Thursday, March 31, 2005
The Charles Schwab Corp., target of protests around the nation today, is trying to claim it is "neutral" in the debate over privatizing Social Security. From the company's latest press release:
At this time, the Charles Schwab Corporation is not an advocate of any specific political approach related to addressing Social Security. Claims by some organizations that Schwab is a 'supporter' of Social Security personal accounts are incorrect.Really? We don't think so. It's been documented that:
- Schwab is a member and financial backer of the mis-named Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, the most significant business coalition campaigning for the privatization of Social Security.
- AWRS's executive director says there is no reason to belong to the group except to support privatization.
- Schwab is a contributor to the Cato Institute, the group that issued a plan in 1983 for a gradual effort to sow cast doubt upon and dismantle Social Security.
- Schwab has been a leading advocate for privatization among the board members of the Securities Industry Association.
The Company has contributed membership fees to a variety of organizations that have points of view on this issue. Those contributions have included groups that take both sides of the debate on the role of private accounts in a Social Security solution.Really? Maybe so, but the Schwab representative we talked to refused to name any of the anti-privatization groups that they have supposedly given to.
Finally, the Schwab release tries to answer the direct question, does Charles Schwab, himself, support private accounts. Instead of a simple yes or no, here is the crap they offer:
Mr. Schwab has been a life-long and unequivocal advocate for the benefits of investing. He also has been vocal on the need for Americans to expand their retirement savings. He has said the he believes the long-term viability of Social Security should be a public priority. He recognizes these are his own thoughts and not the official views of the company.We need a little Jon Stewart "wha? . . .wha? . . wha?" sound effect here. Again we have to ask, Really?
- Schwab reportedly endorsed a book on the subject of converting Social Security to private accounts in the 1990s (we are still looking for a proper citing.)
- Schwab has sent his chief investment strategist to Bush's "economic summit" that focused on, surprise, his private accounts plan.
- Schwab has sent other executives to planning meetings on Social Security in 2004.
Also, thanks to some of our labor friends for sending the photo from Columbus, above.