By Molly K. Hooper - 09/13/10 11:37 PM EDT
Democrats will attempt to use the release of a book by House Republican leaders to make their case that Republicans want to privatize Social Security.
On Tuesday night, Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are throwing a book-launch party at Johnny’s Half Shell restaurant on Capitol Hill. The book is titled Young Guns, highlighting “a new generation of conservative leaders.”
Democrats used Social Security effectively as a campaign weapon in 2006, though it remains to be seen how effectively it will play this year, five years after President George W. Bush’s proposal died in a Republican-led Congress.
“Across the country, National Republican Congressional Committee [NRCC] Young Guns have already come under fire for Paul Ryan’s and the Republican leadership’s budget that would privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. This book drives the nail in the coffin,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said.
By the end of August, more than 50 Republicans had attained Young Gun status, which is a program set up by the NRCC to tout the committee’s leading candidates.
Democrats intend to single out Ryan’s controversial “Roadmap for America’s Future” that is included in Chapter Six of the book, in which the Budget Committee ranking member tackles changes to entitlement programs.
In it, Ryan calls Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security “out of control” and says they will “drive our federal government and national economy to collapse.”
Some House Republican leaders have not publicly embraced Ryan’s plan, but many economists on the left and right agree that reforming entitlement spending is essential to preserving the nation’s fiscal future.
Ryan’s Social Security plan calls for raising the retirement age and allowing future beneficiaries to invest a portion of their allocated Social Security money in their own savings account.
GOP sources point out that Ryan’s proposal is not the proposed budget and would give his party an option on which to move forward.
Regardless of whether candidates support or oppose Ryan’s idea, it’s simply a starting point, Young Guns book publicist Brad Dayspring told The Hill. Dayspring is also a spokesman for Cantor, the minority whip in the House.
“Democrats’ distortions are simply ludicrous. We’ve got to have a serious conversation in this country about the promises that politicians have made to people, especially those under 50. In typical fashion, when a credible idea is put on the table, the leaders of the Democratic Party, starting with the White House, have resorted to false attacks instead of bringing their own ideas to the table. The Democrats have made a mockery of what should be a serious, two-way conversation, and that is the typical, sad Washington game — one that results in ideas being taken off the table when what we need is more ideas brought to it,” Dayspring said.
At press time, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office cited the book in a statement, asserting that Republicans want to “drastically privatize and cut Social Security and eliminate Medicare as we know it.”