Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush is proposing a $900 billion plan to alter the Social Security system so that 2 percent of an employee’s Social Security taxes would be placed in a private account for that person to control and invest as she or he wishes. Privatizing Social Security withholdings takes huge amounts of money out of the Social Security trust fund, which needs more money, not less, to remain stable and profitable. A weakened Social Security system means less support for many older people, 60 percent of whom are women. According to Judy Mann of The Washington Post, “It’s a bad idea, and particularly bad for women.”
Bush’s privatization plan would be particularly detrimental to women because women typically earn less. A smaller paycheck means less money to invest in a private plan and less money to rely on in retirement. Women live an average of 7 years longer than men. These 7 years of additional annuities will cut into the total retirement package. And, women depend more on Social Security. Without it, 52.9 percent of women 65 and older would live in poverty-a figure that would become reality under Bush’s plan.