Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

As we noted earlier, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) of Arizona and Rep. Allen Boyd, the Dean of the Fainthearted Faction, held a press conference yesterday on Capitol Hill to unveil their Social Security phase-out legislation which they call the "Bipartisan Retirement Security Act of 2005."

They handed out a detailed summary of the legislation, a document describing its purported effect on women and another describing its purported effect on people with low incomes. They also put out this 'Short Summary' of their legislation, which we've posted here in annotated form for your reading pleasure.

Her own private Fainthearted Faction?

The Times-Picayune gives the run-down on Louisiana Dems and where they come down on Social Security phase-out ...

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who represents a state Bush won by 15 percentage points and is often a swing vote in the Senate, said Tuesday she had not formulated a position on private investment accounts. A spokesman said Landrieu would oppose anything that calls for benefits cuts or that increases the deficit.

Landrieu's legislative director, Jason Matthews, said she is unlikely to support letting workers divert a portion of their payroll taxes to accounts that they could invest on their own.

Matthews also said he has seen no sign that the White House is trying to build a bipartisan consensus.

"Where is the bipartisan solution? There are only six or seven (swing) votes, and we're one of them," Matthews said. "There hasn't even been a preliminary 'Hey, how do you do?' with anyone from the White House."

By contrast, the two other Democrats in Louisiana's House delegation, Reps. William Jefferson of New Orleans and Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville, said they were firmly against the creation of private accounts. The lawmakers said that no matter how they are structured, the accounts offer too much of a risk to retirees, many of whom are dependent on Social Security for their sole means of support.

No 'how do you do'?

Mary Landrieu, looking for love in all the <$NoAd$> wrong places?

Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella (R) tries to bamboozle constituents spinning <$NoAd$> them with the same old 'privatization' word games.

From today's Staten Island Advance ...

Rep. Vito Fossella told senior citizens at the New Dorp Beach Friendship Club yesterday that he is against privatizing Social Security.

"Let me be clear," Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) told over 130 seniors at the center. "I do not support the privatization of Social Security, I never have and I never will."

However, Fossella said he wouldn't rule out "exploring" with House lawmakers the concept of allowing young workers to set aside part of their payroll taxes into personal market accounts instead of contributing the money to the Social Security system.

Here's some more info about New Yorkers trying to get Fossella to phase out his support for phase-out.

Chris Matthews stumbles, then tries to get right with the president's Social Security Speech Code.

From last night's Hardball: "All these programs, one which will privatize this, personalize, to some extent, Social Security."

Who got to Sherry Boehlert? Did they make him an offer he couldn't refuse?

We knew the day would come, but we can see here that the days of trials have begun for the Conscience Caucus.

Just shy of two weeks ago Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R) of New York told his constituents: "I’ve never been a gambler … I don’t want to gamble with Social Security trust fund moneys. And so I am very, very skeptical of the so-called plans to privatize. And I think a disservice is being done to a great many Americans by sort of sounding the alarm that everything’s going to hell in a hand basket and we’re going to be broke by 2018. That simply is not so."

But look at today's Poughkeepsie Journal and see what a change a few days back in DC has wrought: "Boehlert said he needs to hear more details before deciding whether to support the [President's Social Security] plan. But he praised Bush for trying to tackle the politically difficult issue."

So, now, not only is Boehlert open to supporting the president's phase-out plan, he's also praising him for trying to fool the public into thinking the program is going broke.

Perhaps some of his constituents can throw Sherry a lifeline. But for the moment we're going to have to shift him to the new Conscience Caucus "CUP" ("Caving under the pressure") status.

Kudos to the Times editorial page for Tuesday's editorial poke at the president's new Social Security speech code.

President's new Social Security speech code defied at the Times!

Robin Toner goes with "private Social Security accounts" and "private accounts," but not a 'personal account' to be seen anywhere.

She even gets freaky with "privatize" ...

Rep. Ron Kind (D) of Wisconsin filling out the paperwork to leave the Fainthearted Faction?