Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

March 15, 2005

Bad News Blues

It's been nothing but wall-to-wall bad news for George W. Bush:

Skepticism all around. A new Post/ABC poll shows 56 percent disapprove of Mr. Bush's handling of the Social Security issue, with 58 percent saying the more they hear about his plan, the less they like it.

His cynical strategy of pitting the young against the old by appealing to their self-interest isn't working:

By and large, the elderly do understand the president has promised not to touch their Social Security checks, according to polling.

But that is not relevant to their political opposition...older people also worry that pension benefit cuts will hurt their children and grandchildren.

At 69, Gene Wallace knows the White House's proposal would have no impact on his Social Security check, but if Bush believes that will silence the Republican mayor of Coldwater, Mich., Wallace grumbled, "he's all wet."

Blue Dogs won't hunt. The self-named Blue Dogs, a pack of 35 conservative House Democrats and likeminded Senators mostly from the South used to support Mr. Bush from across the aisle. Not anymore:

...these Democrats so far sound unyielding in their opposition to his private accounts plan. The explanation lies in both deficit politics, and in resentments over past grievances.

The Blue Dogs share with other Democrats a deep distrust of the Bush White House after bruising legislative and political battles of the first term...

Instead, they argue, he governed to please his own party conservatives, and acquiesced as Republicans ran the House so that "stifling deliberation and quashing dissent ... became the standard operating procedure"...

It's about time they learned that lesson. The White House has been thumbing its nose at bipartisanship from the get go. Mr. Bush's word shouldn't be trusted because his word is not good.

Fat Cats won't play. The Financial Services Forum, a group of corporations that include American Express, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, left the Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America's Social Security (Compass), a privatization cash cow trying to raise $20 million to support privatization.

The pressure being applied by the AFL-CIO seems to be working. The AFL-CIO stated that declaring neutrality like Pfizer, Inc. and Charles Schwab isn't enough if they're still members of advocacy groups like Compass:

Financial services companies have come under particular pressure from opponents of private accounts, especially the AFL-CIO. These critics charge that the companies stand to benefit from Bush's plan to let workers divert taxes into stocks and bonds that the companies would manage.

"The position that the industry associations have taken was untenable — that you can be in an advocacy position while your members are telling the investing public that they're neutral or not taking a position," said Patterson, director of the AFL-CIO's investment office. "We could not find a single firm that would stand by the Compass position."

Earning the ire of big clients and investors like the AFL-CIO -- not to mention a public increasingly displeased with Mr. Bush -- can seriously hurt the bottom line. Financial firms are realizing it's not very smart to support Mr. Bush's sinking privatization ship at the expense of their stockholders.

posted at 11:08 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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