Does Donald Luskin have a problem?
No, this isn't a trick question. C'mon, play along.
On January 31st, Luskin wrote
that the "president is seeking to reform Social Security with personal accounts â which, by the way, is the same reform being argued for by Harold Ford, the African American Democratic congressman from Tennessee."
Today, no less a worthy than Rush Limbaugh (R-Elysium) flogged
the Harold Ford angle too, perhaps picking it up from Luskin.
Admittedly, Ford was once the Dean
of the Fainthearted Faction.
But as far back as December 30th, he announced
: "I do not support changing the Social Security system as has been proposed by President Bush, nor do I support Social Security proposals advanced by the CATO Institute. In fact, both of these proposals have the potential to harm current beneficiaries by paying for the transition costs by issuing debt. Piling on more red ink to the existing federal budget deficit and the national debt will do both long and short term harm to our economy. I do believe that the system needs to be reformed but I do not support changing the Social Security system as President Bush has proposed."
Then late last month he went even further to clear up any confusion. According to the Memphis Flyer
, in their interview
with the congressman, he "den[ied] that he does now, or ever did, advocate tapping payroll taxes to create the accounts."
There's even this passage from the article in question
And the congressman was quite explicit this week about disavowing not only President Bush's Social Security reform proposals but the concept underlying it. "I have not signed on to any legislation, since I have been in Congress to take money from Social Security to create private accounts. I do not favor privatizing Social Security. I am opposed to President Bush's attempt to do so. Categorically," he said.
As TPM readers are well aware, those are the words that finally got Ford ejected from the Fainthearted Faction altogether.
So it seems, contrary to Mr. Luskin, that Ford really doesn't support President Bush's plan.
Now, I am by no means trying to insert myself into some Luskin-Ford smackdown. But there does seem to be a problem.