Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Social Security article

The Washington Post runs this article about President Bush's efforts to ease Republican concerns over Social Security. It's a fairly run-of-the-mill analysis of some of the doubts that certain GOP lawmakes have over reform. But there were a few items in their that jumped out at me.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) is pushing for a much broader restructuring of Social Security than Bush envisions. Thomas said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that lawmakers should examine the effect on benefits of longevity by race, occupation and sex.

The Democratic National Committee sent a fundraising e-mail based on the comments. It sought contributions and 100,000 signatures "calling on President Bush to disavow the notion of tying Social Security benefits to race or gender."

DNC Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said in a conference call with reporters that Thomas's ideas would "create havoc within the system." When a reporter said the debate could aid blacks if it stopped the eligibility age from rising, McAuliffe maintained that Thomas "is attacking race and gender."
First of all, Terry McAwful is still DNC chair? Haven't the Dems found a replacement for this dud yet?

Second, pardon my language, but what the fuck is he talking about? Say what you will about Thomas' proposal, but they were meant to aid those who get hurt because of the current system due to differences in life expectancy. Now I happen to think that this idea is well-intentioned but probably will create more headaches, but to suggest that it "attacks" race and gender is just dumb.

Continuing on, there was this little gem.
Democrats are reveling in the Republicans' woes. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that Social Security "is obviously something that is causing them a great deal of trouble."

"Republicans are in disarray," he added.
Attention, attention: Pot, the kettle is looking for you. Granted that there is some division on this issue in Republican ranks, a Democrat claiming that the GOP is in disarray is a little, well, laughable. See above item on Democrats' attempts to find a new chair.

Finally, there's this:
Another dissonant note was sounded by religious conservatives, who warned the White House that their followers are split over the wisdom of revising Social Security. Gary L. Bauer, president of the socially conservative group American Values, said about 60 like-minded groups wrote to White House senior adviser Karl Rove last week to "observe the fact that there are decidedly mixed opinions among pro-family conservatives at the grass roots about Social Security privatization."
Congratulations Mr. Bauer, want a cookie? If I were Karl Rove I would simply respond: "Observed. Now go back to studying issues you know something about and call us when you have something useful to share."

All right, that may be a tad unfair, but that is not exactly the most useful bit of information ever shared. "Some of our members are not exactly sure they support you on this." Okay, good to know. So what? Can you maybe offer a bit more on that, like what are their concers, how deeply those concerns run, and what exactly are the consequences of the White House's choice to pursue this particular policy. Perhaps it's morning crankiness, but it just struck me as the most boring warning I have ever seen.


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