It's been a bad week for the Bush Administration, in spite of aides eagerly chanting "Road Trip!" after the SOTU. Things aren't going well on the SS phase-out campaign trail.
The most uncomfortable part of this embarrassment for the gang who can't shoot straight has been the inability to employ one of their usual tactics: to shoot the messengers. But this time, most of the messengers are RepubliCons. And after Karl had done such a good job shoring them up at the retreat: "Republicans at the party retreat said their spirits were boosted when Karl Rove, the president's political architect, told them he couldn't think of any GOP candidate in the last three cycles who debated Social Security and lost—including Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina and John Sununu in New Hampshire."
For the first unexpected source of backlash, see this, or read the excerpt below:
Rep. James McCrery (R-LA), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, admitted yesterday that diverting money from the Social Security trust fund into private accounts will undermine the program. "That is true on its face. It does decrease the level of the fund," he stated. McCrery's statements come on top of those by an "anonymous" senior White House official who candidly admitted that the president's privatization scheme "would do nothing to solve the system's long-term financial problems," according to the LA Times.
Heck, can't shoot 'em--that would reduce the "base." Don't that jus' beat all.
If only those pesky facts didn't keep blurring the picture, maybe the coverage would be more positive:
Analysis of Bush's plan so far indicates private accounts will "do nothing to solve" the system's long-term financial problems. To "'work,' privatization must generate more money for retirees than current arrangements," but there is nothing in the president's plan which would inject more capital into the economy. Stumping for his plan on Thursday, President Bush insisted, "The math doesn't work" for the current system, but it is the president's plan that relies on fuzzy numbers.
With help like this, who needs to worry about Democrats in Red States?
You know you've got trouble when Dick Cheney's favorite web site has the nerve to point out the truth behind the blitz:
"You take what the president said in his address last night, he's talking about more tax cuts, more spending, more borrowing for private accounts," Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in a telephone interview. "It doesn't add up."
Conrad said at least five Republican senators have approached him in the last 10 days looking to form a bipartisan group that can offer an alternative to the president's politically risky proposal. (my emphasis)
Even the WH couldn't make the stretch work, while attempting to make a case for the roadshow's phase-out plan:
But the official at the briefing made it clear that his boss was fibbing: if you invested your private account in government bonds, you would face benefit cuts equal in value to your investment, so you would be no better off than under the current system.
OK, that's settled. But with this gang, there's always more. File this one under: "Did they think we wouldn't notice?"
"If we could succeed in getting some form of tort reform passed — medical malpractice reform or any of part of that — it would go a long ways toward … taking away the muscle, the financial muscle that they have," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who ousted Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle last fall despite a heavy flood of trial lawyer money backing the Democrat.
At least Robert Bixby, of the Concord Coalition, had the chutzpah to mention that the tax cuts contributed to the current push to dissolve the SS program. In the Senate Committee on Aging hearing to discuss the SOTU plan, he also said if you borrow money to set up private accounts up was an unsustainable course. Translation: If you're going to change the SS system, why borrow money to fund an unfunded program.
Oops. Guess the WH didn't get the Catch-22 memo.
But just to be clear on this whole SS thing:
the new Plan would do nothing to improve the program's finances and would require that workers invest in speculation rather than a guarantee.
That's a deal even the President would resist. That is, if he needed to worry about his pension(s).
The whole point of the traveling circus was to celebrate and gloat. Political Capital Spending Spree!!What a downer that it coincided with the public finding out that even Rummy thought he should resign?! Or worse--that his boss shelved the two resignation letters? Now where does that place responsibility?!
Speaking of responsibility, how 'bout those grand claims in the SOTU?
"Our society has changed in ways the founders of Social Security could not have foreseen. In today's world, people are living longer and therefore drawing benefits longer - and those benefits are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few decades." George W. Bush, February 2, 2005
Tsk, tsk. That fact-checking thing, again:
"In 1934, when Franklin Roosevelt formed the Committee on Economic Security to design what was in effect the first federal safety net, the committee hired three actuaries to stargaze into the future. The actuaries predicted that the proportion of Americans over 65 -- then only 5.4 percent -- would rise to 12.65 percent in 1990, meaning that retiree costs would soar. They were just a tad high; the actual figure would be 12.49 percent." Roger Lowenstein, January 16, 2005, New York Magazine
And just when we were thinking of awarding another oxymoronic medal--maybe this time to the Government Accountability Office.
Now that would be a headline suitable for framing.
How can the people force congress to pass a progressive agenda? Simple. I have picked some well known companies that appear related to issues that progressives find important. Boycott these companies and make them lobby congress and get what we want or they go bust. While I agree we need to elect a Democratic congress and a Democratic president, with a consumer boycott we the people can exert influence every single day and not just at election time and not just with letters or petitions but with petitions with the bite of a boycott.
Join the revolution for progressive legislation
Write this url on your one, five and ten dollar bills.
Call Eckerd Pharmacy Corporate Headquarters at 800 325 3737, Call CVS Pharmacy Corporate headquarters at 888 607 4287 and Call Walgreens Pharmacy Corporate headquarters at 800 289 2273 and tell them we will not purchase any products from their drug stores until they get the Republican congress to repeal the faulty prescription drug benefit and replace it with a simple 80 percent coverage benefit under Medicare Part B. Then sign the petition.
Call Walmart at 800 WALMART and tell them you will not buy from them until they get the Republican congress to stop social security privatization, increase the minimum wage to TEN dollars an hour, and extend unemployment insurance for people who lost jobs and sought work for more than 6 months. then sign the petition.
Sign the petition to stop social security privatization, increase the minimum wage,and repeal the faulty Republican prescription drug benefit and replace it with a simple 80 percent coverage of medication under Medicare Part B.
Sign the petition to stop the War and Occupation in Iraq
Also visit these fine websites