NU Online News Service, Jan. 20, 2005, 2:32 p.m. EST

Billionaires for Bush, New York, held a mock auction today to publicize its opposition to efforts by President Bush to restructure the nation’s biggest retirement income insurance program.[@@]

The group, which bills itself as an organization that supports “government of, by and for the corporations,” pretended to put Social Security and the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge program on the block at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington.

The winning bidder, Tex Shelter, is a New York resident who bid $100 million for Social Security, a group spokeswoman says.

“The Bush plan to ?reform’ Social Security will net our brokerage firms between $39 billion and $279 billion,” the group says in a statement about its auction. “The real Social Security crisis is that WE, the Billionaires, are not getting our cut! ?Pay Brokers, not Seniors!’ will be our rallying cry in 2005.”