Politics

Is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz ‘gambling’ with her future?

Jonathan Strong Contributor

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz recently blasted proposals to allow individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes, gravely warning of the “risky gamble” of investing.

“If that had happened in the last couple of years…you would have ended the protections that people have in the twilight of their life as we know it,” she said to Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan on CNN.

“Investing in the stock market is a risky gamble. It’s certainly not good for senior citizens or for the next generation to preserve Social Security. That will end Social Security,” she said.

On the one hand, it’s certainly true that many investors lost big in the financial crisis. The S&P 500 is down roughly 20 percent from where it was in 2007, when the crisis began.

On the other hand, it seems Wasserman Shultz may need to heed her own warnings. According to her most recent financial disclosure form, Wasserman Shultz may be, if she believes what she told viewers of CNN, gambling with the twilight of her life.

In 2009, two years into the financial crisis, Wasserman Shultz and her husband Paul purchased between $25,011 and $200,000 in mutual fund investments in retirement accounts.

Wasserman Shultz also owns between $100,001 and $250,000 in common shares for the Community Bank of Broward, where her husband works.

During the financial crisis, the couple’s bank stock apparently took a hit. In 2008, the value was listed between $250,001 and $500,000.

Wasserman Shultz’s investments are modest compared to many other members of Congress, some of whom have a net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars. (Top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa of California is the richest, with a net worth between $165 million and $337 million.)

Jonathan Beeton, a spokesman for Wasserman Shultz, also argued investments and Social Security play different roles in planning for retirement. “There’s a difference between a guaranteed payment and investing,” he said, noting that financial planners encourage those over 50 to move their money into less risky investments.

Wasserman Shultz turned 44 on Monday.