Demonstration at Charles Schwab Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 26, 2005. San Francisco Gray Panthers joined Senior Action Network, the California Labor Federation, San Francisco Labor Council, and other organizations in a rally-demonstration at Charles Schwab headquarters denouncing Schwab's role in supporting the drive to privatize Social Security. Schwab, the country’s largest discount brokerage house funds groups lobbying Congress for private accounts, including the Cato Institute, the primary think-tank behind privatization.

The Gray Panthers speaker emphasized the need to reach out to youth, who will be the main ones to suffer the retirement benefit cuts which are an integral part of the Social Security restructuring plan.

Labor groups tied the plan for Social Security privatization with Schwarzenegger's plan to privatize the pensions of California State workers.

Senior Action Network speakers denounced the lie that Social Security is broken, saying the President is trying to manufacture a crisis to stampede people into private accounts.

A California Alliance of Retired Americans speaker described a series of 12 town hall meetings to be held around the State in April, with the object of getting the members of California’s congressional delegation publicly commit to upholding Social Security. The meetings will also educate people about the dangers of privatization and how small adjustments can protect the system as we know it.



Watch a short video of this demonstration.
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein said this week that while she doesn’t want to see Social Security privatized, she also doesn’t oppose a plan for private accounts. Her statement shows that legislators must be made accountable, CARA's speaker said.

“Sen. Feinstein seems to be playing both sides of the issue” as she did on prescription drugs." “We have got to get the senator to promise, in front of people, that she will not vote for the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.”

CARA also urged involving younger groups, including current workers. “All the polls of people in their 20s and 30s indicate they don’t believe Social Security will be there for them when they retire.”

The California Labor Federation is mapping out an overall program with a coalition of public and private sector unions, to oppose the privatization of public pensions at both the national and state levels. Earlier this month CLF head Art Pulaski pointed out that Gov. Schwarzenegger “is following Bush’s lead in dismantling workers’ retirement funds,” through his plan to force all new state employees into a 401(k)-style plan run by for-profit investment firms.

A Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)speaker said Social Security has a greater role among traditionally underemployed groups, with higher percentages of the elderly among communities of color and women depending on SSI as their sole or major source of income. Though Bush’s allegations remain unproven, he added, MAPA would propose two reforms: eliminating the cap on income taxed for Social Security, and banning the use of the program’s reserves to subsidize the federal budget.