In 2005, when President Bush was pushing for privatization of Social Security, Sen. Dick Durbin had some very strong words of support for the program. Here he is on Meet the Press, March 6, 2005.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that we currently have a crisis with Social Security?
SEN. DURBIN: I wouldn't use the word crisis. Untouched, Social Security will make every single payment for the next 37 years to every retiree, maybe 47 years. But beyond that, unless the economy grows well and grows us out of the problem, we need to address it. And there are ways to address it in sensible, commonsense approaches today that will play out in 40 or 50 years.
MR. RUSSERT: So as long as the president insists private and personal accounts are on the table, will you not sit at the table?
SEN. DURBIN: I don't believe that we can. I believe that if we are to start with the premise that we are going to weaken Social Security, cut benefits and leave the next generation a $2 to $5 trillion deficit, how can that possibly be good for America?
Six years ago, Social Security wasn't in crisis, but now it is? For the record, privatization isn't the only scheme that would weaken Social Security. Today, Durbin endorsed the idea of means testing it. That weakens it potentially fatally by taking what has been an extremely strong and popular social insurance program for the past 75 years—one in which every American is invested and benefits from—and turning it into a welfare program.
If weakening Social Security six years ago couldn't possibly be good for America, why is it now?