Democratic prebuttal: Perry ‘radical,’ Social Security not a crisis, economy improvingby George Bennett | September 12th, 2011
“Tonight the Republicans will worship at the altar of the tea party. They will continue to try to out-extreme and out-right wing each other. They will continue to ask nothing of the wealthiest and most fortunate Americans,” said Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Broward County.
Asked about Republican frontrunner Rick Perry and his contention that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” for younger workers, Wasserman Schultz said, “I just don’t see how someone with his radical point of view is going to get a lot of mainstream support here in Florida. This is a right-down-the-middle state.”
Social Security’s trustees have said the program as it’s now structured will only be able to pay about three-quarters of promised benefits beginning in 2036. That year, when today’s 40-year-olds turn 65, is far enough away that “this is not a fire, this is not an emergency or crisis…..We have some time to things in a responsible way,” Wasserman Schultz said.
To fix Social Security, Wasserman Schultz said, “Republicans and Democrats, like has been done in the past, need to sit down together and, as President Obama has suggested, focus on reforms on the margins that are going to shore up the long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare as well.”
The national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent now compared to 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009. The number of non-farm jobs in the nation has decreased from 133.6 million in January 2009 to 131.1 million in August, according to the Department of Labor.
But, Wasserman Schultz said, “The economy is better than when President Obama began his term in office. As he started, we were in free-fall. The economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month. You had a banking system that was about to go over the edge. Now, two and a half years later, not only have we stopped the free fall, but we’ve had 18 straight months of private sector job growth. We’ve begun to turn things around.”