Thursday, March 03, 2005

Andy: Six More Weeks?

It seems Republicans are giving themselves 6 more weeks (more or less) to change the public's "tepid view," or else Republican leadership may decide to reconsider legislation til (maybe) next year.

The GOP strategists stressed that the six-week goal is not a hard deadline for a political breakthrough, but they said the public's tepid view of Social Security change cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. The directive raises the possibility that Republicans will have to reconsider whether legislation can be passed this year, as Bush wants.

Of course, they probably won't bring it up next year because no one wants to propose anything specific right before facing voters, especially after the disasters of the recent townhall meetings. Bush has squandered a lot of his so-called political capital on this issue. It may be more difficult for him to get a unified caucus on other bills. The administration, too, seems to be backing away from more and more
elements of its plan. What plan? The one they insist they don't have, of course. They've been forced to admit that transition costs would be too high and that the plan would not accomplish its stated goal of healing the system's finances. Now it appears that they might even accept a plan with no carve out.

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow indicated Wednesday that the White House would accept a Social Security overhaul that does not divert the program’s payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts, a major shift in the administration’s position.

Republicans seem to be in retreat and it looks like we may have won this battle. But the war's been going on for 70 years now, so Republicans aren't likely to give up at this point. In fact, these are probably just tactical maneuvers to get a few Democrats to think that compromise is possible. Of course, any compromise bill would have the compromise stripped right out of it in conference committee. Even experienced Senators still seem to think it's possible to work with this White House and this Congressional leadership. They have forgotten what previous "compromise" has gotten them: the compromise of their integrity. It's also possible that this whole
controversy was created just to distract us - with SS "reform" they know won't fly - from the real agenda: bankruptcy and tort "reform." These two bills will pass with the help of many Democrats who feel they did their bit on SS. Winning on an issue is fun. But it's no reason to relax.

Speaking of experienced Senators: has Leiberman seen the light?

[from the New Haven Register (registration req. for the whole article)]

"I don’t see how you make Social Security more solvent … by taking trillions of dollars out of the trust fund," Lieberman said, taking his first pulic stance on President Bush’s proposal.

or is he just hearing footsteps?


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Don't even begin to think that Bush might be being reasonable in entertaining a SS plan without a carve out. It's assuredly a trojan horse. They'll author an acceptable bill, hype the heck out of it, then make last minute, wholly unacceptable changes that kill the deal for Democrats, forcing them to vote against what 'they were just for,' or swallow a very bitter poison pill. It is the dominant modus operandi of the Administration - win at any cost. Bush is not going to let his 'political capital' depreciate so easily.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger andy said...

I've never thought this person was reasonable or trustworthy, and these noises about add-on accounts are just ways to get Dem Congressmen to go along to appear "reasonable." These Dems are either gutless or amnesiac.
But while we're all focussing on SS, Dem Congressmen are busily voting for bankruptcy and tort "reform" bills that will line the pockets of their corporate donors while causing immediate harm to ordinary people. Misdirection is more a modus vivendi than a modus operandi for this crowd.
BTW, according to a recent poll, it looks like his political capital on this and other issues might be depreciating. It seems the public loves him, but they think he's a total screw-up on just about every issue.


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