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Walz supporters pan Davis' Social Security plan

WORTHINGTON -- Community members spoke out Wednesday against U.S. Congress candidate Brian Davis' plan to privatize Social Security, saying relinquishing government control in the face of a flailing stock market would make the situation worse and place a burden on taxpayers.

They support U.S. Congress Democratic Candidate Tim Walz, who opposes privatization.

"Some people say 'Well, it's only going to be a matter of time.' If we continue paying out our benefits like we are now, it's projected to last until 2052 -- we've got some lead time here to make some adjustments and improvements to the system," said Mike McCarvel, a state House candidate who led the panel that convened at the Local Union 1161 UFCW office on Oxford Street.

"The main point of Tim's plan is to oppose privatization," explained Chris Schmitter, his campaign manager, who said Walz would focus on fixing the current system instead. "He would use his record of working across the aisle to find those solutions."

Terry Morrison, who works for New Dawn Inc., a manager of community services for people with disabilities, said he was concerned about what would happen to the independence of those with disabilities if the stock market were to crash under a privatized system.

"Minnesota is not the type of place where people could be put out on the street, but they very well could be put into a large, communal group setting again, where they wouldn't be able to live independently because they wouldn't have the resources," Morrison said. "The taxpayer would have to pay more money to pick up the tab."

Morrison also said he was concerned about the resources needed to privatize. People who are severely disabled and can't make decisions for themselves would need someone to manage their Social Security investments, he said.

"It adds another person into the system, and there are questions about who that person should be," Morrison said. "It brings in the possibility of fraud, and that person's got to be paid."

Norman Larson, a retiree from Worthington, also spoke in favor of Walz.

"I remember the Depression. There was no Social Security at that time. ... People were poor -- and don't think that can't happen again," said Larson, "The best thing that ever happened to this country was to force people to save for their future."

Larson referred to the recent stock market downturn in calling for government attention to the predicted Social Security depletion.

"If we can appropriate $700 billion to the people that screwed the whole mess up and crooks that stole money from people, we can put a few billion dollars together to keep the Social Security going."