CBS News' Dotty Lynch looks at the probable 'Gannon'/Karl Rove connection.
CBS News' Dotty Lynch looks at the probable 'Gannon'/Karl Rove connection.
With the developments of the last two days, we had to add a new classification to the Fainthearted Faction: "WMD".
"WMD", say the newly updated Faction bylaws, "denotes members who say they want to protect Social Security but really just 'Wanna Make a Deal'."
Stop the presses!
Call Richard Blumenthal!
Lieberman back in the Faction in a big, big way.
From this afternoon's Congress Daily ...
Lieberman 'Listening And Learning' About Private Accounts
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., is undecided about the concept of using payroll taxes to fund private Social Security accounts, bringing to three the known number of Senate Democrats who have yet to publicly rule out the idea. President Bush has made the accounts the centerpiece of his domestic agenda. But other than Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida, no congressional Democrats have formally signed on. While Lieberman has concerns about the idea, he is continuing to study it while hoping for more details on Social Security from the president, a Lieberman aide said today. "He's still in a listening and learning stage and is keeping an open mind, but he does have concerns about private accounts as carve-outs that would potentially undermine the guaranteed minimum benefit and worsen our fiscal health and debt load," a Lieberman aide said today.
We understand Social Security's economic value and appreciate its moral value, and that we won't let it be diluted, dismantled or dissolved ... Simply put, Social Security privatization would take away the safety from the safety net, and turn the idea of a rainy day fund into a sink or swim proposition. If you don't choose wisely, you lose badly. And the government's response to bad luck would be to say, "tough luck."
A Senator re-enters the Fainthearted Faction ... And it ain't pretty. News to follow.
A quick and simple question some enterprising New Hampshire political reporter might put to Rep. Jeb Bradley (R).
The congressman says he flatly opposes 'privatization'. But the fine print now says that by 'privatization' he means a plan in which the "system is wholly administered through a private entity or corporation as opposed to public administration of the system that occurs today."
So the queston: Can Bradley point to any individual or institution that has proposed this policy? If not, is there any reason he has continued to prominently make this promise other than to fool his constituents into believing he opposes private accounts?
Yesterday, several New Hampshire newspapers ran stories reporting that Bradley opposed 'private accounts'. Presumably, that is because he managed to pull the wool over their eyes with his wordgame flimflam.
I'm ashamed! Ashamed, I tell you!
(Actually, just between you and me, I'm a bit ashamed.)
Just yesterday, we added Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) of New Hampshire to the Conscience Caucus even though the line that got him in was merely a claim to oppose "privatization."
How that got past me is a really good question. As we noted yesterday evening, no less a man than the President of the United States seemed to put Bradley in the Caucus. Every paper in New Hampshire from the Union Leader to the Concord Monitor to Foster's Daily Democrat fronted with Bradley's opposition to the president. We even rung up Bradley's spokesperson Stephanie DuBois and asked if his opposition to 'privatization' meant opposition to private accounts.
DuBois told me she'd have to discuss that with the congressman directly and that she'd try to get back to us, though we didn't hear back from her.
With so many red flags, you'd think we wouldn't have fallen for this one like a cub reporter the first day on the job.
But it seems that sometime after we talked to her, DuBois did find out and she gave the word to the Union Leader. And Bradley turns out to be anothe mumbojumbo man cut from the same cloth as Rep. Heather Wilson.
According to this morning's Union Leader ...
Bradley spokesman Stephanie DuBois yesterday said he continues to oppose privatization of Social Security, which he has defined as turning over administration of the system to the private sector. But he would consider personal accounts, which President Bush has been calling for, DuBois said.
Privatization of Social Security means the system is wholly administered through a private entity or corporation as opposed to public administration of the system that occurs today. We need to proceed in a deliberative manner that looks at the different options, which may include personal retirement accounts, that can enable our nation to address the looming problems facing Social Security.
Et Tu, Kent?
I don't want to worry you needlessly, fellow sleuths. But some senators may be smiling at your Social-Security-loving faces while plotting phase-out behind your backs.
Upsetting, I know. But be strong.
As you know, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina has been running a bipartisan phase-out book club up on the hill. And my sources tell me that the participants are ...
Baucus (D) Carper (D) Collins (R) Conrad (D) Feinstein (D) Graham (R) Grassley (R) Gregg (R) Lieberman (D) Lincoln (D) Ben Nelson (D) Bill Nelson (D)
As you can see, quite a few current and former members of the Faction grace the list. But what's always been odd about this group is that Graham has made clear that phase-out is what's on the table, albeit perhaps a more honestly-budgeted and less draconian form of it.
And yet by my count, at least five of the Dems on that list are on record against phase-out, the key point being private accounts carved-out from Social Security.
And this invites an obvious question: Just what do they have to talk about?
I'll admit that I like sitting around in a circle and shooting the breeze about the latest Social Security primer as much as the next guy. Perhaps they're even singing a little Kumbaya just to loosen things up. But if everyone's being on the level, there shouldn't be any point of compromise possible.
And yet today we hear this from Bloomberg News ...
Graham, who leads a group of Democrats and Republicans discussing Social Security and is working with the White House, said he would present a plan within the next couple of weeks that provides the outline for a compromise with Democrats.
Can't get no respect?
First the New Hampshire fiasco; now <$NoAd$>this!
Just a couple days ago, President Bush gave the luxe treatment to the Quad City (Iowa) Times' veteran political reporter Ed Tibbetts to talk about Social Security phase-out.
The next thing you know, they're whacking him on their editorial page.
The Times sent veteran political reporter Ed Tibbetts to Washington for a special White House briefing with President Bush specifically to share insight with readers about this important debate. Among the most critical questions: What is the president willing to accept in terms of raising the retirement age, curtailing benefits, increasing payroll deductions or extending the taxation to higher incomes?
On almost all, our president declined to share his thoughts. âThe more I preclude ideas, itâs less likely something might come forth. This is going to have to be written by the Congress along with our input,â the president said.
We know from experience our Presidentâs administration has a tough time processing information. Recall that cost estimates of the Medicare drug benefit werenât even in realityâs ballpark. The Bush administrationâs newest estimates are more than double what they swore to 20 months ago when pitching the plan to Congress.
And the president and staff missed wildly on weapons of mass destruction. Regardless of the warâs present outcome, Congress authorized a search and destroy mission for weapons, not the liberation of a country. That misinterpretation cost 1,462 American lives so far and affected millions more whose families have been directly touched by war.
Social Security affects many, many more â less violently for sure. But for the millions who will be absolutely reliant on that retirement or disability income, Social Security can be a life or death matter.
If the system indeed is in crisis, we canât afford to guesstimate our way out of it.
Ahhh, truer words, truer words ...
The delightful Jill Zuckman from the Chicago Tribune ...
President Bush declared Thursday that his overhaul of Social Security "is going nowhere" if Congress does not come to share his belief in the urgent need for change. He acknowledged that he still has much work to do in convincing both lawmakers and the public of the merits of his proposal.