Tuesday, May 03, 2005

It May Take a Democrat to Reform Social Security

Social Security may still be enough of a third rail to scuttle any reform in this Congress.

Reuters is reporting that Bush’s new proposal for sliding scale benefits is not sitting well with some Republican senators.
Aides said members of a group of moderate Senate Republicans were…wary of Bush's approach but had yet to speak out publicly.

"I wish the president the best of luck with this," said a senior aide to a Senate Republican. "But he doesn't face re-election in a couple years and I think that's something a lot of members are thinking about."

The aide said the proposal had so far only served to make moderates "queasy."

It’s very interesting to note what effect Senate centrists will have on the outcome of reform. Without moderate Republicans, the President’s plan will fail. But if they could get moderate Democrats to sign on, the plan would surely succeed.

I think a lot of centrists are intrigued by the idea of partial privatization. But the problem for elected officials is that polls still show a majority of Americans opposed to changing the system. Add that to the Democrats’ 100% unity on preserving this, their signature program and things don’t look good for the White House.

That’s too bad, because Bush’s plan deserves a real debate. In fact, the purpose and meaning of Social Security deserves a real debate. Some say Bush overreached when he proposed reform before the public perceived the need. But perhaps the greater reality is that the country simply won’t trust a Republican President to reform Social Security.

Only Nixon could go to China. And only a Democrat can reform Social Security. In the end, Bush may have done nothing more than lay the groundwork for another President’s signature accomplishment.


At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That’s too bad, because Bush’s plan deserves a real debate.

what plan? Bush has a plan? Where? Lets see it.

In fact, the purpose and meaning of Social Security deserves a real debate.

Agreed. But until Bush present's a plan, the onus is on him and the GOP.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

True. I should have said, we deserve to see Bush's plan and, once we do, we deserve a real deabte on it. We may get the plan (MAYBE) but I don't think the Democrats are going to give us the debate. And, in their defense, they don't have to--the Bush administration has botched the roll-out and there are enough polls showing Americans against privatization that Democrats can win this one without the work.

I would like to see Social Security really debated, though. And I think we will see reform in the next 10 years. But I think we'll see it from a Democratic president.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Edo said...

(formerly anonymous on this thread, due to my prior inability to fathom the "other" choice--D'OH!)

Fair enough. I, too, would like to see a real debate and agree with you that it may take a Dem president to see it through.


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