December 24, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Social Security: Cleveland: Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Iran: Special Report: Iran RPCV, Cabinet Member, and University President Donna Shalala: December 24, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Social Security: Cleveland: Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits

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Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits

Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits

Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits

Shalala tells Clevelanders she's wary of privatizing Social Security benefits
Friday, December 24, 2004
Ebony Reed
Plain Dealer Reporter

A native Clevelander who was in President Clinton's Cabinet told a local audience Thursday that Americans should save more money, as she also warned against total privatization of Social Security.

Donna Shalala, a 1958 West Tech graduate and former secretary of Health and Human Services, spoke in her former high school, which is now West Tech Lofts, an apartment complex.

About 20 people -- many of them relatives -- attended Shalala's discussion, a kickoff to the Lofts' upcoming lectures on tax and estate planning.

Shalala has been president of the University of Miami for almost four years.

During her tenure with the Clinton administration, she increased immunization programs for children, and Clinton signed a bill revamping welfare. That law ended nearly 60 years of federal subsidies to poor Americans and put states in charge of helping the poor, with a stronger emphasis on work programs.

Shalala said the concept of privatizing Social Security is not a bad one, but current proposals don't work for most people.

"The windfall is for Wall Street," she said.

Kent Smith, a Euclid school board member who attended Thursday, agreed.

Smith said he is concerned that the push for privatization may be really about beefing up financial markets, not increasing money for retirees.

Allowing Americans to put money for retirement in private savings accounts is good as long as it does not reduce the guaranteed payments under the current Social Security system, Shalala said.

But she was quick to add that investment accounts have other problems.

"Everything would depend on timing," she said. "Most Americans don't have that much control to wait until the market goes up to retire."

President Bush and others supporting some privatization of Social Security say it would keep the program afloat longer. Bush has said that baby boomers will strain Social Security when they retire.

Despite that hit from baby boomers, the program will have enough money to make payments through 2042, Shalala said.

Knowing that made Jennifer Kravec, a baby boomer who lives in the West Tech Lofts, feel better.

"I thought I'd be in the group that wouldn't be getting Social Security," she said. "Now I think that will just be used as a scare tactic."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4848

© 2004 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Cleveland

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Iran; Social Security



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