VIDEO: Flashback Friday: Trump’s Fed Board Nominee Stephen Moore Urged Kids to Burn Up Their Social Security Cards in Support of Privatization

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In keeping with President Trump’s penchant for nominating unserious, ideological right-wing extremists to positions of power, Stephen Moore is reportedly Trump’s choice for one of the two open seats on the Federal Reserve Board. Moore, a frequent cable news guest who made a career out of advocating for repeatedly-failed trickle-down economic policies and is notorious for flubbing and twisting facts, has pushed a lot of dangerous and discredited ideas over the years. One of the worst: the time Moore stood before a group of young students in 2018 and urged: “What I want to see from your generation is hundreds of thousands of people your age going to the Capitol and yelling ‘Hey, hey we won’t pay!’ and burning your Social Security cards.”

Moore failed miserably that day to ignite a youth movement pressuring Congress to scrap Social Security in favor of privatization, the risky investment scheme overwhelmingly rejected by the public during the Bush era that would allow Wall Street to gamble with retirees’ otherwise guaranteed benefits on the stock market – a proposal experts say would lead to deep benefit cuts and add to the deficit.

“Someone who would seriously urge young people to burn their Social Security cards and try to use them as props to advance privatization is not a serious individual,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Allied Progress. “And certainly not someone who should serve in a position like the Fed board where he could potentially do real harm to Social Security and the economy. It does make sense, however, why President Trump would pick a passionate supporter of cutting Social Security benefits like Moore to help write the nation’s monetary policy, given his new budget proposal that breaks his promise not to cut Social Security and Medicare.” 

Added Funk: “Stephen Moore has the all the zeal and half the credibility of a used car salesman when it comes to promoting destructive right-wing ideas like privatization and more tax cuts for the rich that never trickle down to anyone else. He should stick to what he’s good at: making a fool of himself on cable news.”

Fed Nominee Stephen Moore: You Should March On Washington And Burn Your Social Security Card

Donald Trump Promised Not To Cut Social Security—But Federal Reserve Board Nominee Stephen Moore Supports Privatizing The Crucial Program.

Donald Trump Pledged To Not Cut Social Security… 

In 2015, Donald Trump Said He Would Not “Cut Social Security Like Every Other Republican.” “‘I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,’ Donald Trump declared in 2015. ‘Every other Republican’s going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do. I do.’” [Steve Benen, “It’s not just Medicare: Trump budget eyes Social Security cuts, too,” MSNBC, 03/11/19]

…But Nominated Stephen Moore To The Federal Reserve Board…

President Trump Said He Offered Stephen Moore A Nomination On The Federal Reserve’s Board Of Governors. On March 22, 2018, “President Trump said […] that he had offered a position on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors to Stephen Moore, a conservative economic adviser who has become an outspoken critic of the Fed’s interest rate policy.” [Jim Tankersley, “Trump Taps Fed Critic Stephen Moore for Board Seat,” The New York Times, 03/22/19]

…Who, Just Last Year, Told A Classroom Of Students That “Social Security Is Probably The Worst Investment You’re Ever Going To Make In Your Life” And Advocated Privatizing The Program. 

In July 2018, Stephen Moore Told A Classroom Of Students, “Social Security Is Probably The Worst Investment You’re Ever Going To Make In Your Life.” “Social Security is probably the worst investment you’re ever going to make in your life. Right? The joke is on your generation. […] If you think that you’re going to get Social Security when you retire, you know, I think you’re living in a fantasy land.” [“Stephen Moore,” Young America’s Foundation via YouTube, 07/22/18 (56:54)] 

Stephen Moore Advocated for Creating “Personal 401k Plans” That Would Depend On The Stock Market, Claiming That They Would Provide A “Higher Benefit” Than Social Security. “Now what I want to do, and this is not a new idea but I think it’s more important now than ever, is basically say to every American under the age of 30 – you, instead of having to take 12% of your paycheck each paycheck and send it off to Washington, you put that money into a forced savings account under your own name. It’s called like a personal IRA, a personal 401K plan, and you get to accumulate that money over time. And you know, you basically can’t spend it, by the way, you can’t tap into that money until you reach the age of 65. But if you have that kind of system and we get an average return on the stock market, that means that every single one of you in this room is going to have at least a million dollars in that account by the time you retire. And by the way, that means that you can actually take out the money and you have a higher benefit than you would get [sic] Social Security.” [“Stephen Moore,” Young America’s Foundation via YouTube, 07/22/18 (57:19)]

  • Moore was speaking at the Young America’s Foundation’s “Road to Freedom Seminar: Why the Left Hates Trump’s Economy,” held July 20-21, 2018 at the Foundation’s headquarters in Reston, VA.[“Road to Freedom Seminar: Why the Left Hates Trump’s Economy,” Young America’s Foundation, accessed 03/29/19]

Privatizing Social Security Would Threaten The Economic Stability Of Everyone Who Relies On The Program To Survive.

Social Security Provides A Stable Source Of Income For Retirees—And Privatization Would Subject Everyone’s Retirements To Market Fluctuations.

“Traditional Social Security Provides A Guaranteed Income,” And Provides More Than Half The Income For Over 60% Of Those Who Receive It. “In contrast to private retirement funds, traditional Social Security provides a guaranteed income, paying benefits every month for life — with increases for inflation. After adjusting for risk, Social Security has a rate of return equal to that of any mix of financial assets in private accounts. With more than 60 percent of beneficiaries relying on Social Security for at least half their income, it makes no sense to gamble Americans’ future Social Security benefits on the roiling forces of the market.” [Max Richtman, “Privatization is really a plan to dismantle Social Security,” CNBC, 03/26/18]

Privatized Social Security “Would Encourage Workers To Gamble” Their Contributions On Private Investments And “Risk Losing Some Or All Of It, Leaving Little Or Nothing For Retirement.” “Instead of providing a secure, defined benefit as Social Security now does, privatizers would encourage workers to gamble a growing percentage of their payroll contributions on private investments. As the proportion of private investment increased, the amount of a worker’s defined Social Security benefit would decrease — until it reached what could only be considered a poverty-level amount. Of course, the worker would reap any gains in the privately invested funds, but would also risk losing some or all of it, leaving little or nothing for retirement.” [Max Richtman, “Privatization is really a plan to dismantle Social Security,” CNBC, 03/26/18]

Stephen Moore Even Told A Classroom Of Students That They Should March On Washington And BURN Their Social Security Cards.

In July 2018, Stephen Moore Told A Group Of Students, “What I Want To See From Your Generation Is Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Your Age Going To The Capitol And Yelling ‘Hey, Hey, We Won’t Pay,’ And Burning Your Social Security Cards.” During a seminar for the Young America’s Foundation, Stephen Moore said, “[w]hat I want to see from your generation is hundreds of thousands of people your age going to the Capitol and yelling ‘hey, hey, we won’t pay,’ and burning your Social Security cards. You know? Can you guys have that movement?” [“Stephen Moore,” Young America’s Foundation via YouTube, 07/22/18 (59:05)]

  • Moore was speaking at the Young America’s Foundation’s “Road to Freedom Seminar: Why the Left Hates Trump’s Economy,” held July 20-21, 2018 at the Foundation’s headquarters in Reston, VA.[“Road to Freedom Seminar: Why the Left Hates Trump’s Economy,” Young America’s Foundation, accessed 03/29/19]

As A Member Of The Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Moore Could Influence Interest Rates That Would Undermine How Much Money Social Security Earns From Its Investments.

As A Member Of The Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Moore Will Have A Direct Impact On How Much Money Social Security Earns From The Treasury Bonds In Which It Is Required To Invest. 

The Federal Reserve Sets The “Federal Funds Target Rate,” Which “Has The Power To Influence Social Security.” “Traditionally, we think of the Federal Reserve as the entity that monitors the nation’s money supply and oversees the largest banks. It’s also responsible for setting the federal funds target rate, which is the overnight lending rate between banks. It’s this federal funds target rate that has the power to influence Social Security. You see, the federal funds target rate is closely tied to interest rates, such as those you would pay on your credit card, or the yields you’d receive when purchasing a Treasury bond from the U.S. government.” [Sean Williams, “Here’s How the Federal Reserve Can Affect Social Security,” The Motley Fool, 11/29/18]

  • Social Security Is Required To Invest All Its Surpluses Back Into Treasury Bonds, Whose Yields Are Directly Determined By The Federal Reserve’s Interest Rates. “By law, the Social Security Administration is required to invest all net cash surpluses — i.e., excess revenue collected, minus program expenditures — in special-issue bonds and, to a lesser extent, certificates of indebtedness. In essence, Social Security is loaning out its excess cash to the federal government in exchange for Treasury bonds that pay a set interest rate over a defined period of time. If the Fed is loosening monetary supply, the yields on these special-issue bonds would be expected to decline, thereby resulting in less interest income being collected by Social Security. On the other hand, if the Fed is tightening monetary supply, the yields on these government bonds would rise, resulting in more interest income.” [Sean Williams, “Here’s How the Federal Reserve Can Affect Social Security,” The Motley Fool, 11/29/18]

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