Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

May 10, 2005

Knock It Off, Bill

I'm getting tired of the old refrain claiming Democrats "don't have a plan" when it comes to Social Security.

As Jerome Armstrong says, Democrats do have a plan and that plan is Social Security. The debate here is not about the solvency of Social Security, it is about Social Security itself. George W. Bush and his cohorts are trying to destroy it, Democrats are trying to preserve it. It's that simple.

Which is why when President Bill Clinton says something like this, he should just hush:

I think the Democrats should say what they are for on Social Security in the next couple weeks; they got time to put together a program. I think it should include an opportunity for people to participate in savings and ownership uh, they don't have to do private accounts because they can't figure out how to borrow the money. . . . but I think that the Democrats should have a plan and they should talk to the President and the congressional Republicans about it.

Sir, with all due respect, you're not helping. George W. Bush and the Republicans are drowning in their own hubris. Don't throw them a lifesaver. Don't waste time helping them save face.
Focus on saving Social Security. The best way to do that is to put your foot down and say it's time to move on.

Listen to your friend Warren Buffett, a legend in Wall Street, who gets it:

"Well, it's an interesting idea that a deficit of $100 billion a year, something, 20 years out, seems to terrify the administration. But the $400 plus billion dollars deficit currently does nothing but draw yawns. I mean the idea that this terrible specter room looms over us 20 years out which is a small fraction of the deficit we happily run now seems kind of interesting to me."

From Calculated Risk via Brad DeLong, who added this commentary:
There is no question that the Bush Administration is ignoring the most serious economic problems facing America and that they are more interested in ideological driven issues. The most serious fiscal issues are: the General Fund deficit, the current account / trade deficit, and health care. Why are we talking about Social Security?

Mr. Buffett's Vice Chairman Charles Munger even delivers the coup de grace:

"The Republicans are out of their cotton-picking minds on this issue,'' said Munger, a self-described right-wing Republican. Social Security is "one of the most successful things that the government has ever done.''

We the people have spoken. We don't like privatization. We know in spite of the trillions it would cost, privatization does nothing to preserve Social Security. Yet Mr. Bush and the Republicans wouldn't give it up because their ultimate goal is to phase out the most successful social program this country has seen.

Unless they give up on phasing out Social Security, there is no reason to talk.

We need to focus on the more immediate problems of the country. Like the federal deficit. Like unemployment. Like health care.

It's time to move on.

05-17-05 Update: Sections in bold reflect changes made to correct Mr. Buffett's quote and include links to and commentary from Brad DeLong and Calculated Risk. The section was originally written like this:

Listen to your friend Warren Buffett, a legend in Wall Street, who gets it:

"Well, it's an interesting idea that a deficit of$100 billion a year, something, 20 years out, seems to terrify the administration. But the $400 plus billion dollars deficit currently does nothing but draw yawns...There is no question that the Bush Administration is ignoring the most serious economic problems facing America and that they are more interested in ideological driven issues. The most serious fiscal issues are: the General Fund deficit, the current account / trade deficit, and health care. Why are we talking about Social Security?

05-17-05 Update II: A related post in response to Donald Luskin's allegations can be found here. Although his allegations are erroneous, I have to credit him for pointing out the error regarding the Buffett quote.

05-19-05 Update III: I have posted my e-mail to Mr. Luskin as well as his response here.


posted at 12:13 AM by Wonky Muse

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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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