefits, and his constituents now deserve to know where he stands on that plan."

Rep. Ferguson has had so many positions on Social Security it's not surprising that even he can't explain what his position is today:

"I support giving younger workers the option to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes. However, I would not support this change for current benefits recipients or those who will soon be benefits recipients. I support the elimination of the Social Security Benefits tax. I support making additional changes to help address the problem of poverty among older women, and I oppose raising the age required to receive full retirement benefits beyond 67." [2000 CATO Institute Candidate Survey, Ferguson Response.]

And in 2001, Ferguson urged the President's Social Security Commission to Privatize Social Security.

In 2001, Ferguson co-signed a letter to the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security urging support for privatization. Ferguson wrote to the Commission: "Social Security reform must offer younger workers the opportunity to improve their rates of return using personal retirement accounts." ["DeMint Letter" to The Social Security Reform Commission, 5/24/01]

Yet in a 2002 questionnaire Ferguson said he Opposes Benefit Cuts for Anyone Currently Working.

In response to the question from the AARP, "Do you support or oppose replacing part of Social Security with individual accounts?" Ferguson responded: "Social Security is a sacred trust. When the program was created after the Great Depression, it was meant to supplement retirement incomes. For many seniors today, though, Social Security is their only income. Congress must protect that income and seniors' retirement security. I believe we must honor our commitment on Social Security for both today's seniors and tomorrow's retirees. For efforts to strengthen Social Security, my guiding principles are guaranteeing current law benefits for seniors and those currently in the workforce; opposing raising the retirement age; and opposing raising taxes, either on benefits or on working families." [AARP, 2002 Candidate Questionnaire]