This is a couple of days old from The Dean Of Beltway Journalism, but it definitely merits a mention; David S. Broder is chiding Obama and the Democratic congress for their budget deficits, which are significant I’ll grant you, though not as big a threat to this country as the current recession (and again, Obama was handed $1.3 trillion in red ink, so what’s he going to do to try and get us out of this? Pinch pennies instead?).
However, this excerpt from Broder is truly wankerific…
There are plenty of people in Congress for whom the CBO report (that projected $9.3 trillion added to the debt) was no surprise, and some of them have proposed a solution that would confront this reality. Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Judd Gregg, its ranking Republican, have offered a bill to create a bipartisan commission to examine every aspect of the budget -- taxes, defense and domestic spending, and, especially, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Congress would be required to vote promptly, up or down, on its recommendations, or come up with an alternative that would achieve at least as much in savings.Oh, please; the following came from this Think Progress post, which noted that Former President Reality Avoidance claimed “the push for Social Security privatization” as his biggest domestic achievement – words fail me on occasions like this, I must admit (and that's quite a trick for somebody like me)…
In the House, Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Republican Frank Wolf of Virginia have been pressing a similar proposal but have been regularly thwarted.
The roadblock in chief is Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. She has made it clear that her main goal is to protect Social Security and Medicare from any significant reforms. Pelosi has not forgotten how Democrats benefited from the 2005-06 fight against Bush's effort to change Social Security. Her party, which had lost elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004, found its voice and its rallying cry to "Save Social Security," and Pelosi is not about to allow any bipartisan commission to take that issue away from her control.
It seems odd that Bush cited an unsuccessful effort as his biggest domestic policy achievement, but understandable given that he doesn’t have much else to consider. But not only was Bush’s drive to privatize Social Security an utter failure, the concept is also widely unpopular with the American public and if enacted, it would have had disastrous consequences for Americans’ retirement funds.I would tend to agree with Sen. Kent Conrad who claimed that the projected deficit in President Obama’s budget is “unsustainable.” However, let’s get this done it in whatever form it takes (after Congress hammers it out, passes it and sends it to Obama’s desk) to help rebuild our economy first, OK? And then, after we turn things around economically (God willing), we can start looking for ways to rework the numbers.
A recent Center for American Progress Action Fund report found that if a worker had retired on October 1, 2008 after 35 years of contributions to private retirement accounts, that retiree would have lost nearly $30,000 in retirement funds because of the downturn in the stock market over the last two years.
Part of the reason Bush’s push failed was that very few people actually believed he was trying to reform Social Security and instead thought he was trying to dismantle it. Even back in 2005, despite a lack of support for privatization, the Bush administration was insisting that their efforts were a “great success.”
Indeed, a recent CNN poll found that 62 percent of Americans oppose privatizing any part their Social Security taxes.
And then Broder can go back to doing what he does best, which is sliming Democratic politicians (here – if you want to go after Harry Reid, there’s plenty of ammunition from the “reality based community” instead) and writing about “the state of the Clintons’ marriage” (here).