Charlie, Democrats Have a Plan. It is Called Social Security and We Oppose Its Destruction

Former Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Stenholm missed badly in his op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, and chose to flog his own party--the party committed to preserving Social Security--while at the same time praising President Bush--who has wanted to destroy Social Security since at least 1976.
I hope someone in Dallas has a red phone with a direct line to the Rockridge Institute, because--in the words of Gwen Stefani, "this s**t is bananas." Hollaback girl.

But really, Stenholm may think he is acting with the public interest in mind, but what he apparently fails to grasp is that there is in fact broad support in the Democratic Party for making tweaks necessary to preserve Social Security--like raising the cap on the payroll tax.  That is the kind of change that is in another class entirely than the "changes" that Republicans have openly desired for close to 70 years but have never had the majorities to enact.  They want to get rid of Social Security because they think that it is an infringement on economic freedom.  They don't see it as an insurance program.  The vast majority of Americans disagree with the Republicans on this issue outright.  But it is not rhetoric to suggest that that is the Republican attitude--it is a fact.

The issue is very much who we are dealing with and what they wish to accomplish on Social Security.  They want to abolish it or phase it out.  We do not.  

Now, Stenholm thinks that Bush has the right idea by saying that we should turn a very successful insurance program into a welfare program.  Charlie thinks that is courageous--we in the reality-based community know that it is strategic and serves Bush's ends.  If he can't win privatization now, he changes his tune and tries to win by converting it into a welfare program for future Republicans to "Welfare Reform" out of existence down the line.  Because we all know that the Republicans will never run against a welfare program, right?

So what we see will be the evolution of a guarantee of a decent retirement for every American slowly phased out by getting people to think of it in a different way.

Stenholm even uses Republican talking points and argues, "individual accounts can help make the task easier for policymakers and limit the impact on future beneficiaries." But at the same time that he breaks out in a cold night sweat at the Democrats opposition to private accounts, telling us to be realistic and accept that "without individual accounts, the projected benefits Social Security can offer will drop unless taxes are increased," the only tough choice he gives Republicans to contemplate is "simply expressing support for individual accounts while ruling out any tough choices on restraining the growth of benefit costs is equally irresponsible." Because it is such a tough choice for Republicans to favor slashing benefits.

Wrong again, Charlie.  If "all options should be on the table," then why do you only highlight options unacceptable to Democrats--who support a decent and dignified retirement--and never even mention the fact that running general deficits in the hundred billions, pretending the Social Security Trust Fund is just a bunch of IOUs and adding trillions of dollars to the debt by slashing taxes and letting military spending run wild in order to pay for tax cuts that primarily benefit the financially comfortable are policy issues that honest Republicans should be interested in discussing?  But no, Democrats have to do all the conceding to a party that fundamentally has no desire to protect the wellbeing of the people.    

Sorry, Charlie.  We ain't buying it.  There is no crisis.  Call us disappointments.  Call us partisans.  But I am proud of my party--a minority party that controls no center of power in Washington--for fighting hard to preserve a decent and dignified retirement for all Americans in exchange for a lifetime of work by turning back the existential threat that George Bush's Republican Party poses to it.

Take this to the bank:  we are not letting George Bush--Mr. 43% approval rating--and his cronies do to America's honored seniors what he did to Arbusto Energy.

[From Corked Bats]

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Comments

1 Comment

Bush still has not told us ANY SPECIFICS
That is a common tactic of fascist movements, by the way....

(In addition to killing off all their original supporters once they gain power)

by ultraworld 2005-05-31 01:57PM | 0 recs

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