SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION COULD FORCE THOUSANDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY INTO POVERTY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Social Security privatization, embraced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would cut guaranteed benefits for thousands of future retirees by thousands of dollars, according to a new state-specific report released today by the research arm of the Campaign for America’s Future. Today’s report shows that more than 8.6 million older Americans would have a greater risk of falling into poverty, each losing more than $240,000 over the course of their lifetimes, by the time a privatization plan like the one supported by Sen. McCain and President Bush is fully implemented.

Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey, whose organization has worked to defend and strengthen Social Security for more than a decade, said the popular program is at risk again.

“Social Security is very popular across the country, but its guaranteed benefits are in the national crossfire again,” said Hickey. “Sen. McCain has been very clear about his plans to push privatization again despite the public backlash President Bush faced when he pushed his scheme a few years ago. The conservative ideologues just won’t stop trying to privatize Social Security.”

48.5 million Americans depend on their earned Social Security benefit every month, according to the Social Security Administration. Thousands of businesses and state governments also depend on the program. More than $580.5 billion flows into the U.S. economy from Social Security each year.

Diverting a portion of payroll taxes into risky private accounts could force many people below the poverty line. More than 36.4 million Americans currently live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census. Meanwhile, 7.9 million individuals depend on their guaranteed Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their income. The average Social Security check for individual retirees is $1,088 per month; it takes $867 per month to stay above the federal poverty line. These Social Security recipients would be close to the edge and vulnerable to rising food, housing and energy costs.

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**NOTE: Media representatives interested in copies of today’s state-specific Social Security reports should visit www.ourfuture.org/privatization. **

SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION
STATE-SPECIFIC BREAKDOWN

(State; number of beneficiaries; average Social Security benefit; statewide income from Social Security; number of people living in poverty; number of additional people who could be forced into poverty with privatization; total benefit that could be lost with privatization)

Alabama; 934,000; $1,041; $10.5 billion; 742,000; 194,000; $162,000
Alaska; 68,000; $1,031; $774.1 million; 70,000; 7,000; $249,000
Arizona; 959,000; $1,102; $11.8 billion; 857,000; 130,000; $204,000
Arkansas; 588,000; $1,013; $6.5 billion; 471,000; 107,000; $117,000
California; 4,571,000; $1,076; $54.4 billion; 4,690,000; 970,000; $312,000
Colorado; 616,000; $1,062; $7.3 billion; 556,000; 94,000; $262,000
Connecticut; 592,000; $1,179; $7.8 billion; 280,000; 78,000; $391,000
Delaware; 157,000; $1,143; $2 billion; 91,000; 17,000; $286,000
Florida; 3,477,000; $1,074; $41.7 billion; 2,226,000; 668,000; $180,000
Georgia; 1,305,000; $1,056; $15.1 billion; 1,333,000; 217,000; $229,000
Hawaii; 207,000; $1,067; $2.5 billion; 116,000; 20,000; $184,000
Idaho; 240,000; $1,054; $2.8 billion; 180,000; 51,000; $118,000
Illinois; 1,921,000; $1,117; $23.8 billion; 1,539,000; 354,000; $286,000
Indiana; 1,097,000; $1,135; $13.6 billion; 777,000; 145,000; $183,000
Iowa; 558,000; $1,076; $6.7 billion; 316,000; 82,000; $140,000
Kansas; 457,000; $1,104; $5.6 billion; 330,000; 87,000; $157,000
Kentucky; 827,000; $1,024; $9.1 billion; 693,000; 143,000; $158,000
Louisiana; 735,000; $1,007; $7.9 billion; 793,000; 192,000; $147,000
Maine; 280,000; $1,000; $3.1 billion; 165,000; 62,000; $141,000
Maryland; 786,000; $1,097; $9.6 billion; 428,000; 104,000; $282,000
Massachusetts; 1,080,000; $1,087; $13 billion; 620,000; 179,000; $363,000
Michigan; 1,802,000; $1,165; $22.9 billion; 1,331,000; 237,000; $264,000
Minnesota; 814,000; $1,088; $9.9 billion; 491,000; 149,000; $254,000
Mississippi; 559,000; $1,000; $6 billion; 592,000; 111,000; $96,000
Missouri; 1,089,000; $1,063; $12.7 billion; 769,000; 202,000; $190,000
Montana; 176,000; $1,027; $2 billion; 125,000; 38,000; $87,000
Nebraska; 295,000; $1,062; $3.5 billion; 197,000; 59,000; $137,000
Nevada; 362,000; $1,085; $4.4 billion; 253,000; 71,000; $203,000
New Hampshire; 231,000; $1,114; $2.9 billion; 102,000; 39,000; $235,000
New Jersey; 1,388,000; $1,190; $18.4 billion; 741,000; 154,000; $366,000
New Mexico; 327,000; $1,010; $3.6 billion; 353,000; 70,000; $137,000
New York; 3,097,000; $1,137; $38.8 billion; 2,662,000; 548,000; $383,000
North Carolina; 1,587,000; $1,064; $18.6 billion; 1,261,000; 318,000; $184,000
North Dakota; 116,000; $1,004; $1.3 billion; 69,000; 24,000; $95,000
Ohio; 1,992,000; $1,090; $23.8 billion; 1,486,000; 332,000; $207,000
Oklahoma; 657,000; $1,038; $7.5 billion; 587,000; 121,000; $125,000
Oregon; 643,000; $1,087; $7.8 billion; 480,000; 105,000; $199,000
Pennsylvania; 2,456,000; $1,111; $30.1 billion; 1,448,000; 379,000; $230,000
Rhode Island; 193,000; $1,080; $2.3 billion; 114,000; 30,000; $215,000
South Carolina; 822,000; $1,066; $9.6 billion; 656,000; 184,000; $145,000
South Dakota; 144,000; $999; $1.6 billion; 102,000; 36,000; $92,000
Tennessee; 1,139,000; $1,058; $13.1 billion; 952,000; 197,000; $182,000
Texas; 3,102,000; $1,050; $35.4 billion; 3,868,000; 718,000; $236,000
Utah; 290,000; $1,087; $3.5 billion; 265,000; 53,000; $154,000
Vermont; 117,000; $1,075; $1.4 billion; 62,000; 19,000; $160,000
Virginia; 1,180,000; $1,071; $13.9 billion; 708,000; 181,000; $250,000
Washington; 982,000; $1,122; $12.2 billion; 736,000; 133,000; $265,000
West Virginia; 424,000; $1,065; $4.9 billion; 307,000; 79,000; $125,000
Wisconsin; 980,000; $1,108; $12.1 billion; 591,000; 169,000; $181,000
Wyoming; 84,000; $1,075; $1 billion; 46,000; 18,000; $130,000

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