President Bush Touts Social Security Plan in Little Rock Amid Protestors

February 4, 2005 --Posted 7:00 p.m. CDT

Little Rock, AR -- The President continued his 5 state social security campaign on Friday in Little Rock. Bush is targeting states he won in the election, but which are represented by democratic senators. Some believe this is his way to add political pressure on those members of Congress to support his broad sweeping privatization plan.

"I've got something on my mind and it's how to make sure this country is safe for generations to come," said Bush.

Speaking to an audience at the Robinson Center in Little Rock and standing side-by-side with seniors on stage, Bush said the system needs changing immediately.

"In the year 2018, the social security system goes into the red, which means more money going out to baby boomers who are living longer with greater benefits promised, than coming in in payroll taxes," added the President.

Key democrats, like Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, who sits on the finance committee insists Bush is using scare tactics to push his agenda.

"We need to start now there's no doubt, but we don't start with the anticipation of doing something drastic," said Lincoln.

Both Lincoln and Bush agree that social security needs to be overhauled. They disagree on how it should be done.

"Obviously the more conservative mix of stocks and bonds, the less risk you'll have, but it doesn't take much risk to get a better rate of return on your money, than that which is in the social security trust," said Bush.

"Most democrats and actually a good number of republicans are uneasy with the president's plan. If the president were able to divert those payroll tax plans into private accounts, it would be devastating to current beneficiaries," said Lincoln.

Not just democratic senators are opposing the president's plan. Community activists and organized labor unions in Little Rock also protested Bush's changes to social security, saying the president would rip away the safety net for millions of elderly Americans.