New DSCC attacks Toomey on Wall St., Social Security

One day after Rep. Joe Sestak’s campaign launched its first TV advertisement of the general election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee came to his aid Wednesday with another round of supporting fire.

 No surprise, the new spot portrays Republican Pat Toomey as a running dog of Wall Street, using the same strained argument that DSCC’s did in its first ad -- that Toomey’s trading in currency-rate swaps and other derivatives during the 1980s helped send the global economy down the tubes in 2008.

This time the DSCC links the Wall Street tag to Toomey’s desire to privatize Social Security, a potentially potent new attack. Speaking in Harrisburg Aug. 23, Toomey denied that he wants to privatize the federal old-age insurance program. However, Toomey was a prominent backer of former President George W. Bush’s unsuccessful proposal to replace Social Security with personal savings accounts that would be invested by younger workers. Needless to say, if such a system had existed when the markets crashed two years ago, a whole lot of people would have lost a pile of retirement money. The issue is back in the midterm elections because Rep. Paul Ryan (R.,Wisc.) has issued a Republican “roadmap” to control federal spending, a plan which includes a partial privatization of Social Security.

So does Toomey support privatization of Social Security? It all depends on how you define the term. He and his campaign say that he does favor allowing younger workers to put a portion of their payroll taxes into private accounts, but such an approach doesn’t count as privatization because  most of the program would still be controlled by the government, which also would closely regulate the private accounts.

Democrats around the nation are using Social Security privatization attacks, hoping to buck bad midterm polling trends. In this ad, the DSCC points out that Wall Street would stand to gain billions in fees from privatization, a way of tying both attacks together.