Wednesday, June 22, 2005
On Social Security: I just saw the most incredible bit of video on Fox News' "Special Report with Brit Hume." Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Jeff Bingaman were holding a press conference stating that Democrats would continue to keep their heads buried in the sand regarding Social Security's funding crisis as long as President Bush holds the belief that private accounts are a good thing. No plan fixing Social Security's solvency or honest discussion/dealings with the problem would be addressed even if the proposed legislation had no mention of private accounts in it.
According to reporter Jim Angle, the senate Democrats were worried that if the House passed legislation that included personal accounts and the Senate didn't, then the private accounts could be re-inserted into the final bill in the conference committee. An unidentified Washington Postreporter then asked an excellent question: If that happens why don't you vote against no? (Or even filibuster it?)
The Democrats' response?
Schumer: Why take a gamble?
Bingaman: C'mon, ask an honest ... ask an intelligent question. Not an *unintelligible* question, ask a real question.
That's a great question. It shows just how desperate the Democrats are to avoid addressing the issue. It may also show some concern as to how united the Democrats are on the issue -- there may be some combination of structural changes to Social Security and modest, low-risk personal accounts that could peel away enough Democrats so that they couldn't sustain a filibuster. So, to keep the unified front, the Democrat leadership won't even entertain discussion of the issue.
There's something for Republicans to ponder as they move ahead.