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Bush’s Social Security plan draws protesters

Hap Bockelie of West Bremerton, right, and Jenna Colby of Bremerton were two of the protesters who showed up on Wednesday morning out in front of the Silverdale Social Security office to show their concern about President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. - Photo by Celeste Cornish
Hap Bockelie of West Bremerton, right, and Jenna Colby of Bremerton were two of the protesters who showed up on Wednesday morning out in front of the Silverdale Social Security office to show their concern about President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.
— image credit: Photo by Celeste Cornish

Brian Gradis is fired up about President George W. Bush’s proposal to privatize Social Security. In fact, he equates the plan to high-seas robbery, as was evidenced with the homemade sign he was waving above his head on Wednesday morning: “No Social Security Pirate-ization,” with a picture of a skull and crossbones.

Gradis, a Bremerton resident, joined about nine other protesters along Mickelberry Road. The group was part of a local grassroots political push to bring attention to Bush’s plan for Social Security. The group, dubbed Sound Peace and Justice, organized the rally.

Bush is proposing that, instead of Social Security going into a big pool of money, younger workers should be given the option of setting aside two-thirds of the money they would be paying into Social Security as a personal investment account.

“We’re out here to protest the president’s proposed changes to Social Security,” Grad said.

Privatizing Social Security would come at a huge cost to taxpayers and increase the deficit and would lead to decreased benefits now and in the future, he said.

“I believe it’s healthy to be skeptical, to ask the question, ‘Why shouldn’t things change?’ As it is constituted, at least until 2052, there will be a guaranteed benefit with a possible reduction of approximately 15 percent,” Gradis said.

The group was armed with information both from the Sound Peace and Justice and from the AFL-CIO Web site:

• If Social Security were privatized, it would cut guaranteed benefits by 30 percent for all workers — even those who do not choose to create a private account.

• Privatizing Social Security would cost an estimated $2 trillion in the first 10 years of the plan.

• Privatization might open the Social Security system to corruption because the government would have to decide which brokerage firms would handle the private accounts.

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