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3/15/05: James Carville says we need to arm Democrats across the country with the essential facts

Dear Fellow Democrat,

George Bush's campaign to privatize Social Security is sputtering. Things have gotten so bad that he has announced plans for a 60-day nationwide propaganda tour in a last ditch effort to avoid defeat. The Republicans are on the run. Let's not give them shelter or safe harbor. Let's keep 'em running.

We need to arm Democrats across the country with the essential facts they need to fight back when George Bush brings his road show to their town. The good news is that ol' James here likes to keep things simple. Remember, I'm the guy who tried to get an entire presidential campaign message to consist of the words "It's the economy, stupid."

So, in that spirit of simplicity, I want to give you the Five Things Every Democrat Should Know About Social Security. Take these ideas and memorize them. If you're the kind of student I was, then write them on your hand. If all of us keep these few simple ideas handy, we're going to win every argument about Social Security every time.

The Five Things Every Democrat Should Know About Social Security

  1. The goal of Social Security is to keep people out of poverty. It used to be that when you got old, you got poor. Social Security is not going to make you rich, but it's not going to leave you poor either. That's the point. Is it sexy? No. But don't lose sight of how important a guaranteed "safety net" is for everyone's well-being, especially older folks.
  2. Social Security works. Social Security has cut elderly poverty by two-thirds. About two-thirds of retirees rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. One-third of them rely on it for 90% or more of their income. If Social Security checks stopped going out today, 48% of elderly Americans would immediately be thrown into poverty.
  3. Right now, the very future of Social Security is at stake. Republicans say they actually want to save Social Security. Don't believe it. They've never truly believed in the concept behind Social Security. They don't like sharing risk over large groups of people. Their attitude is basically, "Let the rich people ignore it, provide incentives for young and healthy people to get out if it, and let the poor and the sick fend for themselves."
  4. George Bush's plan for Social Security won't work. Privatizing Social Security will require as much as a 40% cut in benefits. It will increase the deficit by $2 TRILLION. And it won't extend the life of the trust fund or make the program any more solvent. Three strikes and you're out.
  5. There are better plans that will protect Social Security for generations. Very smart people have proposed a number of reforms to Social Security that don't require a cut in benefits or spending $2 TRILLION we don't have. Some combination of these sensible, measured reforms can make sure Social Security lasts for many generations to come. Doesn't that seem more reasonable than Bush's reckless privatization scheme that won't work?

There you have it. Everything you need to win the Social Security debate on one page. Because George Bush is on TV every night selling his reckless privatization scheme, we need to get this information to every Democrat in a hurry. Don't be shy. Forward this email to five Democratic friends.

Ultimately, no matter how hard we work to convince our friends and family that Social Security is worth protecting, it's still going to be up to the Senate Democrats to stop the Republicans from destroying the program as we know it. That's why it's so important that you continue to support the effort to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate.

All of us play a role in protecting Social Security. Senate Democrats are fighting George Bush and the Republicans in Washington. Now, you can count off those five simple points -- one for each finger -- and then you can make a fist, and go out and help us win the fight on Social Security.

James Carville

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