News Release

Assessing the “State of the Union”: Social Security, Education, Health Care

With President Clinton’s State of the Union address focusing attention on such issues as Social Security, education and health care, the following policy analysts are available for interviews:

SOCIAL SECURITY

MARK WEISBROT
Economist and research director at the Preamble Center, Weisbrot said: “Social Security never did need saving; proposals to `reform’ the system are driven by politics and Wall Street’s enormous interest in privatization, and not by any problem with the program’s finances. The reason that this charade has lasted so long is that so many of the major players have an interest in pretending that there is a problem to fix. Many Republicans would like to achieve the privatization that they could only dream about during the Reagan era, but dared not pursue. And there are plenty of Democrats who like to keep the issue on the table because, as they learned in November, it helps them win elections.”
More Information

EDUCATION

GWENDOLYN MINK
Professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mink said: “We have to make sure we don’t have a pull-the-plug approach on education, like what happened to welfare. That would mean the ones that will suffer the most are the ones that are already poorly funded. Currently, only 7 percent of all money spent on elementary and secondary education comes from the federal government. Whatever problems we have with our public schools have everything to do with our failure to fund them adequately and to make sure that every child gets an equal education. The president’s attitude is that the problem is misspent resources, while the real problem is that resources are insufficient to the task, particularly given the property tax basis of most school systems.”

HEALTH CARE

STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER
Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, said: “We have a major crisis in paying for long-term care and for regular acute care. But all President Clinton has in mind is giving a small tax credit. This $1,000 tax credit is a drop in the bucket…. Sixteen percent of Americans are medically uninsured, HMOs are bribing and threatening doctors to get us to deny care to our patients, $100 billion is wasted each year on excess health care paperwork. Double-digit cost increases are again expected. We need non-profit national health insurance that covers all medical care — acute and long-term.”
More Information

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167