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March 11, 2005     Cape Gazette
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March 11, 2005
 

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I V m iilili m CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 11 - March 14, 2005 - 19 Carper rejects Bush Social Security plan By Karl Chalabala Sen. Tom Carper on March 7 ar- gued against President George Bush's plans to privatize Social Security, telling a group of seniors that contrary to the President's claims, the system is not in crisis. "What we have is a challenge, not a crisis," he said. In a discussion session at the CHEER Center in Georgetown in front of mostly seniors, Carper said Bush's plan would drive the country further into debt and vio- late the "moral obligation for Un- cle Sam to repay what it's bor- rowed from the Social Security trust fund." Carper said Bush's plan would require the government to borrow $400 trillion dollars to create the private account system. "I have a real concern about set- ting up the private accounts that will cost $400 trillion," he said. "We have a large debt already." Bush and several top GOP con- gressmen have cited statistics that show Social Security would go bankrupt before the middle of this century because baby boomers are retiring and collecting their bene- fits. By the year 2020, Carper said, Social Security will be at equilibrium, with the money com- ing in equaling the money going out. Without changes, Carper said, even under a best-case scenario, the fund will be bankrupt by 2050. However, Carper said the situa- tion is not as bleak as Bush says it is, "Our President describes the sit- uation we are in today as a Crisis," he said. "I believe that is an exag- geration." Carper said there are enough smart people in both political par- ties to solve this problem, and pointed back to the Reagan-era as an example. "When I arrived in the House of Representatives in 1983," Carper said, "we had a crisis. Ronald Reagan put together a bi-partisan commission with Alan Greenspan, the current Federal Reserve Chairman, as the chairman. Bob Dole was on the committee. De- mocratic Sen. Claude Pepper (of Florida) one of the leading aging advocates who was 82 at the time, was on the committee. Tip O'Neill, the Speaker of the House, was on the committee. All these smart people got together and worked for the better part of the year. They came out with some recommendations that worked and in the end we did the right thing. Those measures the commission enacted are what brought Social Security this far, and I think a similar commission would work again." Carper said this spring, he plans to introduce legislation with a Re- publican co-sponsor to create a commission similar to the one formed after the attacks on the World Trade Center, with five De- mocrats and five Republicans• Bush would appoint the chair of the commission. "I'd give them six months to work on this and enough money for a decent staff," Carper said. "I wouldn't take anything off of the table. And then we could see what they come up with. I believe this is the answer." Carper said the country needed to look for creative long-term so- lutions to fix the Social Security problem. '`This is not something of con- cern to my mother, who is 82," he said. "This is not something of concern to me. This is something of concern for our children and our children's children." In a discussion session at the CHEER Center in Georgetown in front of most- ly seniors, Sen. Tom Carper, right, said Bush's plan would drive the country further in- to debt and violate the "moral obligation for Uncle Sam to repay what it's bor- rowed from the Social Secu- rity trust fund." Karl Chalabala photo The 3L's in Real Estate! Location Location Location and List with Lot, at Lingo's Lou Cristaldi...Realtor Office 227-3883 lack Lingo Inc. Cell 228-2988 E-MAIL: lou jacklingo.com Contractors Continued from page 1 bus contractors consider a loom- ing crisis. Many contractors report borrowing against, their homes and assets just to maintain once profitable bus routes. As a statewide organization, the bus contractors are requesting an additional $6.9 million this year to be divided among 1,552 of the 1,694 school buses. Charter schools would be excluded, giv- ing each public contractor an additional $4,400 per contract. "Take a good hard look and read their point paper• Contractors are extremely impor- tant to us and if we lose them the state will be forced to pay a lot more than what we are asking for as a start to help the bus contrac- tors," said Sen. Robert Venables, D-Laurel. Venables, a senator with 17 years tenure, was a wit- ness in the hearing and said he has never before addressed JFC. The plight of Sussex County bus con- tractors, however, he said demands address because of ris- ing costs in fuel, operational maintenance and upgrades. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D- Rehoboth Beach, a member of e Joint Finance Committee, said it took a great deal of data to con- vince some upstate legislators on the committee of the severity of the crisis. "In the end, the mes- sage was delivered. It is a crisis across most of the state but Sussex contractors are taking the brunt of it in part due to longer routes that result in higher fuel costs. They are losing money every time they go to the pump," said Schwartzkopf. Among the long list of com- plaints is the practice of basing fuel payment on the bulk rate the state is eligible for, approximately $1.41 per gallon. Bus contractors, who must purchase diesel fuel, pay in excess of $2.10 per gallon• Additionally, the state reim- burses the contractors for capital investments on new school busses over seven years, rather than the standard five years involved in a vehicle loan. "In essence, these businesses are fronting the money for the state and most of the mom and pop contractors cannot continue to do that. These are changes we can make now," said Schwartzkopf. "These contrac- tors and drivers are integral to our education system; they should not be though t of last and least," he said. In 2004, JFC did appropriate an additional $400,000 for fuel over- ages but bus contractor advocates such as Moore report those reim- bursements are still too low. '`The money is there; it is only a matter of taking it from other places. The budget proposal still on the table from the Department of Education was submitted in November and was only to increase the transportation expense - by $381,000. This amount is lower than the emer- gency increase we received in October," said Moore, who was instrumental in organizing the lobbying efforts by contractors and drivers from Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Seaford, Delmar, Lewes and Millsboro. The Joint Finance Committee concludes their hearings next week and will then finalize rec- ommended bills. Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, said the potential crisis is part of a larger picture of rising energy costs impacting school budgets. "We'll have to see what JFC decides• If they do not make the right decision, I believe there will be swift legislative action to cor- rect this." LOW RATES... ARE JUST THE BEGINNING Serving home buyers and the realtor community with unparalleled customer service. • More Loan Types Available Than I Can List • Personal Service -"I Put My Customers First" • Free Pre-Approvals • Bringing You Closer To The American Dream AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE Lewes Branch 34382 Carpenters Way Lewes, DE 19958 Barbara Brittingham Loan Consultant 800-643-9268 x6063 302-644-6063 A American Home shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol AHM. 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