41 Groups Urge President to Avoid "Bush 41's" Mistakes, Pledge Not to Raise Social Security Taxes

(Alexandria, VA) -- Concerned that George W. Bush may commit the same "Read My Lips" debacle that his father did in signing a tax-hike law, 41 groups spanning virtually the entire conservative movement today urged the President to avoid any Social Security reform deals that would violate his pledge to oppose tax increases. In response to recent reports that the Administration is considering such increases, the 350,000 member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) organized the letter to persuade President Bush to renew that pledge.

"America's retirement program is completely broken and any reform package that relies on such simplistic, punitive measures will not address its underlying failures," the letter stated. According to the groups, raising payroll tax rates or the $94,200 cap on wages subject to Social Security taxes will not solve the system's fundamental demographic problems.

The 41 signatories represented several million members and comprised much of the grassroots movement opposing tax hikes. Joining NTU on the letter were such prominent groups as the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Club for Growth, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Family Research Council, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

The participants noted that many past tax hikes have failed to save entitlement programs. The Medicare Hospital Insurance program's fiscal outlook is actually worsening, despite Congress having raised the cap on wages subject to the tax in 1993. The letter urges the President to push for individually owned retirement accounts that would "foster the kind of 'Ownership Society' for which [the President has] been such a powerful advocate."

"Whether [tax-hike] schemes are proposed under the guise of hiking the rate, broadening the base, or 'increasing fairness,' the appalling and unacceptable motive would be transparent: punt this problem to our children and grandchildren," the letter concluded. "We're confident that you share our opinion, and we stand ready to help you achieve true Social Security reform, without tax hikes and other harmful gimmicks."

NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government. Note: The coalition letter, which lists all 41 signatories, is available at www.ntu.org.