Mike Huckabee on Social Security
Republican AR Governor
A: The president had the right idea, but he used the wrong word. When he used the word privatization, it scared the daylights out of a lot of people.
Q: Well, he didn’t. He used the word private accounts.
A: Well, but it scared the daylights out of people because they’re thinking Enron and WorldCom, and that that’s where their money would go. The right word is personalization. Empower individuals to have a greater say over their money. And that’s what it is. Keep the government from robbing the trust funds, which is something that, if it was done in the private sector, would get a guy in jail. One thing, when people reach retirement age, if they really have enough retirement benefits, they don’t need Social Security for the long term, give them the option of one-time buyout, or the opportunity to purchase an annuity, with their funds, tax-free, that frees up the long-term obligation of the government.
We are writing in strong opposition to the cuts to the Title XX/Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program as included in the fiscal 2000 appropriations bill.
Over the past few years, SSBG has taken more than its share of cuts in federal funding. As part of the 1996 welfare reform deal, Congress made a commitment to Governors that SSBG would be level funded at $2.38 billion each year. In fact, Governors reluctantly accepted a 15% cut in SSBG funds at that time in exchange for the commitment for stable funding in the future. However, repeated cuts in SSBG have been enacted regardless of that commitment. For fiscal 2000, SSBG is funded at $1.05 billion, which is over a 50% cut from its mandatory authorized level. Such a drastic reduction in funding for SSBG will result in cuts to vital human services for our most vulnerable citizens.
SSBG provides services to needy populations, including low-income children and families, the elderly, and the disabled. While SSBG does have a strong connection with welfare reform efforts in states by providing valuable resources for child care and transportation, it also provides services to many individuals who are not considered welfare recipients. For example, in many states, SSBG funding is used to provide foster care assistance, meals on wheels for the elderly, and independent living services for the disabled -- programs which are not allowable uses of welfare funds such as TANF.
In addition, as Congress finalizes this bill, we reiterate our adamant opposition to cutting funding for other vital health and human services programs which would adversely affect millions of Americans -- with the greatest impact on children and the elderly in the greatest need. The Governors are not seeking increased federal funding; we are simply requesting that you fulfill your commitments and reject cuts in programs such as SSBG that would jeopardize our strong state-federal partnership.
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