Question me? Never
Social Security to be Phased Out in 2007
By Josh Marshall | bio
Still don't believe Social Security is on the ballot this November?
In an interview published today in The Wall Street Journal (sub.req.), President Bush told editorial page editor Paul Gigot that next year he plans on partially phasing out Social Security and replacing it with private accounts, and that he thinks he can do it as long as the Republicans retain control of Congress, which he thinks they will.
Here's the beginning of Gigot's piece on his interview aboard Air Force One ...
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi?
"That's not going to happen," snaps the president of the United States, leaning across his desk in his airborne office. He had been saying that he hoped to revisit Social Security reform next year, when he "will be able to drain the politics out of the issue," and I rudely interrupted by noting the polls predicting Ms. Pelosi's ascension.
"I just don't believe it," the president insists. "I believe the Republicans will end up being -- running the House and the Senate. And the reason why I believe it is because when our candidates go out and talk about the strength of this economy, people will say their tax cuts worked, their plan worked. . . . And secondly, that this is a group of people that understand the stakes of the world in which we live and are willing to help this unity government in Iraq succeed for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and that we are steadfast in our belief in the capacity of liberty to bring peace."
Love or loathe President George W. Bush, you can't say he lacks the courage of his convictions. Down in the polls, with the American people in a sour mood over Iraq, Mr. Bush isn't changing his policy or hunkering down in the Oval Office. Instead he's doubling down, investing whatever scarce political capital he has to frame the November contest as a choice over the economy and taxes and especially over his prosecution of the war on terror.
He won't stop talking about it. Privatizing Social Security has always been Bush's central domestic policy goal. And he knows 2007 is his last and best chance so long as Republicans hold control of Congress.
It's also no accident he raises the issue in an interview with conservative columnist Gigot. The White House doesn't want to broadcast his interest in phasing out Social Security. But they very much do want to create what amounts to a paper trail so that after a potential Republican victory they can argue that they contested the election on the basis of privatization and their win gives them a mandate.
That is exactly what's happening here.
Every Democratic candidate for congressional office this year who doesn't do everything they can to force his or her opponent to give a clear answer on whether or not they support Social Security phase out doesn't deserve to be in Congress.
It's as simple as that.
If you care about saving Social Security, your work and energy is needed right now.
This is, of course, insane. He has other reasons to worry about speaker Pelosi, mostly with the words indictment and articles of impeachment, but what a knife in the back to Republican congressional candidates. The Social Security plan was as popular as taxes last year, before Katrina. Now?
He's saying "elect more Democrats, please".
posted by Steve @ 12:40:00 AM