More Stunning Republican Incompetence

As if any more proof that the Republicans are by there nature unable to govern Congress efficiently or effectively, news comes today indicating that the pension bill crafted by the GOP Congress over the past year would actually do more harm to the private pension system than good. And this comes from a government report. Mary Williams Walsh has the story for The New York Times.

With a strong directive from the Bush administration, Congress set out more than a year ago to fashion legislation that would protect America's private pension system, tightening the rules to make sure companies set aside enough money to make good on their promises to employees.

Then the political horse-trading began, with lawmakers, companies and lobbyists, representing everything from big Wall Street firms to tiny rural electric cooperatives, weighing in on the particulars of the Bush administration's blueprint.

In the end, lawmakers modified many of the proposed rules, allowing companies more time to cover pension shortfalls, to make more forgiving estimates about how much they will owe workers in the future, and even sometimes to assume that their workers will die younger than the rest of the population.

On top of those changes, companies also persuaded lawmakers to add dozens of specific measures, including a multibillion-dollar escape clause for the nation's airlines and a special exemption for the makers of Smithfield Farms hams.

As a result, the bill now being completed in a House-Senate conference committee, rather than strengthening the pension system, would actually weaken it, according to a little-noticed analysis by the government's pension agency. The agency's report projects that the House and Senate bills would lower corporate contributions to the already underfinanced pension system by $140 billion to $160 billion in the next three years. [emphasis added]

Say what you will about Republican ideology -- right or wrong, there are many Americans who genuinely believe in the ideology of the modern GOP -- but it's becoming ever more clear that the Republican Party is simply unfit to govern.

From the Medicare Part D program, which costs the government nearly twice what was anticipated while doing little to stem the problem of rising prescription drug costs, to the No Child Left Behind law, which has done little to improve America's public schools while still spending billions of federal dollars, the Republican Congress has shown time and time again that it is unable to craft effective legislation.

To be fair to Congressional Republicans, President Bush has been just as bad, if not worse, failing to successfully implement the aforementioned programs. And of course, one cannot overlook his poor handling of the situation in Iraq, from trumped up charges against Saddam Hussein in the pre-war stages to lack of pre-war planning.

If the American people want to restore some semblance of competance to government in Washington, they really only have one choice: electing Democratic majorities to the House and Senate in November and sending a Democrat to the White House in 2008. Republican incompetence might not be the sexiest issue this year, especially with the base, but for unaffiliated voters and voters only loosely affiliated with the Republican Party, the issue of competence could be one to initiate a partisan shift that would last not just one election, but many elections to come. And isn't that what the Democrats are really after, systematic change rather than short-term victory?

Tags: Incompetence, Pensions, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Re: More Stunning Republican Incompetence

Democratic talking points for 2006:

1. Talking about incompetence makes a lot of sense for the 2006 elections.  "Vote for competence --- vote Democrat."

2. Making the 2006 election a referendum on Bush should also be part of the plan.  We too often let Republicans frame things --- for instance, we describe the Republicans in  Congress as loyal, a positive strong term, instead of as wimps who won't stand up to this Administration.  "The weak Republican yes-men in Congress won't stand up to President Bush.  I will.  Vote Democrat."    

3. I also like what Wesley Clark has said about ending one-party rule.  "Checks and balances don't work when we have one-party rule.  The Republican-controlled Congress are the ones who let Bush appoint his incompetent cronies to high positions.  They won't tell Bush "No."  But I will.  We've got to put checks on this out-of-control Congress.  Vote Democrat.  Just say No."  

by catherineD 2006-03-19 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: More Stunning Republican Incompetence

PERHAPS.

THE OTHER POSSIBILITY IS THAT THEY NEVER INTENDED TO MAKE PENSIONS SAFER, AND THEY WANTED TO GIVE THEIR DONORS THE ABILITY TO RAID THEM WHENEVER THEY WANTED. THEY'RE JUST CALLING IT THE "PENSION SAFETY ACT" OR WHATEVER TO FOOL PEOPLE.

I MEAN, THIS IS THE PARTY THAT GAVE US A "BLUE SKIES INITIATIVE" THAT WOULD ACTUALLY WEAKEN AIR POLLUTION LAWS.

THIS IS THE PARTY THAT TRIED TO PASS A SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION SCAM THAT WOULD HAVE BANKRUPTED THE SYSTEM BY CALLING IT
"STRENGTHENING SOCIAL SECURITY" OR WHATEVER.

REMEMBER: THEY MAY BE INCOMPETENT, BUT THEY'RE ALSO CROOKS. AND CROOKS LIE.

by Bush Bites 2006-03-19 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: More Stunning Republican Incompetence

Bush Bites is correct. Medicare Part D is great legislation if your intent is to funnel money to insurance and drug companies. Aways look at who benifits in the end. They have to lie to get thier agenda through. It is very unpopular.

by cheflovesbeer 2006-03-19 09:54AM | 0 recs
This is a Dem-supported bill, for God's sake!

If what we're talking about is HR 2830 - why don't these son-of-a-bitch rags give bill numbers?!

(Its aka: Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2006.)

First of all, I've seen nothing about this bill before from the muck-a-mucks in the lefty 'sphere. Which could be my inattention. Or that no one has kept his eye on the ball.

The committee reports were taken on the floor of the House last December, where it passed 294-132 (Dems 70-130). It passed the Senate (with a substitute amendment) by unanimous consent on March 3.

If this is $150 billion of corporate welfare - and that really would be a surprise! - why have so many Congressional Dems been waving it through?

There needs to be some sort of early warning system so that, as soon as this sort of horrible bill - and I'm giving the corporate welfare story the benefit of the doubt here - starts looking as if it's got the Big Mo for enactment, the lefty 'sphere is alerted.

I'm pretty sure that it's far too late to do anything about the bill now.

Better hope it's not as bad as it looks, eh?

by skeptic06 2006-03-19 10:29AM | 0 recs
Durable link for 'Times' story...

...is this

by skeptic06 2006-03-19 10:38AM | 0 recs

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